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By Elian Zimmermann
20 November 2023

Döhler and PROXA Water Customer Panel

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SPEAKERS:

Leander Steynberg
Process Engineering Manager
Proxa Water
Caleb Hiller
Head of Business Development
Devcotech
Dirk Brand
Head of Engineering
Döhler South Africa
Brian Cooper
Director
Integ

Introduction

The panel discussion brought together some of the best and brightest from the worlds of automation and technology. Customers and partners participated in the panel, discussing how their companies have deployed solutions and answering audience questions. 

Transcript

00:00
Speaker 1
Right. We want to finish this up. It’s kind of not self serving, but this is really a highlight for us. Whenever we deploy or help deploy, it’s not us that do us. Our partners are really the heroes, our system integrators, they are phenomenal men and women that spend countless hours not only understanding our technologies, but also understanding how to deploy it best for our customers and make them successful. So our partners are truly the heroes in our story. And whenever we have the opportunity to speak with a customer, whether it’s a project that’s completed, that has been completed and has been live for a number of years, whether it’s a project that is currently still being implemented, it’s always so valuable to get the feedback because that’s the raw feedback that we get.


00:48

Speaker 1
It’s not always good, but we need to hear that as well, because that’s how we learn. That’s how we all learn every day. And hopefully everybody has adopted a mindset of continuous learning. So we’re really excited to get some customer feedback and opinions and views. Today, I’m going to invite the stage. We’ve got two stories. We’re going to do them together. Hopefully Leander and the guys from Prox that don’t start talking about the editors that dealers doing. So hopefully they can keep to their own companies. We’re going to do them together. It’s a little bit differently, but we didn’t just want to just talk about one. We dearly wanted both of their stories and their versions. So we have on the one side, Proxa water together with system integrator Devco tech.


01:30

Speaker 1
And we have on the other side, it feels like a competition in the red corner. And the other story that we want to share with you, or that they want to share with you today is with Doula and system integrator Intech. So please welcome to the stage Leahanda Steinberg, process engineering manager from Proxy water. And Caleb Hillier from Defcotech, head of department business development. Dirk Brunt, head of engineering, Adula and Tian from us. Sorry, it’s not tian for us. Not tian for us, it is Brian Cooper. In fact, don’t be fooled. This is not Tian. Brian is actually joining us today. Thank you very much, Brian. Appreciate that. So please take a seat. Let’s understand what was done. So maybe we’ve got a couple of screenshots. Whenever we look at these solutions, we always want to see the screens.


02:22

Speaker 1
I don’t know, it’s like such an engineering thing. Show us the screens. We don’t care about everything else you listen to architecture, you kind of ignore. You just want to see the screen. So we’ve got some screenshots we want to share, but I think it’s important, based on the chats that we had this morning, is to really just figure out why do we do what we do. What were the requirements initially? Was it just to adopt a piece of technology? Was it just to build a screen? Was it just to whatever the functional output was? But how did this come about? And it’s quite unique because we have a long standing ignition customer on the one side, and on the other side we have somebody who’s just started their journey with ignition and canary and our stack.


03:04

Speaker 1
So it’s going to be quite interesting and maybe Leander, let’s maybe start with you guys. Proxy water, can you give us a brief description that should be on.


03:14

Speaker 2
Sure.


03:15

Speaker 3
Thanks, Jeku. So maybe I can just start with who Proxa is and what we do. So we specialized water treatment solutions provider and we offer a range of services over the engineering cycle, the full engineering cycle. So we do research and development consulting, we do detailed engineering design, procurement, construction of water treatment plants, and then eventually we also optimize existing water treatment plants, but we also operate and maintain our own water treatment plants. And that’s where ignition and our scalar systems and the way of how we do it really came into play.


03:56

Speaker 1
Okay, fantastic. And that’s been the history is a couple of years now. I’m not actually sure how many years, but it’s a couple of years. Yeah.


04:04

Speaker 3
We started 2019 with ignition.


04:07

Speaker 1
Okay, fantastic. And Caleb, your Devco tech, you’ve been the incumbent partner for proxy throughout the process. Yeah.


04:16

Speaker 4
So, Devcodech, we are EcNI house as well. So we’ve got just under 200 employees and we do the installation side as well as the design side and the system integration side. So we started first getting exposed to ignition in 2018. We started looking into it. I believe were one of the first licenses in South Africa.


04:36

Speaker 1
That’s right, yeah.


