Case Study: Alarm System Increases Response Efficiency for Municipal Utilities

Posted by jBrown on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 9:18 AM

The Evesham Municipal Utilities Authority in Marlton, N.J., found the alarm reporting system for its water and wastewater facilities troublesome. When the system sensed an alarm, it alerted the supervisor. But to find out exactly where the alarm occurred, he had to visit the plant’s main instrument panel and then send out maintenance personnel to investigate the problem. However, the fault often turned out to be just temporary, causing delayed response times and unnecessary overtime.

To resolve these problems, the authority opted to install a unique alarm monitoring and reporting system combining a RACO Verbatim® Gateway Autodialer and an Allen-Bradley SLC-500™ Programmable Controller. The resulting network of autodialers, programmable controllers and remote sensors provided low-cost but state-of-the-art alarm reporting for potable water and wastewater treatment remote stations. The system provides protection for the sites during nights, weekends and holidays when offices are unattended.

When the remote sensors detect an alarm, they pass the data via leased phone lines to the SLC-500 controller, which interprets the alarm data. It then passes the data along to the Verbatim Gateway, which automatically begins dialing 16 pre-programmed phone numbers, starting with the utility’s answering service. The service can then contact the plant supervisor by phone with the details of the alarm. Armed with information on the nature and location of the fault, the supervisor can send out maintenance personnel from any location.

The autodialer units and the programmable controllers were combined in a unique fashion. In addition to alarm autodialing, the Verbatim Gateway turns a conventional tone phone into an interactive, multifunctional operator interface for remote network status checking. The interface also allows the remote modification or alteration of alarm criteria and monitoring points as well as process variables and set points.

After just a year, the Evesham Authority saw positive results from combining autodialers and programmable controllers in a unique alarm reporting system. The new system helped personnel be more efficient in responding to calls and eliminated an average of six overtime maintenance trips per week.

Download the complete case study to learn more about the Evesham Municipal Utility Authority’s unique alarm monitoring and reporting system.

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