EA Accelerates Engineering Analysis with Cutting-Edge Technology, Providing Significant Savings for OC San

Orange County Sanitation District

Customer Background

Orange County Sanitation District (OC San) is a public agency that provides wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal services for approximately 2.6 million people in central and northwest Orange County. The company owns and operates several sites throughout Southern California. Enterprise Automation began working with OC San in 2016, starting several significant projects, including programming services, Topview implementation, and Wonderware support.

Project Background

OC San is beginning an upgrade to its entire SCADA system and PLC architecture. As a part of the upgrade, OC San plans to update equipment graphics to display more granular information regarding the conditions required for each piece of equipment to run, called permissives. Currently, a single overall status shows indicating if all requirements are met. To provide operators with additional information, future equipment graphics will show the statuses of every permissive condition required to run. This will greatly facilitate troubleshooting as these additions will allow operators to determine which specific requirements are inhibiting asset control without needing to investigate each permissive. However, all these conditions must be documented before developing the new graphics.

This project’s scope was to provide a toolset for automating the extraction of these conditions from existing PLC programs to eliminate human error and speed up the process of analyzing upwards of 46,000 states across over 40 PLC programs. Doing this analysis manually was estimated to take a minimum of 1,150 person-hours, while this automated approach only required approximately one-tenth of that time.

EA Solutions

Enterprise Automation proposed and executed this project to maximize efficiency and minimize the risk of human error in recording these actuation conditions. Understanding that reduced time meant reduced costs, this was the preferred path. Over the years, our team has developed several innovative tools to accelerate our workflows to deliver more value to our clients. One such tool is our InSpect framework which incorporates a proprietary algorithm for automating the process of interpreting and reverse engineering PLC programs.

For this project, our InSpect framework was deployed to automate the reverse engineering of the logic, which permits equipment assets (pumps, etc.) to run for all of OC SAN’s ProWORX NxT PLC programs. This tool was tested to show efficacy without errors and verified to operate at an average speed of 0.04 milliseconds per condition analyzed – several magnitudes faster than the original 90 seconds per condition for manual inspection by an engineer.

Key Insights

  • Approximately 90% savings on engineering hours by deploying this tool instead of manually reviewing PLC logic
  • Analysis time per condition reduced from 90,000.00 ms to 0.04 ms
  • Speed increase of 2250x

Key Technologies

  • EA InSpect Framework

Key Metrics

  • Approximately $500k of savings in hours billed by engineering consultants over the life of this tool.