Airport Terminal Operations

FMC Technologies Airport Services oversees Continental Airlines maintenance at the George Bush International Airport in Houston, TX. Three areas of the facility that FMC manages have begun to age and needs replacement parts but, after looking into these parts, they were either too expensive or obsolete. “The failure of the communication ports are preventing critical information being passed to the PLC”, says Larry Buford, Senior Systems Analyst at FMC. The goal was to find a field solution allowing FMC to replace the outdated equipment running Windows NT and migrate to Windows XP and interface with Object Automation (OA) Software. 
The first facility that needed work was Continental Jetway’s embedded collector boxes. These boxes gather data from Jetway’s Precondition Air-Condition Unit (this device cools or heats the airplanes when parked at a gate) and a ground power unit (this device furnishes power to airplanes when parked at the gate). It interprets the condition of the units (on or off, power usage, amps-watts voltage, temperatures, filter status, etc.) and then feeds this data out to a field PLC that is controlling the Passenger Boarding Bridge. This information is displayed on a touch screen that is used to drive the bridge and sees all conditions or any alarms or faults that might be locking the movement preventing the loading or unloading of passengers. 
AutoSol, a software development and services company, contacted Advantech and explained their objective to help meet the needs of FMC. Advantech recommended the UNO-2160 with Compact Flash. Although skeptical, the UNO-2160, with very little setup, tested out with great success at a fraction of the cost as the older proprietary equipment. Each piece of equipment is connected to the UNO-2160 using one of four communication ports. The OA reads the data coming in and sends it to the PLC registers. The HMI retrieves the data from the PLC and displays when an airplane is at the gate, plus all the vital satistics of the bridge and the equipment.


As the Jetway project progressed, Advantech was challenged with a low cost monitoring solution for the Continental Airline’s Main Computer room. The goal is to remotely detect and monitor the air conditioning in the main computer room. The outcome is catastrophic to Continental’s ticketing process and communications if the air conditioning is not controlled. Advantech recommended the ADAM-5000/TCP. With great success, the ADAM-5000/TCP monitors 18 analog inputs from humidity, temperature, and water resulting from condensation and provides a visual and audible alarming system that’s OA driven. Integrating the I/O equipment back into OA was simply done using AutoSol’s Enterprise Server (AES), a patented multi-protocol/telemetry server that feeds the OA package. Before this application, there was not a way to monitor the room remotely due to the location. With the use of the ADAM, thousands of dollars have been saved. Also, “no money was spent on training personal to use it, the furnished documentation and user friendly setup made it a smart choice to go with,” says Larry Buford, at FMC.
Lastly, a retention pond was integrated into the OA package. The pond collects the chemicals and water used for fire suppression in the aircraft hanger. Once its drains to the pond, it breaks down and eventually is disposed of. It’s critical to have no standing water in the retention pond. A visual inspection was the previous method used for liquid level detection. The Advantech ADAM-6000 distributed Ethernet I/O was installed to pick-up liquid level input. There is a float switch that will indicate if there is water without any personnel going to this remote location to view. If there are issues, an alarming system is set off via the OA software to key personnel. The installation of this product has lessened the chance of receiving city fines for chemicals drained into the sewer system.

The success of these programs has gained approval for global implementation in all Continental properties.

Advantech Corporation, eAutomation Group Founded in 1983, Advantech is a global leading ePlatform service provider integrating web-based technology, computing platforms and customization services that empower the connected eWorld. Advantech cooperates closely with system integrators to enable them in providing complete solutions for a wide array of applications in various industries. Advantech delivers more than a thousand products and solutions under 3 main categories: Embedded & Applied Computing, Industrial and Network Computing, and eAutomation. With the combined talent of more than 2,000 people, Advantech operates an extensive support, sales and marketing network in 16 countries and 28 major cities to deliver fast time-to-market services to our worldwide customers. US operations for the Industrial Automation Group, 1320 Kemper Meadow Drive, Suite 500, Cincinnati, OH 45240. Website for Advantech customers in North America Emal: [email protected]

- a global leader providing mission-critical technology solutions for the energy, food processing and air transportation industries. FMC Technologies designs, manufactures and services technologically sophisticated systems and products for its customers through its Energy Systems, Food Processing and Airport Equipment and Services businesses. Our businesses provide a broad range of products and services that create solutions for customers worldwide and generate $3.2 billion in revenues. FMC Technologies employs approximately 10,000 people at 32 manufacturing facilities in 17 countries. Visit

- has provided solutions to SCADA and EFM/AMR for over 17 years. Founded in 1988, AutoSol started as a system integration and services company. Since then, AutoSol has expanded its operations from system integration to development of software and software services to meet the demands of a shifting and ever-changing industry. AutoSol's staff is made up primarily of programmers with a combined 130 years experience in SCADA protocol development. AutoSol is the exclusive distributor of OAenterprise for the Energy, Oil, Gas, and Electric Utility Industries in the United States. AutoSol is committed to providing reliable, flexible solutions to your Automation and Data Delivery needs. AutoSol is proud to announce that the United States Patent Office has granted a notice of allowance for technology utilized in the AutoSol Enterprise Server (AES). The AutoSol Enterprise Server (AES) is software that communicates with different manufacturer SCADA and utility metering devices in their native protocols, over a single or multiple telemetry circuits. Visit