Leading SCADA network and mobile telecommunications supplier, EMR Integrated Solutions today announced it has signed a €1 million contract with Northern Ireland Water (NIW) to upgrade the utility’s telemetry network.
The technology refresh renders the telemetry network IP-ready and is part of a strategic plan to protect the province’s high quality water supply and drive down operating costs.
The deal, part of a seven year agreement, involves upgrading 900 telemetry outstations or remote terminal units (RTUs), spread throughout the province. The RTUs take data from unmanned assets such as pumping stations, service reservoirs and water treatment works and transfer it back to the utility’s central control rooms, providing better remote monitoring, diagnostics and management of the water distribution network.
Commenting on the award, Pearse Bradley, telemetry and SCADA manager with NIW said:
“This project plays a key role in protecting the fundamentals of what we do, i.e. safeguarding the public water supply and treating wastewater. Where we have onsite telemetry, we can respond a lot quicker to water supply issues by making remote manual interventions to correct problems.
“And the move towards standardisation of our RTUs means less maintenance, lower stocks of replacement units and it helps the knowledgebase of the staff that look after these assets,” he said.
NIW has an estate of over 2,500 RTUs. 900 of these were rapidly approaching end of life and the pre-emptive swap-out gave the organisation the opportunity to look at other technologies in the market.
“There was no point replacing like with like,” said Mr Bradley. “We wanted to grade the performance we had and see if there were other technologies that would help us to improve on that. We selected the Schneider Electric Talus T4E RTU, which is the solution now being installed and commissioned by EMR. This device not only integrates with our existing stock of RTUs but also future-proofs our infrastructure by making us IP-ready.”
This next generation RTU also provides NIW with a higher level of functionality according to Mark Quinn, chief executive with EMR Integration Solutions.
“The existing equipment is limited in terms speed and performance but most importantly, it’s limited to monitoring only. By selecting an RTU based on the WITS/DNP3 protocol which facilitates IP traffic, the upgrade moves NIW up the control stack and opens up the possibility of greater systems integration and automation.
“For example, NIW now have the option of remotely controlling assets and automating control routines for pumping stations and reservoirs. This will help to reduce energy, cut waste and provide greater efficiency on the water network,” he said.
This is the second major project undertaken by EMR for NIW. The company previously won a €1.8 million contract to migrate 1,800 sites from legacy analogue technology to a state-of-the-art digital radio network.
“There were two elements to the tender evaluation; quality of the tender return and cost,” said Mr Bradley. “EMR scored highly on both. Our experience of working with them is very positive and they’re extremely pragmatic in their approach. We enjoy a very good working relationship with the team and the skills and expertise of their technical staff ensure that projects are completed in a professional and timely manner.”
The current project will run for approx. two years and is due for completion in early 2017.