04:37

Speaker 4
So we had a client that just briefly approached us and said that they wanted their system online, that they can monitor their plant remotely. So we only got a month to give them remote access. They contact us in November and we kind of implemented by December, not proxim, but another client. And we basically just evaluated three cloud based skaters. And ignition came out on top in terms of functionality. We took a very small water treatment plant and we developed it three times on all three platforms and ignition came out on top. And that’s how we kind of introduced. I believe we introduced ignition to proxer and took it from there.


05:16

Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s correct. Okay, thanks to Devtitech.


05:19

Speaker 1
Awesome. Great, guys. Thanks very much. With Doula and your journey. That’s very different. That’s still fairly new and fresh. Do you want to give us an idea of your business and what you.


05:34

Speaker 5
Yeah, thanks, Jaku. So I’m from Duler, South Africa. We’re part of a multinational company, a german based company. We’ve got facilities all over the world. We’re based in Paul now. For the local site, we’re upgrading from an existing, fairly small, fairly manual footprint now up to a proper factory. Like we like to joke, we’re going from a kitchen to a proper factory. But yeah, our business mantra is we bring ideas to life and we really try to take that through with this project as well. Sorry, I just realized I didn’t tell you what we do.


06:15

Speaker 4
Actually.


06:18

Speaker 1
That’s a great story.


06:21

Speaker 5
We develop ingredients and ingredient system for the food and beverage industry. So like ingredient systems like the syrups for cool drinks, additives for beverages and for food, yogurts and things like that as well.


06:37

Speaker 1
We were lucky enough to do a quick plant visit yesterday and it’s looking good. Well done. A lot of work there. Thank you.


06:47

Speaker 5
So just with all the interest, I’m doing plant tours now weekly.


06:53

Speaker 1
Doug is a great plant tour host. And Brian, maybe just on intake briefly. And then your involvement with the project?


07:05

Speaker 2
Yeah. Okay. Hi, I’m Brian. We’ve intec system integrators. We specialize in system integration plc, ScADA and mah type applications. Food and beverage is one of the sectors that we do a lot of work in. So we tended on this project and were the successful tenderer to develop this software platform for Dueler. The project must be specifically designed and we must make use of S 95 and the S 88 structures, which we’ve got quite decent developed standards and stuff for which we presented to them and which we are implementing for them at the moment. It’s a very exciting project for our team and I think it’s going good at this stage.


07:53

Speaker 1
Fantastic. And Brian, also to maybe mention to everybody that we spoke about the batch module this morning, the sepisoft batch module, which is still fairly new. This will be the first sepisoft batch implementation in Africa.


08:07

Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s correct.


08:08

Speaker 1
So that’s exciting, but also very scary.


08:12

Speaker 2
Very scary. But we’ve got a very capable team.


08:16

Speaker 1
We’re not worried. We’re not worried at all. It’s looking great so far, but it’s a nice feather in your cap to know that they would be the first one in Africa. It’s been very successful elsewhere. I think it’s going to be a good module. So Leander, I think, maybe, or Caleb rather. So you’ve briefly described your needs and how you introduced ignition. So your technology requirements. I think you mentioned a couple of things. Remote maybe, just if you can summarize the technology requirements and then we could look at an.


08:50

Speaker 3
So I think I’ll cover the business need for those technology requirements and then he can get into the details. So what we wanted was, as I mentioned, we had a number of water treatment plants that we wanted to get on a central control center, but they were on various ScaDA platforms, various HMIs on site. So it was kind of a mixed bag. And most engineers don’t like a mixed bag. So I kind of helped drive getting a unified platform. So the first thing was I wanted a unified and uniform look and feel SCADA system. Obviously, as we expanded, licensing became very expensive, so we wanted a cost effective SCADA platform. We wanted a platform that was customizable. And you’ll see a bit later, some screenshots maybe, of the look and feel of our plants.


09:41

Speaker 3
And our own CNI technologist or engineer, he developed those templates and we gave it to deficiencies and say, look, this is what we want our tank to look like, or pump template or whatever. Is that four? Is that three? I think there was three. So I think cost effective, unified, scalable and the uniform standards and the licensing platform.


10:06

Speaker 1
Cool.


10:07

Speaker 4
Okay, so I think ignition was first suggested, I think mainly probably due to annual upkeep costs across all the different, let’s say, remote networks, skater networks that they were operating. It obviously added up. So we made use of your standard architecture. I don’t know if we can share that, which is the hub and spoke sort of architecture. We implemented it quite extensively throughout all the plants. So that basically makes up the RCC, which is the centralized SCADA, or the Hub, which is a single unlimited licensed user. And then that communicates to all the standalone plants that proxy operates.


10:51

Speaker 1
And something like MQTT. There wasn’t part of the original design Hubble spoke, but not necessarily MQTT.


