News | February 10, 2009

Trihedral Introduces MultiSmart 'Site Import Utility'

Source: Trihedral Engineering Limited
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Trihedral is proud to announce a fresh approach to helping utilities reduce the cost of expanding their supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. This includes an innovative 'Site Import Utility' soon to be integrated into the latest version of their VTScada HMI software. The utility allows municipal workers to plug in new monitoring and control devices and then watch as VTScada does the rest of the work.

Multitrode's MultiSmart Pump Station Manager In 2008, Trihedral began discussions with lift station control and monitoring specialist, MultiTrode; makers of the new Multismart pump station manager. Barry Baker, Vice President of Trihedral, said, "We were very interested in working with the MultiSmart because we could see the appeal of this new generation of technology to the water industry and we had many customers who were starting to use it." The MultiSmart features over 400 tags per site, providing unparalleled data for water and wastewater utilities for their lift stations. "We were very keen to work with Trihedral," said Steve Carson, Group Marketing Manager of MultiTrode. "They have been winning a lot of customers in water and wastewater over to VTScada, and their technology and their engineering capability are both top class. "

Site Import Utility Trihedral and MultiTrode worked together to create a Site Import Utility that users can launch each time they add a new MultiSmart device to their SCADA system. VTScada can then use DNP3 to remotely download the device's XML configuration file. Since many utilities employ radios with limited bandwidth, this file is compressed and decoded on the fly by both the MultiSmart unit and VTScada. The resulting small transmission size does not interfere with site polling. Alternatively, VTScada can also use a local configuration file in the case of Modbus protocol.

After prompting the user to make a few simple configuration choices, the utility automatically generates all the necessary tags and a selection of key application pages (Users can easily create more specialized pages using VTScada's drag-and-drop toolset.)

Removing user error from the setup process increases efficiency and reduces integration costs. This eases the burden on utilities faced with increasing pressure to do more with fewer tax dollars. "We were very impressed with the way that Trihedral has implemented this feature," said Carson. "It makes it extremely easy for an end-user to set up a new site."

The SCADA system remains fully operational during this process. This is a key feature of VTScada and a prime concern of utilities in order to maintain a watchful eye on operations at all times. The newly added site can be tested on one server and then the validated configuration settings can be automatically propagated to all hot back-up servers and clients in real-time. Offline servers are also updated automatically upon restart.

To more easily accommodate the high tag count of feature-rich hardware such as the MultiSmart, this new version of VTScada will also include support for dual-core and 64bit applications. This will enhance VTScada's ability to handle over a million tags within a single server application.

A History of Creating Ease-of-use Tools Trihedral's philosophy has always been to do the difficult work in-house in order to reduce the workload on the system integrator and user. Thus VTScada has been developed as a single integrated product to provide users with efficiency gains and seamless operations. The inclusion of support for products like the MultiSmart within VTScada is a clear example of this approach. The descriptions and scaling entered within the MultiSmart RTU are used within VTScada for displays and operations. The same configuration information is used by the Historical Data viewer, Alarm Manager, Auto-dialer and Reports without any user action. If the user wants to share this data via OPC or ODBC, the same tags are there with no work. The same holds true for sharing data via the VTScada internet clients and hot-backup redundancy. The goal is reduce the effort for the user to achieve core functionality. That efficiency is a net gain for the user.

About Trihedral
Trihedral's Affinity Program This collaboration marks the beginning of Trihedral's Affinity Program. Manufacturers of monitoring and control devices are invited to collaborate with Trihedral to develop utilities to streamline integration of their own hardware. Contact Trihedral for more information on how to participate in the program.

VTScada 9.0 is scheduled for release in early February 2009. The Site Import Utility will be officially released shortly after as part of a maintenance release but will be available from us sooner as part of an OEM layer element.

SOURCE: Trihedral Engineering Limited

Trihedral Engineering Limited