Scada installation boosts productivity and saves lives

September 2002 SCADA/HMI

When fire and gas leaks strike the petrochemical industry the consequences are swift and dire. Human lives are at stake as are millions of rands worth of plant and equipment. Sasol, Secunda has put its fire and gas leak monitoring in the hands of a technologically advanced scada systems provider, Adroit Technologies.

In an environment where mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death, fast, accurate monitoring and detection of fires and gas leaks are critical. Such is the case at Sasol's Synthetic Fuels (SSF) plant in Secunda; where coal is converted into liquid fuels, pipeline gas and a broad spectrum of chemical feedstocks.

SSF's outdated mimic board system posed a serious risk to the lives of workers, as many areas of the plant were not visible for fire and gas monitoring due to the space limitations of the board. This was a critical threat to the timeous detection of faults, leaks and fires and the deployment of fire and engineering teams in the race against time. The Adroit system allows Sasol to make changes to the monitored area in their plant or other dimensions of its operation to the system quickly and easily ensuring complete coverage of the plant at all times.

Durban-based systems integrators, Autotronix, installed Adroit's object-oriented client-server-based scada architecture. The system is networked to three user interfaces, namely Sasol's main control, the engineering office and the fire station to ensure that fault areas are identified accurately and immediately and specialist teams can be deployed to the correct areas without delay.

Adroit's built-in drivers easily interface with the plant's Omniflex system, linking it to the plant's fire and gas sensors and monitors. The system is expandable for future linkage to a SQL server.

Haroon Bassa of Autotronix said, "Sasol chose Adroit for the fact that it does not have a separate development package and all the tools for configuration are packaged in the system, as are the standard drivers, allowing it to adapt the system in-house."

The Adroit system has three workstation nodes containing 2500 tag points and approximately 6000 digital inputs points from the fire and gas pushbuttons and from smoke detectors and gas analysers. The system runs on Windows NT and Autotronix is planning to put in an OPC link to access Sasol's plant-wide system.

To overcome the possibility that the relevant personnel may not be looking at the screen at the time of a fault, the alarm broadcasts a sound message in the control room. The alarm repeats itself each minute until it is answered.

Sasol is able to record trends and provide windows of knowledge into history down to seconds' resolution over virtually any time frame. The Adroit scada system's built-in tools allow Sasol's operators unlimited historical and realtime trending within the same window in which the operator can scroll from realtime to historical data using the keyboard or mouse. The system has a capability for trending up to eight variables per trend window and allows operators to identify problem areas within the plant, and analyse the nature of these problems allowing them to put into place future preventative measures.

While providing engineers and operators with a high level of monitoring and detection support, and achieving the original objectives of reducing inefficiencies in the rapid detection of faults and deployment of specialist personnel, Adroit is helping Sasol save lives.

For more information contact Dave Wibberley, Adroit Technologies, 011 781 3513,


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