Linking operations and management

WATER and wastewater plants share similar challenges with all industries: the supply of a quality product (safe, treated water of required quantity); minimising operating and capital costs; and meeting regulatory requirements.

WATER and wastewater plants share similar challenges with all industries: the supply of a quality product (safe, treated water of required quantity); minimising operating and capital costs; and meeting regulatory requirements.

However, a water and wastewater authority does have one unique challenge: the collection, treatment and distribution system for a metropolitan water and wastewater organisation typically covers hundreds or thousands of square metres.

So how can this industry effectively monitor such a geographically dispersed system and identify ways to reduce operating costs? The answer lies in integrating an automation and control system with a business intelligence system to provide the organisation with volumes of meaningful real-time data about plant operations, which will then allow management to identify ways to improve processes and cut costs.

An automation and control system such as CitectSCADA can monitor water levels of distant reservoirs and lakes, control chemical additions and flow rates in multiple tanks and lagoons, monitor pumps operated at lift stations and produce regulatory reports for local and national authorities.

However, for this data to become useful, it must be recovered and presented to operations management in a higher-level form. This can be achieved by integrating the automation and control system with a Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

The benefit of using an MES for water and wastewater treatment applications is to link operations and management systems, which provides real-time management metrics and visibility into the supply and treatment processes.

An MES enables organisations to control factors which drive their business by aligning and measuring KPIs against business strategies. The resulting real-time automation information removes guesswork and uncertainty, enabling key personnel to deliver fast and incremental returns to their business.

MES systems are designed to gather data from all areas within an enterprise (SCADA, EAM, CMMS or LIMS), from the business level, as well as the operations level. The data is presented in understandable formats via a suite of modules to suit an organisation’s specific business needs.

From reservoirs to the kitchen sink, integrated SCADA and MES software can help organisations meet their challenges.

*Christopher Crowe is CEO, Citect, www.citect.com.

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