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Friday, November 4, 2005

MGE UPS Systems - Creating Intuitive Operator Interfaces with InduSoft CEView

Backup Controls Need to be "Self Evident" Since They Are Used So Rarely


MGE UPS with Comet Graphical User Interface
  • Speedy time to value: Development and implementation occurred in weeks rather than months, with minimal, required InduSoft involvement.
  • Reusable Modules: Because of the InduSoft development advantage, the application was developed in modules, which can be reused again and again, further reducing subsequent development and implementation costs.
  • Comprehensive tracking and data collection:Long-term event and alarm tracking ensures that as time passes, valuable data about past performance can be used for a competitive advantage, improving quality andcustomer service.

  • Self-evident operator interface: Articulate graphics provide an intuitive interface that ensures operators can deftly manage the UPS with little to nolearning curve.

MGE UPS with Comet Graphical User Interface

Electric power is usually dependable—but when it fails—mission-critical systems for computer, industrial, Internet, and telecommunications industries worldwide, rely on MGE UPS SYSTEMS to stay on line. MGE UPS SYSTEMS provides Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS) to ensure the continual availability of electrical power—regardless of the application. Such a mission is a tall order to be sure.

A large UPS is a complex device, effectively, a power plant that operates whenever utility power fails. And when a UPS is needed, operators must be able to immediately manage it, monitoring and adjusting parameters until utility power comes back on line. Because the UPS is rarely used, however, the operator interface must be extremely intuitive, embracing the concept of self-evident operation.

To that end, MGE has developed an operator interface with InduSoft CEView™ that not only meets this need for self-evident operation, but also allows MGE and their customers to remotely monitor and maintain UPS systems.

Moving from text to graphics
In the past, MGE provided a monochrome, alphanumeric LCD interface on its 225-500 kVA range  UPS. Although this interface displayed all the essential information, data center operators found it difficult to quickly interpret critical information. An improved system was needed—one in which the data and operating instructions could be presented in a format that most operators can understand at a glance.

MGE knew the solution must be based on an open system that could integrate graphics, real-time data, event history and text-based instructions on the same page. MGE turned to InduSoft. InduSoft’s CEView solution helped MGE to create a user-friendly, flexible, reusable, and reliable interface. An interface that drastically reduced wasted time and human error during UPS operation—a natural result of long maintenance intervals between uses.

MGE UPS with Graphical Command Center Interface.

MGE UPS with Graphical Command Center Interface.

Developing a system to serve the user
MGE used the InduSoft CEView object-oriented screen editor to create a new and intuitive graphical interface for their UPS units. The InduSoft Web Studio was so easy to use that MGE needed almost no direct help from InduSoft during the implementation. Further, CEView’s modular structure enabled MGE to create a standard application with a common, easy-to-read graphical user interface (GUI). MGE can also customize and reuse this basic application to suit the needs of any customer simply by adding new screens or scripts.

The new GUI features a large, high-contrast TFT LCD touch screen with features such as animated mimic diagrams, alarm event logs, trending, component-level status, and more. Operators can quickly understand and navigate through screens to determine system-level information on their multi-module systems or drill down for more specific information about modules and components.

MGE’s application is also easily extended to provide a remote interface to the enterprise. When MGE connects a CEView equipped UPS to a network, the units provide information to a remote Web Thin Client (a computer with only an internet browser installed). This capability enables authorized operators with a network connection to access detailed, easy-to-read status information about their systems or specific components. These operators can receive data from and send commands to the system through most internet browsers and the system can push data to people who need to be apprised of special events. UPS units running CEView can send e-mail messages based on events such as alarm conditions to designated users, who can read and respond to those messages from any e-mail enabled computer, cell phone, or PDA.

Finally, the new system enhances MGE’s ability to provide maintenance and monitoring services for its systems. The MGE Data Center uses the new format interface and application to

  • View critical parameters online
  • Log and maintain a history of alarms
  • View system voltage, current, and power
  • Provide history data for CEP analyses and to provide technical support

Top: Mimic Diagram Display. Bottom: Load Measurement Display.
Top: Mimic Diagram Display

Bottom: Load Measurement Display

Software and hardware
The MGE/InduSoft solution is an open architecture, modular system providing TCP/IP and OPC client/server modules, communication drivers in several different industrial protocols, and an object-oriented GUI. The TCP/IP client/server modules allow two or more units running CEView to connect and exchange data through a TCP/IP network. For example, UPS units can use one HMI for a PMM system (where the device reads data directly from a PMM system using a Modbus driver) and another HMI for an STS system (where the device reads data directly from an STS system using a Modbus driver). After networking the two units, operators can monitor information from both systems and from either one of the HMIs.

The OPC client/server modules allow MGE units to exchange data directly with other third party systems providing OPC connectivity. MGE units running CEView can also use the provided communication drivers such as Modbus RTU or ASCII, Master or Slave, or DeviceNet to read data from different devices simultaneously. Also, thanks to CEView’s open architecture, MGE can use add-on toolkits to create new communication drivers and new interfaces to access CEView’s tag database.

This system benefits MGE and their users as well. MGE reports that using InduSoft’s CEView application to update their interface and build applications makes their systems more reliable and flexible. It also makes them “exceptionally easy to use because it [CEView] makes the data available in a clear format.”  Not only that, the reuse of standard modules means engineering time for each system is reduced.

The users benefit from the improved operator interface. Sunil Malhotra at MGE UPS Systems explained that CEView reduces operator errors and “in critical situations, provides reliable information needed to fix the error condition,” which saves both MGE UPS SYSTEMS and the customer time and money.

Finally, both MGE and customers alike benefit from the connectivity and enterprise integration of the CEView system. The MGE Data Center can work together with customers to monitor the status of the UPS to make sure it is ready when needed.

MGE has also extended the benefits to existing UPS users. “One of the key reasons we chose InduSoft is its flexible capability to customize our embedded systems.” By simply determining the need for cabling or electrical work, MGE can retrofit their new GUI solution into existing systems. Systems such as EPS 6000 modules can be retrofitted with minimal system disturbance, thereby passing on that flexibility to their customers who can then customize their own embedded systems. MGE engineers simply evaluate existing systems to determine the need for cabling or electrical work and then retrofit the GUI with minimal system disturbance

Battery Charging Display.Battery Charging Display


For more information contact your local distributor or InduSoft directly at

info@indusoft.com or 877-INDUSOFT (877-463-8763) or 512-349-0334.

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