Gateways help transfer data to Mauritius power plant’s control system

Gateways help transfer data to Mauritius power plant’s control system

ProSoft Technology (Mauritius) - Mauritius is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean and was once the home of the Dodo. Tourism and economic growth led to an increase in the energy usage on the island, which meant that the power plant in Port Louis needed to replace its older diesel generators with more efficient modern ones. 

The Central Electricity Board (CEB) found a solution through the system integrator BWSC A/S. The company is a developer, contractor, and operator of power plants, and is headquartered in Allerød, Denmark. Their projects have included work on engine-based and floating power plants. They also have experience in transmission lines, generation services, and distribution systems, and primarily work on Independent Power Producer applications. BWSC used generators from Wärtsilä, which BWSC told Power Engineering International “will increase efficiency by up to 25 percent and result in a similar reduction of CO2 emissions compared to the existing plant”.

With the expansion, the CEB sought a way to monitor their process and alarms as well as troubleshoot issues from their Rockwell Automation® ControlLogix® systems. The information was coming from multiple instruments, a weather station, a continuous emission monitoring system, electrical substation devices, and protection relays. These systems and devices did not speak EtherNet/IP™ and would have had to be wired to I/O modules to get the data they needed. This would be a very expensive solution. BWSC suggested gateways from ProSoft Technology for the data transfers from the equipment to the ControlLogix systems.

“We have prior experience with ProSoft’s solutions,” said Ronald Skeen, Lead Engineer at BWSC. “A major benefit is that they offer good integration to the ControlLogix controllers.” 

Mr. Skeen noted as well that ProSoft’s solutions were easy to install and configure, had good documentation, and were available at competitive prices with helpful support available throughout the application. The project required eight gateways total: Six EtherNet/IP™ to Modbus® TCP/IP solutions, and two EtherNet/IP to IEC 60870-5-104 gateways. The EtherNet/IP-Modbus TCP/IP gateways send information from the plant’s equipment to the controllers. The EtherNet/IP to IEC 60870-5-104 solutions were responsible for retrieving data from the Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) and sending it to the control systems.

Beyond the successful data transfers, the CEB and BWSC realized several benefits from opting for ProSoft’s communication solutions. Since no code is required to get data, the gateways have reduced programming in the ControlLogix systems. Defining the IEC 104 commands is a simplified process thanks to being able to import a configuration file with commands into the ProSoft Configuration Builder software. The file is text-based, Mr. Skeen said, and with more than 700 commands involved in this application, it was a relief to generate the command strings from a spreadsheet and directly paste them into the configuration file and import the commands. That saved them time on programming.

The gateway solutions reduced installation and commissioning time and both BWSC and the CEB saved money thanks to reducing the amount of cables and I/O modules: This resulted in smaller I/O panels, and a smaller building. The CEB will also see cost savings from the streamlined maintenance and troubleshooting that the centralized data delivers.

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