By Peter Pritchard, director of quality management, General Control Systems, Inc.
The John P. Buckley Water Treatment Plant (WTP), in Troy, New York, began operation in 1966 and has served the city and surrounding areas as a high-quality municipal water source for its residents and businesses. Maintaining this aging plant in a Northeast U.S. manufacturing city that continues to face a shrinking tax-base population and tight city budgets is a major concern for the water department’s leadership.
Extending its equipment’s operational life while maintaining plant uptime vital for this municipality. The city needed to identify cost-effective solutions to address its aging control network challenges.
The aging controls hardware and network architecture put at risk the ability to reliably operate the plant and generate necessary compliance reports for water quality. In addition, the PC-based SCADA architecture was susceptible to hardware failures and possible data loss, and server software version incompatibility issues didn’t allow regular updates to occur.
The controls network protocol also was outdated and not widely supported, and the control system hardware had limited memory. As a result, service and spare parts was increasingly more expensive and more difficult to find and support.