Vipond Controls has developed a fully web-based HMI and SCADA solution for the Oil and Gas industry.
- InduSoft Web Studio was used to create a cloud-based HMI and SCADA solution for the oil and gas industry.
- Vipond Controls focused on flexibility, scalability, and remote viewer options when selecting a development platform for their application.
- The cloud-based system can reduce costs by up to 90% and reduces investments in development, integrations, and hardware and software.
In the Oil and Gas industry, it’s especially important to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology. The market is particularly sensitive to cost efficiency in production, and it’s important to produce energy with a minimum of investment, and a maximum return. The demand for SCADA systems and HMIs that offer real-time data over the cloud from any internet connection has created a valuable new technology within the SCADA solution industry; SCADA as a Service.
One company has been able to answer this demand for real-time, web-based HMIs and SCADA solutions for the oil and gas industry using InduSoft Web Studio. iSCADA, developed by Vipond Controls in Calgary, Alberta, Canada addresses the need of oil and gas machine operators to have access to a highly portable, cloud based SCADA solution without having to install any additional hardware or software.
This highly available SCADA as a Service was specifically designed for customers in the oil and gas industry after twenty years of experience working within the industry. iSCADA is the culmination of years of research and development and two decades of working with customers to provide SCADA solutions.
1: Alarm history screen allows operators to filter information by relevance or email alarm history in PDF format.
There were quite a few challenges to meet in developing the iSCADA application. This new take on HMI software faced quite a few challenges in providing real-time data over the internet at a competitive price point that would make it available to customers.
One of the greatest challenges in developing iSCADA was the state of the internet itself. Before the InduSoft powered iSCADA solution, internet based SCADA systems suffered from the stateless nature of the internet. Internet protocol and web browsers were not designed for real time data and control. The goal of Vipond Controls was to provide a SCADA hosting service that has a real-time HMI look and feel to it. Common complaints of previous internet based SCADA included having to submit, and then wait, or pressing update or refresh buttons to show new data.
Other competing systems relied only on web based technologies to deliver real-time data. Because http protocol was never designed for real-time data, these systems were always lacking and frustrating to use whenever an operator wanted to change a set point or view a process trend. Users were asking for internet based SCADA system with an HMI look and feel.
Flexibility and scalability were major concerns in choosing a SCADA software that could meet the needs of customers. Many of Vipond Controls' customers start off with small projects that grow along with their operations, and iSCADA had to be flexible enough to easily grow and change along with them.
Another important aspect of the system was the ease with which it could be programmed. Vipond Controls required SCADA software that supported easy template design, and object oriented programming techniques. Vipond needed the freedom to develop oil and gas based objects or templates, then generate more complex objects from the library of these basic objects.
While looking at available SCADA development software, the remote viewer options were critical to the success of iSCADA. According to Darryl Vipond, President of Vipond Controls, “We wanted an easy and extensible remote viewer that would allow us to deliver the SCADA to a remote user’s desktop via the internet.”
Other challenges included finding software with good data trending, alarms, events, and the ability to customize everything easily. Most traditional web-based SCADA development software packages made customization tedious and difficult. In order to provide a different user experience for each customer, Vipond needed software that allowed effortless customization.
Figure 2: Inlet Separator screen displays pump status and other critical information at a glance.
After researching the market for some time, Vipond Controls found InduSoft Web Studio to be the best in its class and felt that the software met the challenging criteria of the iSCADA project. Darryl Vipond remarked “InduSoft was a perfect fit for our goal of providing a web-based SCADA system with an HMI look and feel. The price versus performance was the best that we found, and allows us to compete with other web-based SCADA systems. The price, flexibility, and programming power of the package made it extremely attractive for us to use as a web-based SCADA system.” InduSoft Web Studio offered flexibility and scalability, easy customization, and a remote viewer that offered all the features of a fully visualized HMI or SCADA solution.
The SCADA as a Service developed by Vipond Controls creates a unique experience for each client. With iSCADA, each customer has their own virtual machine within Vipond’s server cloud, and all data is kept safe and independent of other machines running in the cloud. The hypervisors are highly available and portable, so in the event of a server failure, the virtual machine can be restarted on another hypervisor within minutes. All the SCADA software runs within the virtual machine, and users are offered a high degree of personal customization. This service extends to system configuration and maintenance. Customers can connect directly to onsite controllers, and Vipond can make changes to controllers, add buildup routines, or troubleshoot process problems.
iSCADA provides the oil and gas industry with a much-needed portable, remote SCADA solution. iSCADA connects to Remote oil & gas RTUs, Pump Off Controllers, and facility PLCs easily and efficiently, thanks to the native drivers built into InduSoft Web Studio. In addition, the system monitors oil wells and displays the DynaCard from pump off controllers. The solution provides oil and gas well production gathering, and a reporting system that allows for daily email production reports. Customers can enter meter setup information like gas composition and orifice plate sizes easily or directly import fieldview or PVRs (Production Volume Reports). The solution offers real-time trending and data exporting features, as well as email notifications of alarms that occur. Users can easily connect to RTUs using radio, cellular, or satellite connections as well.
Thanks to InduSoft Web Studio’s patented database connectivity, iSCADA can gather the production values from monitored wells and automatically import that data into the production accounting system.
This cloud based SCADA solution can reduce costs up to 90% over a traditional SCADA system, thanks to managed service and the reduction of investment required for integration, development, hardware and software. Thanks to InduSoft’s remote viewing potential, the iSCADA system is able to produce real-time results, while maintaining a fully visualized, interactive HMI over a web connection anywhere in the world. This new technology has been incredible for customers, who are impressed with the InduSoft and iSCADA solution in comparison to other cloud based SCADA solutions.
One invaluable benefit of using this web powered solution is in remote support. With iSCADA, technicians at Vipond can remotely connect to RTUs and controllers using the InduSoft powered solution. This ease of remote connections allows easy troubleshooting and control from the technician to the actual site. Small control system changes are incredibly easy as well because InduSoft Web Studio’s SCADA solution allows quick customization. Customers can make hardware changes onsite and then have the developer quickly integrate the changes into the existing system. The customer sees these changes instantly, over the browser based remote viewer.
Vipond Controls is currently working on projects that will expand iSCADA into other industries. Current applications in development are working to provide cloud-based SCADA and HMI services in the building automation industry and the field of wind power.
||Figure 4: The overview screen offers quick reference to data points throughout the system with a dashboard that offers current information juxtaposed with trend data for easy analysis.
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