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Monday, April 25, 2011

SJE-Rhombus Finds InduSoft Web-Based Monitoring Resourceful, Responsive to Rapidly Changing Operations

The introduction of web-based monitoring in the treatment of wastewater has reduced costs, improved quality and increased operational benefits for SJE-Rhombus, a leading manufacturer of water, wastewater and sewage control systems based in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.


SJE Rhombus

  • SJE Rhombus chose InduSoft Web Studio for ease of development.
  • InduSoft Web Studio provides web-based monitoring and remote interaction to SJE
  • InduSoft has enabled SJE Rhombus to reduce overall costs, and increase productivity in day-to-day business operations.





Figure 1: Operators monitor Influent, Equalization/Anoxic, Aeration and Membrane Bioreactor tanks.


In today’s fast-paced world, more and more industries are discovering the benefits of remote monitoring systems. Businesses with wastewater treatment systems can now employ cost effective SCADA packages that allow the treatment system service provider complete overview and control of the system from a remote location 24/7.

Automated systems prove more reliable in responding to rapidly changing operations. For example, notifications received in the middle of the night can be addressed remotely, eliminating the need to travel to the site to solve a simple problem.

For SJE-Rhombus, remote monitoring of wastewater treatment systems was an absolute requirement for proper management of distributed wastewater treatment systems. With remote SCADA technology, SJE-Rhombus can provide the capability to keep a service provider from having to physically visit a site, by providing the ability to monitor and control the treatment system remotely. This leads to a greater visibility of remote operations, and reduced expenditures.


The Challenge
SJE-Rhombus found that standard off-the-shelf Programmable
Logic Controllers (PLCs) tend to be limited in both programming
language capabilities and remote monitoring capabilities.
While in the process of developing an advanced environmental
monitoring system, SJE-Rhombus saw an increased need for a more customized PLC package that offered deeper flexibility for writing codes.

Known for its integrity and strong reputation attained from its products and company values, SJE-Rhombus turned to its hardware partner, German-based Beckhoff Automation for suggestions on a software product that was not limited by proprietary protocols and used easy to program languages. SJE-Rhombus was attracted to Beckhoff for the embedded PC because of its flexibility. Noted for its advanced and openautomation products based upon proven industrial technologies, Beckhoff recommended long-time software partner, InduSoft.

InduSoft Web Studio offers a complete SCADA solution, including remote web-based monitoring and alarming services through text and e-mail. The combination of Beckhoff and InduSoft offer a solution to SJE-Rhombus at a very competitive
price and give them the programming flexibility they were looking for. This solution allows them to “future proof ” the finished project, maintaining forward compatibility with changing technology.


The Solution
Using Beckhoff Automation’s PC-driven open-automation panels, and InduSoft Web Studio CEView, SJE-Rhombus introduced the Ceramic Membrane BioReactor (C-MBRTM)
controls platform that minimizes operator on-site intervention through the remote monitoring of wastewater treatment.


The C-MBRTM process integrates a conventional biological activated sludge process with a ceramic membrane filtration replacing secondary clarification. Ceramic membranes are a more durable membrane compared to polymeric membranes, which allows more operational control on the processing side in terms of backflushing, automated cleaning, and instrumentation monitoring.

InduSoft Web Studio CEView is a supervisory control and monitoring system that operates in diskless handheld, pocket, mobile and embedded PCs, including industrial Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). InduSoft CEView interfaces with PLCs, remote I/O and TCP/IP networking equipment.

The C-MBRTM control platform monitors level switches and sump effluent at wastewater treatment facilities. Before implementing the system, the pumps were controlled manually and operators had to drive to each station periodically to check for failures.

Using InduSoft Web Studio CEView, the new system controls the entire biological treatment and filtration process automatically, and sends alarm notifications by e-mail when a problem occurs. This allows engineers and operators to take the necessary actions remotely using InduSoft’s Web Thin Client and the Studio Mobile AccessTM (SMA) Thin Client solutions.


SJE RhombusFigure 2: Calibration screens allow operators easy access to calibration (left) and the animated piping and instrumentation diagram offers quick visual reference for current values (right).


The SMA allows operators to use a variety of mobile devices and browsers to see alarms, process variables and parameters remotely. Additionally, the operator can supervise alarms and update process variables directly from the mobile device. “Because biological organisms play an active part in this process, the time
required for commissioning a new system can be several weeks. This is due to the time required for growing and acclimating a newly seeded biology. Being on site for the duration of this process is simply impractical. Web access gives us the ability to support the process remotely.” says Jeff LaSart, Control Systems Engineer at SJE-Rhombus. “We also log a great deal of information, from data trends, events, alarms, and other data that we can then download straight to a USB drive or send to an SQL database.”

SJE RhombusOne important aspect of the development of these panels is an intuitive operator interface. “When we provide these systems, it’s critical that we have intuitive operator interfaces, and InduSoft Web Studio has all the functionality required,” says LaSart. “Using the easily configurable settings, we are able to keep the operator interfaces simple, and easy to use by utilizing the graphic and data entry capabilities within the software.” The ease of development in InduSoft also cuts down on time spent creating critical applications that must be completed within a narrow window of time.

Security is another important feature of the HMIs developed by SJE-Rhombus. They make full use of InduSoft Web Studio’s security capabilities, so that onsite supervisors can assign new operators and security levels while the application is running, and individual operators can change their passwords and control their login credentials. All changes to the process are logged and tagged in order to maintain the integrity of the process and maintain traceability.

SJE Rhombus

Figure 3: The display Console indicates the real time status of every tank within an Industrial Re-Use Water Treatment process.















SJE Rhombus

Figure 4: Screen depicts real-time values for Influent and process discharge totalization.


SJE-Rhombus Serves Multiple Industries
Founded in 1975, SJE-Rhombus designs, develops and builds industrial grade control systems to monitor, control, pumps, aeration blowers and processes in water and wastewater applications for commercial, industrial, municipal and residential treatment systems.

With urbanization placing tremendous demands on fresh water, coupled with rising energy prices and the general cost of doing business, SJE-Rhombus finds it essential to provide its clientele the most reliable, economically cost-efficient solutions by offering the latest technology.

The environmental group at SJE-Rhombus saw the need to enhance wastewater treatment monitoring, particularly by providing web-enabled remote access. Some customer
locations are very remote, and with thin client access, not every issue must be addressed onsite. With remote monitoring, it’s possible to use alarms as a training
opportunity to show operators how alarms are trending and help address gaps in training to reduce the operator learning curve.

SJE-Rhombus trains each customer’s operators and engineers to run their C-MBRTM using the HMI, and how to take advantage of remote troubleshooting. Each wastewater
treatment location has different requirements depending on location and availability. Using InduSoft Web Studio allows customers to connect using any type of communication that provides a TCP/IP connectionincluding various cell phone and satellite networks.

SJE-Rhombus’s environmental group sells membranes and controls to OEM system integrators who build complete water and wastewater treatment systems. They have installed
InduSoft Web Studio at multiple systems in Canada, two in Minnesota, New York, Alaska, and one in Texas, with many more projects underway.

Jeff LaSart says “The learning curve for InduSoft Web Studio is easy to surmount because the software is so intuitive, and after spending a week at InduSoft headquarters for training, it was easy to find the strengths of the InduSoft development environment and exploit them to create powerful applications.”


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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