The Village of Menomonee Falls is the perfect example of how long-range planning can increase your SCADA system's reliability. Over the past 25 years, their ongoing system maintenance and regularly scheduled hardware and software upgrades have resulted in no significant failures. Here is how they did it:
In 1993, the Village of Menomonee Falls teamed with Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. to install the latest computer-based SCADA system for monitoring the Village’s Water and Wastewater Utilities. At that time, one SCADA system monitored and controlled the Water and Wastewater systems together. The system used a 1980’s vintage, electronically-controlled graphics panel with manual switches, incandescent indicator lamps, and electronic level controllers. Communication with remote sites was over leased-line telephone circuits. Remote site RTU’s also used the same 1980’s technology equipment. The new system introduced very low-cost Centrex telephone lines and dial-up modems to replace the leased-line telemetry equipment. The new SCADA computer used a DOS operating system and ran Ruekert & Mielke’s own Hydrolynk Innovative SCADA Software. The remote site telemetry units were upgraded to be compatible with the Centrex telephone lines and an automatic telephone alarm dialer was installed to call out system alarms to operations staff during off hours. This was truly cutting-edge technology for the time.
In 1995, the next phase of upgrades replaced the obsolete electronic RTU’s with PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers). The PLC’s used the same telephone modems as the previous RTU equipment.
The system ran reliably in this state until 1998, when the Water and Wastewater Utilities split into separate departments. The Wastewater Utility installed a separate SCADA system while the Water Utility stayed on the Hydrolynk system.
By 2002, the Village made the decision to replace the ageing Hydrolynk system with a Microsoft Windows based computer and Wonderware InTouch SCADA software. New Allen Bradley PLC’s were installed in this project as well.
In 2007, a new radio system replaced the Centrex telephone lines and dial-up modems.
The SCADA computer and Wonderware software were upgraded during the 2007 project and again in 2012.
By 2015, the two utility departments combined again and Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. was once again tasked with bringing SCADA computer hardware and software for both systems up to date.
In 2017, the now obsolete Wastewater PLC’s were upgraded. Final PLC software modifications for the new PLC’s were completed in 2018. Radio system analysis and repairs are scheduled for later in 2018.
So, there you have it. 25 years of SCADA system upgrades. There have been no significant failures of any SCADA hardware or software during this time. We believe that this reliability can be attributed to the commitment by the Village of Menomonee Falls Utilities to ongoing system maintenance and regularly scheduled hardware and software upgrades.
Contact an expert today to learn more about how your SCADA system can benefit from long-range planning.
About the Authors
David C. Beyer
SCADA Systems Analyst
Dave has been with Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. since 1994. As a Systems Analyst, he provides SCADA system support for more than 20 communities in Wisconsin for Water, Wastewater and Electric Utilities. Dave is experienced in system design, communications, SCADA software, PLC programming and configuration, operator training, and instrumentation.