10:59

Speaker 4
Yeah, so this, the system was designed in 2019. And Kent spoke about, on his presentation about tunneling in and straight into via VPNs. And you shouldn’t extract data via PLCs, but this is a few years back when everything was still quite new. So we’ve implemented, so our sort of data transmission side of things is quite intricate. We accessing sites from OPC, UA, sort of access tunneled VPN straight in via VPNs and via the edge platform. And then we’re also with the newer sites where we’ve deployed standalone ignition licenses. And being remote and local, where bandwidth is an issue, we make use of MQTT. So we’ve got a mixture of basically all comms across all the sites. When we get to the overview on another slide, I’ll talk more about the comms.


11:58

Speaker 1
And I know that you continue to feed into the RCC. By the way, did we mention what RCC is? Radio control.


12:05

Speaker 3
This is our three letter acronym for Remote Control center. Lenny.


12:09

Speaker 1
Yeah. So that is the hub and that is based at your office locally. Okay. In Stellabosh. Paul. Paul.


12:17

Speaker 3
So that’s from there we monitor and operate, I think about 23 sites currently.


12:22

Speaker 1
Okay, fantastic. And then Gallibot, it’s probably too small.


12:26

Speaker 4
That is the site.


12:28

Speaker 1
Yeah.


12:28

Speaker 4
So that’s just the standard open. Once you open ignition, what you would see, so you can see there’s 23 active sites across the world. I think majority of proxy sites is african, based in South Africa, but they’ve got plants in a few in Australia, Madagascar, Mauritius, et cetera. And they all log into this platform. So if you look at our tag count, it is very small, but there’s 350,000 tags that are active. And the viewers that log in is between 25 and 40 viewers at any given time. And if you monitor it over a course of a day, you can see as South Africa logs in and all the operations and then Australia logs in and all the operators log in. So you can actually see how everyone logs in and off, on and off.


13:13

Speaker 4
On the next slide, we also just mentioned some of the drivers and modules that we installed. So there’s a lot of. On all of our sites, especially because proxit takes over some sites that are existing, we interface with Siemens, Schneider, Beckhoff, Mitsubishi. Any PlC under the sun, it kind of gets included. So that’s why there’s so many drivers. But the modules that they mainly make use of at the RCC is the alarm modules and the report modules. So on a site level, Proximani looks at the operational sort of data and control and interface and then from that server, that standalone server or the spoke, it’s then sent via OPC or MQTT to their main RCC, which deals with more of a management point of view, which I’m sure Leandro can talk more on.


14:03

Speaker 1
So even though the RCC is not cloud hosted. It’s actually your cloud system. Yeah.


14:11

Speaker 4
So basically it’s hosted from a server cluster in Johannesburg, accessible from anywhere.


14:17

Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s the fourth one that I missed earlier, is that we wanted to have that easy access from four plant managers, operators, engineers on different levels with different access levels. But it’s easy to launch it from any device.


14:32

Speaker 1
But it’s not a hyperscaler hosted cloud installation. Yeah. Cool. All right, I think we’ve got a. This is one of the views.


14:43

Speaker 4
So this is the standard look and feel that Leandro spoke about standardizing on everything. So water treatment plants is very much process based on how it’s approached. So we tried to, or I think Leandro tried to mimic the PNID kind of look and feel. So that is the overview. We kept it very grayscale. And everything we spoke about today with the presentations, very simple. And the colors is purely to indicate status when something’s critical, when something’s not, when it’s running. And then if you go to the next slide, you can kind of step into smaller sections. So that’s your rO. You can see the pumps, which pumps are running, and then every pipeline, you can see pressure flow, all that sort of data, and you can click into it further.


15:29

Speaker 1
And a very high performance based design as well. Yeah.


15:34

Speaker 4
So the next slide as well. From our RCC or their remote control center level, we generate proxy generates reports and graphical data. So this is where they can use the trending and predicting and the reports. I’m not sure how often it gets sent out into.


15:52

Speaker 3
So this depends on clients. So we’ll have an internal report that’s more detailed for the production engineers to review and to optimize and give advice back to the sites. Sometimes there’s a client requirement for a weekly or monthly report, so we tweak that to suit whatever the needs of the client and our own operational team is.


16:12

Speaker 1
Okay.


16:13

Speaker 4
So on the PDF, you can see the actuals and targeted, so they can see what they’re actually just from an operations point of view. Again, it’s done on the RCC, not on site level, on operations, sort of Scada. This is done by the main hub and it’s all done automatically using your modules. There’s no input from our side or proxy side.


16:33

Speaker 1
And I would imagine these reports are quite key in terms of your deliverables and contractual agreements that you have. Yeah.


