Panel Builder System Integrator

PBSI Emerson retrofit 400May 30, 2019

Emerson was selected to modernize PLC-based controls for power and water plants and remote sites operated by the City of Fremont Department of Utilities. One of the oldest municipal utilities in Nebraska, the organization operates and manages water/wastewater collection, treatment and distribution, as well as coal and natural gas power generation, transmission and distribution systems that serve customers in a 60-square-mile area.

There were several problems with the existing mix of outdated programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Challenges included a very limited spare parts inventory, lack of manufacturer hardware and software support, inability to automate data collection and reporting, and lack of visibility into the operations of substations, lift stations and other remote assets. Often, utility staff needed to travel to the remote sites to diagnose problems and manually collect data to generate reports. Emerson’s single integrated Ovation™ automation platform, including its compact controller and SCADA technologies, will help eliminate these issues, enabling the City of Fremont to reduce the time and expense associated with these vital activities.

“We recognized the many shortcomings of our 20-year-old PLC systems,” said Alan Kaspar, director of electrical engineering, City of Fremont Department of Utilities. “Replacing the older controls will help enhance reliability and operational efficiency, which is so vital in helping us meet the needs of our customers. We’re also looking forward to being able to make better use of our limited resources—something not possible with our outdated PLCs.”

Emerson will install 68 Ovation™ compact controllers to control and monitor various utility processes including high-voltage breakers; gas distribution network flow and pressure; water treatment plant control; water well level monitoring; and wastewater lift station monitoring. Emerson is also providing radio technology as part of the SCADA network throughout the organization’s service area.

When completed in 2020, the Ovation™ system will manage approximately 3,715 total I/O.

The Ovation compact controller combines the form factor and ruggedness of a PLC with the power and ease-of-integration of the Ovation™ control system. It was designed specifically for small-scale or widely distributed applications, making it an ideal solution for Fremont’s Department of Utilities.

“We developed this scalable control technology specifically to address the evolving automation and control needs of power and water utilities,” explained Bob Yeager, group president of Emerson’s power and water solutions business. “It’s a cost-effective extension of our Ovation™ control technology, which has been proven to help utilities of all sizes achieve operational, environmental and economic benefits.”

This is the second contract Emerson has received from the City of Fremont Department of Utilities. In 2017, Emerson replaced the steam turbine generator static excitation system at Lon D. Wright Unit 8 power plant with its Ovation™ excitation solution.


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