Alarm Multiplexor

Case Studies

July 18, 2016

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The client is one of the largest integrated power companies with a significant international presence. From Fuel and Logistics to Generation and Transmission to Distribution and Trading exploring various renewable sources of energy in India and globally it now has a significant presence in wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal energy space.

The Requirement

Client’s one of the locations in Mumbai’s power generation unit has an alarm management system. In this system, Alarms from various parts of the plants are consolidated at various different servers and displayed on multiple screens to form a control room where decisions are taken based on the information received by means of alarms. In order to revamp the old alarm multiplexor system and reduce the number of screens where the alarms are displayed, the Client had decided to merge 5 server alarms to be received on one consolidated screen. The 5 systems are LCN, SER & Experion, Triconex, and MAX DNA systems.

The solution

For this project, Gauranga implemented an Alarm Multiplexor system, where two of the five systems, which are serial ports, were integrated into a multiplexor hardware box, while the remaining 3 ports from servers will be collected through the Ethernet port. The Multiplexor hardware box sent its data to the alarm server through an Ethernet port too. The alarm application, through the Socket application, will keep on receiving a stream of strings from the Multiplexor hardware. All the strings are parsed and stored in the database. Since it is socket communication, data won’t be lost. If by chance the application is closed, then Multiplexer will store the data internally. Once the connection is established Multiplexer will send the strings to this application.

Challenges Overcome

Communication with the SER & LCN servers, as they were serial ports with the unknown protocol was a challenge. It was solved by using a third-party application called portion, which enabled us to monitor the communication on the serial port in parallel to the running application. In this way, we were able to send commands to the SER and LCN ports and observe all the responses including the special characters/commands that are not received by the normal application as serial ASCII characters.

Results Observed

The alarm server application displayed rows of categorically colored alarms with multiple different columns showing details of the alarms.  This screen is reflected in the central screen of the control room. The alarm server is receiving alarms from all the five servers, two of which are through the Data Multiplexor box as described in the document above.