BlackBerry-based SCADA puts plant control in your hands

BlackBerry-based SCADA puts plant control in your hands
BlackBerry-based SCADA puts plant control in your hands 

Drives & Controls
Technology news
February 2008

A German software developer and systems integrator has developed a 
mobile SCADA system based on BlackBerry smartphones. Hamburg-based Schad 
says that its Extend 7000 system, which relies on Java applications 
running on the BlackBerries, can control and monitor industrial 
processes controlled by Siemens S7 PLCs.

The handheld devices (shown above) can be used, for example, to:

* monitor variable such as speeds, temperatures or pressures;
* check signal conditions without needing to communicate with plant 
* receive alarm signals automatically;
* access plans and instructions for maintenance purposes; and
* evaluate trends and identify faulty devices.

According to Schad, the BlackBerry infrastructure allows data to be 
exchanged safely and reliably using 256-bit encryption. The handheld 
devices do not need a wide bandwidth, allowing them to be used even in 
areas where the mobile infrastructure is limited.

In one pilot installation, the Blackberry-based system is being used at 
a plant near Dsseldorf in Germany which produces 12,000 tonnes of wood 
pellets each year for use in domestic burners. The plant has a staff of 
just four people who keep in touch with each other wirelessly using 
their BlackBerries. The Schad technology allows them to receive alerts, 
solve problems and view the status of the sites machinery on their 
handheld screens. Because every action they perform is logged, it can 
later be audited and used for tracking.

Initially, Schads system is being launched in Germany, Austria and 
Switzerland, and is due to reach the UK later this year.

Copyright 2007 DFA Media

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