Koman case study

Koman Government Services, Warminster, PA

Vortechs Automation Designs And Implements New SCADA Monitoring System For Groundwater Remediation Plant.

When it came time to replace an outdated SCADA system, Stephane Roy, Project Manager at Koman Government Services, turned to Vortechs Automation for their knowledge and expertise.

On the grounds of the United States Navy's former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster, PA is a groundwater remediation facility that employs a network of several dozen extraction wells to pump potentially contaminated groundwater into the building. The water is treated, cleaned and filtered, then discharged back into a nearby stream.

The plant, built in 1991, had been in continuous operation for 28 years with its original PC-based SCADA system. Vortechs Automation was initially hired in 1999 to support and maintain the system.

Over the years, Vortechs performed PC replacements, software upgrades, programming changes and hardware repairs. Eventually, the system became antiquated and replacement parts became more difficult to find.

Stephane Roy, Koman's project manager, enlisted Vortechs to design and install an entirely new Scada monitoring system. Their familiarity with the plant and their experience with PC- and PLC-based control systems made them the logical choice.

Planning for the project began at the end of 2017, with the Vortechs team coming in to evaluate the existing Windows 98-based SCADA system and its various programs that managed all aspects of the groundwater treatment. The decision was made to redesign the entire system with new programs, as well as new monitoring inputs and outputs. Design and installation happened in 2018 with the project completed by August of that year.

Vortechs' solution included an Automation Direct Productivity 3000 PAC that fit inside the existing SCADA system control enclosure. All of the original field wiring and end-of-the-line devices were also able to be reused. This helped lower expenses and kept plant downtime to a minimum. The new system was up and running in only 7 days.

In order to minimize training time, Vortechs updated existing HMI software to the newest version which had the same look and feel as previous versions. This spared operators from having to learn a completely new program.

All in all, Vortechs modernized and simplified a very complex system to be much more user friendly. It also allowed potential problems to be identified and addressed remotely.

As Stephane Roy explains, "...on the old-fashioned system we had, if there was a shut-down, we didn't know the reason. An operator had to literally drive to the site to figure out the problem. The new system features remote access, allowing employees to log in from a desktop computer or from a phone and actually see the system".

After the project was complete, Stephane Roy said, "We were very pleased with Vortechs. We would probably use them again if we had the same kind of system upgrade to do. We were pleased with their service and their level of expertise. I mean these guys know their stuff. They really provided some good solutions and they even threw in some freebies for us when we were in a bind. I think they're very knowledgeable".

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