16:39

Speaker 3
Especially ones that go out to the client. That’s basically production capacity of. That’s like, yes, this is what we produce. That’s amount of water. We cleaned on spec.


16:48

Speaker 1
Okay, fantastic. Thank you. In terms of future, what’s next? We continue to add sites serving you.


17:01

Speaker 3
Yeah, we’ll definitely continue to add sites. I think I’m quite excited about the edge technology, and we’ve spoken about this a number of times. And again, that’s to have that uniform look and feel throughout your HMIs or your touch screen panel on site, because we train operators and they move around between sites. So what you want is that if you’ve trained an operator one Scada system, they get used to what the alarms look like, what the process look like, how the screens interface, all of that. So if you can keep that uniform, you don’t have to retrain him on a Siemens HMI every time. So, unfortunately, we work within several sectors, food and Bev, oil and gas, mining. So it differs a lot. So you can’t always dictate that. But we try where we can.


17:51

Speaker 3
We try and introduce clients to that and to show them the benefit for us and for them. I think that’s definitely where we’ll grow most in the future to try and push the devices.


18:05

Speaker 1
Fantastic. The technology has enabled that a lot better than it used to be. Cool. Any questions for Leander and Caleb? Comments? Comments? Questions? Pretty cool application. Well done. Okay, no questions for you guys. Okay, thanks. Covered everything. No problem. So it’s definitely not Tian. I feel terrible about this, Brian. It’s not tian, it’s Brian. So we’ve got a brief idea of what it was. What I think we didn’t mention is, and I’m not sure if you do want to cover that, is, in terms of your technology selection, it wasn’t necessarily what you had anticipated, or at least expected initially. It was kind of open in terms of the technology to use and where you would land as a platform, is that correct?


19:05

Speaker 5
Sure. I think we did give you the requirement.


19:12

Speaker 2
They standardized on ignition.


19:14

Speaker 1
Okay.


19:16

Speaker 2
But on vision, not on perspective.


19:18

Speaker 1
Correct.


19:18

Speaker 2
And so we proposed the perspective view instead of the vision. And then also we proposed the Sepasoft batch module because of the way that the factory will be operated. And then also the Canary historian instead of the ignition historian.


19:40

Speaker 1
And this will be the first perspective, amongst other things. But the first perspective for Dueler.


19:47

Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s correct, Joe.


19:49

Speaker 1
So that’s what I mean. That was not necessarily the popular choice. You had to motivate that very.


19:56

Speaker 5
Yeah, yeah, we had to motivate that pretty well. I think there’s quite a vast amount of different technologies being used within the group. So from us as South Africa being the first. Now, to implement this fully, we would obviously like this to become the standard, so then we don’t have to implement anything else ever again.


20:17

Speaker 1
Fantastic. Yeah, hundreds. That’s the selfish view.


20:22

Speaker 5
All right.


20:23

Speaker 1
Architecture, I think, is worthwhile just understanding a little bit, especially in terms of the scope and the size and the tags. I mean, it’s a pretty hairy application.


20:34

Speaker 2
Yeah, it’s a pretty large application. So Dueler wanted to use the latest technology available from plant floors to all the way up. So all instrumentation is either Azi or iolink or profinet. There’s limited physical IO in the field. It’s basically dol starters. Well, the VSDs are also on profinet, but it’s DoL starters and so on. That’s really physical IO. The rest is all smart IO. It brings a lot of other challenges that we normally don’t deal with. Now all of a sudden you have to look at the amount of connections that a PLC can handle instead of the amount of I o and I O cards that they can handle. And then up from that, we have to install redundant servers. The plant has to have a high uptime. Duel opted to supply the servers and their own server configuration.


21:35

Speaker 2
And then it’s yard technician with canary and Sepasoft, the batch engine that we’re using. So if you look at the amount of I o and tags that we work with at this stage, it’s 400,000 tags on the ScADA and PlC.


21:52

Speaker 1
I think it was 400 and 7478 for this phase, which Kent confirmed. 468 is probably as high as you want to go.


22:04

Speaker 2
We’ve got 215 18 Siemens CPUs running the complete plant. It was split up due to the phasing of the implementation of the plant as well. And we’ve got seven view nodes. So they’re not going to have a dedicated control room for this plant. They’re going to have view nodes in the field. So I think it’s 21 inch IPCs in the field that will run the ignition applications and the supersoft batch application.


22:36

Speaker 1
Based on your industry, I would imagine those are stainless steel. Completely stainless steel based.


22:41

Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s correct. Touch panels with keyboards and touchpads and so on.


