Kern & Associates Services

By: Kern Associates Inc  09-12-2011
Keywords: Data Acquisition, Scada

Kern & Associates define and recommend our clients' SCADA needs with justifications and specifications and conclude the vendor selection process with a binding contract. We optionally manage the project through final, formal acceptance assuring accuracy to contract.

We start with a comprehensive review of the current SCADA business, interviewing department personnel and departments that provide and rely on SCADA data. We inventory the current SCADA system from remote measurement devices including I/O (input/output) counts and telecommunications networks to the SCADA host's client/server hardware and the SCADA software. We identify business issues and provide a recommendation. Our experience and a database of representative costs and delivery schedules allow us to build a compelling and accurate business case.

Requirements Specification

This document is a result of the interview process and is a detailed specification of SCADA requirements and includes;

System Design Requirements - are based on current and future database sizes and planned system performances such as RTU scan rates, database refresh rates, display update rates and spare memory (RAM and Disk).System Functionality Requirements - includes detail about data acquisition and control such as how SCADA data will be collected, the kinds of data that are required and how the data will be verified and stored. RTU driver requirements are included. Recording frequency for history database is specified as well as types of history data such as accumulated per hour, average for the hour, maximums and minimums with time stamps, etc. Data viewing with Windows-based utilities and smart-graphics objects is included as requirements.System Configuration - defines minimum computer and disk requirements such as redundant SCADA servers, an alternate site SCADA server, and how many worksites are planned and how the various workstations should be configured, etc.

We understand the latest SCADA technology and know the vendors that provide that technology. The RFQ (request for quotation) is a process of inviting qualified SCADA vendors to bid on the requirements specifications that we prepare for our client. The bid package consists of two documents; the agreement that both parties (buyer and seller) will sign and the SCADA requirements.

Thorough instructions direct the bidder in preparing their reply so that all bids are uniform and complete.We evaluate the bids and prepare a recommendation that recaps the bidding process and recommends the best proposed SCADA system.

Contract and Scope of Work

Every SCADA project should have a thorough and accurate contract and scope of work that will help both parties (buyer and seller) to avoid any confusion and resolve any difference of opinion throughout the term of the project. A schedule and plan for payment should be clearly defined. The specifics of the deliverables should be well defined. There are basic project management rules that should be adhered to throughout the project - consistent project status reports, exhaustive acceptance testing, product documentation and training, etc.

Our project management experience goes back to the early 1970's - that's a wealth of on-the-job experience and we have references that will attest to our diligence as project managers. Since we recommend that the contract and scope of work be written by us with input from the SCADA supplier, our client's requirements are fulfilled on time and within specification. We preside over acceptance testing and trace tested features back to the contract and resolve discrepancies - missing features - expeditiously.

We have provided operator training - a two- to three-day seminar that deals with the fundamentals of gas control and SCADA. The course includes a 100-page document with examples and self-help testing.

Because of our SCADA and RTU experience and Jon's experience with Fisher ROC RTU, we do a lot of configuration, maintenance and function sequence table creation for our clients - various ratio and PID control schemes such as odorization and tank maintenance, meter tube switching, etc.

Keywords: Data Acquisition, Scada