Xothermic diagnoses failure at glass manufacturing plant

  • February 24, 2015
  • B-Scada Inc.
  • Case Study

February 24, 2015 - Xothermic is an engineering consulting firm that provides system integration and consulting services to various industrial enterprises. Xothermic was able to remotely diagnose a failure that occurred in a glass manufacturing plant owned by one of their customers in another state.

The customer is a glass producer with a specialized end product. When the following incident occurred, they were evaluating B-Scada’s Status Enterprise software to monitor some of their plant floor processes and equipment.

The monitored furnace is an oxy-fuel design with a multi-forehearth discharge operation. The control system contains multiple thermocouple, IR and general analog type inputs along with low voltage discrete I/O. All critical data are logged and Status Enterprise displays the information on a local operator display station.

The Problem:

A worker arrived at his glass plant’s control room in the morning and immediately noticed an unusual smell. It smelled like smoke, and he knew right away that something had gone wrong. He quickly began the process of trying to pinpoint the source of the smell.

He recalled that his plant was currently evaluating a new software package for monitoring plant floor conditions and equipment. As he proceeded with his manual inspection, he placed a quick phone call to Xothermic to speak with the system integrator who had installed the software. The integrator was hundreds of miles away in his office in Florida when he got the call.

Obviously, the call wasn’t expected, but the integrator had recently installed B-Scada’s Status Enterprise at the plant, and had connected to the data coming from a collection of thermocouples, as well as a couple of water and furnace temperature values. He quickly logged in to the system remotely and accessed the Model Browser to view the recent history of the thermocouples to see if he could target the exact time the equipment failed. (The Status Enterprise Model Browser is a quick and easy way to view real-time and historical property values in your information model.)

Within a few seconds, the integrator knew exactly which thermocouple was the problem, and when the problem began.

The integrator was immediately able to advise the technician on site that the failure appeared to have originated with a particular thermocouple (TE1) at about 2:40pm.

Armed with this information, the on-site technician was able to go directly to the equipment in question to see if there were any visible signs of damage. Some transducer damage was immediately obvious and corresponded to the failed thermocouple from the data log. While it is likely that the damaged equipment would have been located and replaced without the help of Status Enterprise, there would have been no way to target the exact time of failure, or even pinpoint the particular piece of equipment that seemed to have caused it. The damaged equipment could have been replaced only to have a similar failure occur again.

By leveraging the real-time monitoring and historical logging capabilities of Status Enterprise, the customer was able to access all of the information they needed to thoroughly troubleshoot and diagnose the initial cause of the failure. There was no need to guess at a solution; no need to replace equipment that was not faulty. There was no need to spend additional time and money performing manual inspections of equipment that may or may not have been involved in the failure. Status Enterprise provided the ability to see exactly which equipment was affected and when. This allowed technicians to focus their investigation precisely where the anomalous activity occurred, likely saving a great deal of time and money.

B-Scada specializes in the development of high quality HMI and SCADA software solutions for industrial process control, enterprise data management, and anywhere there is a need for compelling, high performance visualization of real-time operational and business data.


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