FreeWave, Rockwell to design SCADA system to address water management issues

BOULDER, CO, May 2, 2011 -- FreeWave Technologies and Rockwell Automation are collaborating on a new initiative to design and implement a comprehensive SCADA system solution to tackle growing issues in municipal water demand management...

May 2nd, 2011

BOULDER, CO, May 2, 2011 -- FreeWave Technologies and Rockwell Automation are collaborating on a new initiative to design and implement a comprehensive SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system solution to tackle growing issues in municipal water demand management.

The problem: Water municipalities have water tanks that need to be kept full during peak usage times to keep up with increasing demands. Typically, a water tank is connected to a reservoir miles away via a pipeline, however, tank monitoring and pumping operations are being completed manually in many areas, creating numerous inefficiencies and cost constraints.

To complicate matters, the main control rooms, the water reservoir and the water district headquarters are usually geographically dispersed. In order to keep up with demands, water districts across the United States need ways to automate their water demand management and keep their investment low to make such a change feasible to end-users.

"In order to make this application work, the SCADA system needs to be able to monitor the water level in the tank, the line pressure throughout the pipeline and the flow rate when the pump is running, as well as control the drive that runs the pump," explains Ashish Sharma, chief marketing officer of FreeWave Technologies. "It also needs to have a Human Machine Interface (HMI) at the water district headquarters to provide monitoring and control of the entire system for the operators. Clearly, wireless communication is a must, but the system also needs to be very reliable, flexible and cost effective. Our customers are looking for a solution that is easy to deploy and maintain."

The SCADA system consists of an Allen Bradley SLC5/05 PLC at the main control room, its PowerFlex 40 drive at the pump house with FreeWave's serial and serial IO radios connecting them together. The serial IO radios also allow the master Allen Bradley PLC to monitor pressure and flow rates throughout the pipeline as well as the water level in the tank. Along with the serial network, there also would be a pair of FreeWave Ethernet radios used to connect the SLC5/05 back to a Rockwell Automation PanelView Plus at the water district headquarters.

Because multiple FreeWave radio networks can coexist at the same location, its FGR2-PE Ethernet radios are a trouble-free option. Typically, they would be used to link the Ethernet ports of the Allen Bradley SLC5/05 PLC and the Rockwell Automation PanelView Plus to provide seamless integration. "This allows for easy monitoring and control with real time updates of the entire system," Sharma says.

"Because the FGR2-IO-IOE is a flexible wireless IO platform and a very reliable serial radio, it offers the ability to quickly and cost effectively add IO without having to add additional radios."

Additional information is available online at http://www.freewave.com/products/product-274.html.

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