The Solution: groov RIO with CODESYS and MQTT Sparkplug B
“We were looking for I/O that would fit with our new SCADA—we just Googled to learn more about MQTT and Ignition, and Opto 22 hardware kept coming up.” Adams said. “We planned to use Ignition’s Historian, Alarming, and Perspective visualization to keep tabs on our SWD sites from anywhere in the world.”
So PEP turned to Opto 22’s groov RIO for a transformative solution. The modern communication methodologies onboard, namely MQTT with Sparkplug B payloads, would allow the groov RIOs to reliably transmit real-time tank levels, flow rates/totals, and pump operational states into PEP’s Ignition SCADA. They could seamlessly and efficiently move data between their field operations and Ignition SCADA software.
The multi-signal, multifunction nature of Opto 22’s groov RIO’s I/O gave PEP the flexibility to adapt these edge devices for a number of their applications. The relay outputs could be used to fire pump contactors on and off based on more accurate level readings, which were now being fed from radar transmitters connected directly into RIO’s analog input channels.
Utilizing groov RIO’s flexible I/O along with the recent addition of a CODESYS® runtime engine allowed them to implement radar level transmitters in the tanks and automatic pump control. PEP had experimented with groov devices in the past, but the unique aspect of this setup was the utilization of the CODESYS runtime engine, a feature added in groov RIO firmware 3.5. This addition leveled up the capabilities of groov RIO, providing a cost-effective and powerful automation solution.
More than I/O: control at the right price
At right around $1,000, Scott Adams described RIO as the “Goldilocks solution”—not a $10,000 panel with unnecessary extras nor a $100 PLC lacking the I/O and modern communications needed for their IIoT architecture.
Modern yet supportive of our legacy
Support for all their I/O, control, and communication requirements as future IIoT infrastructure continues to grow was paramount, but the cherry on top was groov RIO’s support for legacy devices. PEP had numerous pressure transmitters across their SWD sites that used legacy Modbus/TCP communications.
Using groov RIO as a Modbus master allowed PEP to collect existing data that was once trapped in the field, and add it to the new collection being amassed in their data historian.
Implementing groov RIO into PEP’s existing infrastructure was a smooth and straightforward process, highlighting the system’s user-friendly nature.
Technicians, regardless of their programming experience, found the system easy to work with thanks to an intuitive interface and comprehensive training resources available on Opto 22’s website.
As Scott Adams recollected, “We only have one PLC programmer on our staff. He’s the one who programmed CODESYS, but our other five technicians found that commissioning groov RIO was something they could do themselves. Working within groov Manage and Node-RED is something our techs found very accessible.”
The ability to learn and implement the system on the job stands as a testament to groov RIO’s intuitive design and ease of use. “I haven’t even been to Opto 22 for training yet!” Adams exclaimed when describing just how quickly they were able to deploy their solution.
Rajant Wireless Mesh
One of the pivotal components in this implementation was the integration of a wireless mesh radio network provided by Rajant®, a leader in industrial wireless mesh network solutions. Rajant’s technology ensured a robust and reliable communication network, vital for the remote monitoring and control capabilities required at the SWD sites. Combine that with an industrial-grade device like groov RIO with IT-friendly networking tools, and seamless data transmission— even in challenging and remote environments—is a reality.
Example of a Rajant wireless mesh network
Netonix PoE Switch
The implementation was further simplified and enhanced by the use of a Power over Ethernet (PoE) network switch from Netonix®. Netonix is renowned for their innovative PoE switches, designed specifically for demanding industrial environments. The use of a PoE switch streamlined the installation process as it allowed for the transmission of both power and data over a single cable, reducing complexity and the need for additional wiring when installing groov RIO in the field.
Using CODESYS for automated pump control and tank level management was just a part of this solution. PEP is also using Node-RED software running onboard their RIO, which allows them to move data from physical I/O points, CODESYS tags, and various Modbus/TCP sensors into OptoMMP registers, which are then published on change to their Ignition-based MQTT broker.
Illustration of SWD site technology
Results and Impact
The implementation of groov RIO at the SWD sites has resulted in a paradigm shift for PEP.
Automating water level monitoring and pump operation has not only made the jobs of field operators easier, but has also resulted in significant cost savings—most importantly, by preventing potential spills—occurrences that negatively affect both PEP’s bottom line and the environment.
The field operators, who previously had to manually check tank levels and ensure the proper functioning of head switches, now enjoy a more streamlined and efficient workflow. Operators still check on the sites daily, but the systems can be fully monitored remotely, and tank level setpoints can be securely adjusted from anywhere in the world.
The enhanced data reliability and real-time monitoring have also shown PEP the value of further automation across other sites. PEP management, originally hesitant to make the investment in automation at SWD sites, has shifted their approach to automation and technology, opening doors to new possibilities and applications across their portfolio. The significant improvements in efficiency, reliability, and environmental safety have showcased the transformative power of automation, proving that with the right technology, safe and sustainable energy development is not just a goal, but a reality.
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