Complete Automation Overhaul Benefits Smaller Utilities

A small utility in Seguin, Texas installed a complete monitoring and control system that rivals systems installed at much larger utilities to improve service

The City of Seguin had no trouble justifying the SCADA investment even though there are only three substations. The system provides the same degree of monitoring and control system as implemented by larger utilities.

To complete this ambitious SCADA implementation, the city turned to M&S Engineering, a full-service electrical, civil, subsurface utility engineering, and surveying firm to develop all the specifications outlined in the initial bid.

For the SCADA system, M&S Engineering selected the OrionLX system from the Power Division of NovaTech Automation (Lenexa, KS), a substation automation company that has served the power transmission and distribution market for more than 30 years.

The company’s OrionLX is a communication and automation processor that can connect to nearly any substation device in its native protocol, perform advanced math and logic, and securely present the source or calculated data to any number of clients in their own protocol. The system can be integrated with practically any equipment, usually microprocessor-based relays, meters, and other IEDs as well. It is then connected to the SCADA system.

The system uses open-source web technologies and pre-configured template pages. This simplifies the building of interactive SCADA and local HMI screens to view data from connected IEDs and RTUs using standard web browsers. Engineers can open multiple browsers to have graphical interfaces for the different substations and key remote monitoring features on different tabs, which eases network monitoring. Multiple users can be logged in simultaneously.

For the most economical setup, the City of Seguin opted to install an OrionLX in each of its three substations that connect wirelessly to a browsing PC with multiple monitors, each representing a substation.

The Orion RTU has advanced in the integration of functions previously accomplished by separate physical devices. For example, separate alarm annunciators and PCs do not have to be connected to the Orion RTU; only a monitor, keyboard, and mouse need be connected. The Orion Tile Annunciator is a pre-engineered product that can be set up in minutes to serve out alarm status. When combined with sequence of events recording, relay event retrieval, IED faceplates, one-line diagrams, IED faceplates, control screens, and trending, Orion can serve as a complete substation HMI or an economical small SCADA system.

One-line diagrams in the Orion HMI show the status of the entire substation at a glance. This enables dispatch teams to quickly tell which feeders are open and if there are voltage issues. Feeder breaker zoom screens allow more detailed information to be viewed at the office, such as: ground trip blocked, non-reclosing, max amperage, power factor, and fault currents. History of events can be accumulated, such as: breaker trips, breaker lock outs, reclosers blocked or enabled, low voltage events, high voltage events, and maximum amperage for each circuit.

In the future, the city of Seguin plans additional system upgrades.

For more information on SCADA solutions from NovaTech Automation, visit:

 Complete Automation Overhaul Benefits Smaller Utilities
Photo: NovaTech Orion RTU panel
Caption: Typical Orion RTU panel with Direct Video monitor, Orion I/O, and Bitronics panel
metering and recording IEDs.

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