Industrial Intelligence

Case Study

The Borough of Chambersburg

Improving Efficiency and Reporting by Leveraging Data with a Canary Labs Historian

PRoblem

The Borough of Chambersburg is a municipal electric utility in Pennsylvania. They sell power to most of the residents of the borough. They have over 11,500 electric meters and they also operate generation stations. 
The Chambersburg Borough wanted to improve data collection as they implemented a new control system at their Falling Spring generation station that is comprised of older units with outdated interfaces. 
The outdated units were not able to publish data for the Chambersburg team to identify efficiency trends or to create the necessary reports with information they are required to send out. 
Examples of electric meters similar to the ones in this project that are connected to a Canary Historian to capture data.

Solution

The Chambersburg team went to Canary Labs, as they already had the Canary Labs Historian product in place, to ask who the best vendor for this project would be. Canary recommended Ectobox as the ideal partner for this situation. 
We began looking into how to get data from the older units into Chambersburg’s Canary Labs Historian for reporting and tracking trends on different data points. 
Ectobox recommended and put in place a new architecture that will enable scalability and flexibility without vendor lock-in costs. The solution uses an MQTT Data Broker as the centerpiece of the Unified Namespace architecture (an event-driven, publish/subscribe architecture with a real-time plant data model). A gateway device converts the Modbus output of the generation PLCs to MQTT Sparkplug B, publishes to the MQTT Data Broker, and the Canary Labs Historian subscribes to the data via the MQTT data protocol, and stores all of the data. Ectobox also worked with the existing SCADA system to ensure it still worked as required. 
Another example of electric meters similar to the ones in this project.

Results

The generation station engines are successfully sending Modbus data to the Canary Labs Historian. They’re currently using this data to report when their engines are running on oil versus running on natural gas. Additionally, they are recording the energy produced on each oil type which is data they are required to provide to the DEP. Further implementation will be done to provide pertinent data for diagnostic review by engine mechanics.  
“Working with the Ectobox group, really helped everything starting with the proposal process to go smoothly. The team collected what we wanted, we got multiple different options for how we could do it, and they (Ectobox) were right there ready to go all along despite delays on our end waiting on other contractors” – Jeff Heverley, Director of Electric Operations
“Having Frank here was a great resource, Clyde and I were able to pick his brain and learn a lot more about how the data is moving, which will help us in the future too.” – Ben Knouse, Electronics Technician
Soon they plan to build their own reports in the Canary Labs Axiom visualization tool. They’ll be able to further visualize and trend the data to monitor metrics such as pressure or temperature variances to quickly be made aware of potential issues and opportunities to further improve efficiency. 
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