22:46

Speaker 1
Fantastic. So I’ve got a couple of screenshots here. If I’m not mistaken, this is the recipe, is it?


22:56

Speaker 2
That’s a batch module.


22:57

Speaker 1
Yes, this is the batch model. This is a batch procedure model. And we are looking at the recipe editor, is it?


23:03

Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s the recipe editor. This is where we build the recipes in and where you can have a view of all the procedures for that specific recipe. The operators can access this part of it to select recipes and to change specific parameters, and then to start a recipe and run it from here. So there’s other screens where you can monitor the phases and where the recipes are in their steps and how they execute. And if it holds or if it falls, it will indicate here as well.


23:44

Speaker 1
This is the actual. Sorry.


23:46

Speaker 2
Yeah, this is basically a procedural view, so you can see each phase in that specific recipe and what it should do. This is a CIP phase. So it will start with a rinse and then an acid and so on. So when the recipe is running, each block will change color and you can see where they are, if it’s in fault or hold or whatever, the color will change. So the operator can easily see what’s going on. And. Yeah, that’s basically that screen.


24:20

Speaker 1
What I didn’t ask yesterday is on the CIP views, is there a specific understanding to understand efficiency, CIP efficiency in terms of utilities and usage?


24:32

Speaker 2
Yeah, I think not just with CIPs, but with the production batches and the stockholding and all of that. There’s a requirement for monitoring efficiencies and monitoring CIP batches and production batches so that they have traceability throughout the factory and that they can see if they are efficient enough and how their water usage and their chemical usage and all of those things are. So we are tracking all of that and there will be reports for them as well to be able to see where they are and how they are operating the plant.


25:07

Speaker 1
Okay, this was really impressive. Could you maybe explain the breadcrumb? Is it the breadcrumb? I call it the breadcrumb view. Is it?


25:15

Speaker 2
Well, we call it the breadcrumb as well. That’s the navigation that we developed for this specific project. We use it on other projects as well with other software, but we had to develop it in ignition and it works quite well. So it’s basically the plant is, you navigate the plant from that top banner and as you click one area, a drop down comes up and it shows you all the different areas in that section of the plant. And if you click on that, you can drill in deeper into the plant. Then also on that, we built in an alarm view that shows you what severity alarms and how many alarms are present in a specific area. So you can see there in the receiving these two alarms. And then it adds up to the zone basically.


26:09

Speaker 1
Or to that you got the alarm aggregation and the drill down capability.


26:12

Speaker 2
Alarm aggregation and drill down? Yeah.


26:14

Speaker 1
Fantastic.


26:15

Speaker 2
And then on each overview or on each view, you’ve got a supervisory mimic and a detailed view which drills into each specific view with more detail. So we try to build it in such a way that the operators don’t have to click a lot to get to something or to navigate to a fault. So the overviews give enough information and gives you the whole process flow. So you can easily see what routes are being utilized in what state they are and the operators can operate it from there.


26:49

Speaker 1
Just a quick question on the history tags. How many tags are you looking to historize?


26:54

Speaker 2
I think we’re going to end up at 25,000. These three tags.


26:57

Speaker 1
That’s how aggregated.


26:59

Speaker 2
Yeah.


27:00

Speaker 1
Cool. And then I think this is the last two slides. They both.


27:07

Speaker 2
This is one of the overview slides. So it shows you the different units in that line and it shows you where they are, if there’s interlocks or faults or if they are in a specific step. So each unit has its own capabilities. It can be in CIP, it can have a full or a flush, or it can be busy with agitation or whatever. So this gives you. If you look at this view and you look at that line, you can easily see what’s happening there, in what process it is. And you can operate as a nice overview of what it’s doing. This is a CIP similar. You see a line, you can see in what process it is. You can see how far it is from finished or completing that specific phase.


28:02

Speaker 2
And again, this is an overview type view for operators to see an overview of the whole line and what’s happening in there. Instead of having to drill down into mimics and having to see what’s showing.


28:16

Speaker 1
The relevant detail information to the relevant person. That’s very cool. We had many other views, screen grabs, slides, faceplate designs. It was difficult to share everything.


28:29

Speaker 2
There were some detailed ones as well. That’s not yet.


28:32

Speaker 1
Some very detailed ones that could keep us busy for the next half an hour or so. But any questions for Brian and for Dirk? Any design questions? Consider durations. Hello. 370,000 tags is a lot of tags to be renaming. Do you have. Sorry, 400 and 7470 thousand. Even more than I thought. It’s a lot of tags to be renaming. Do you have any way you were doing that quicker or is it just a long process to get through that?


29:13

Speaker 2
No, we’ve automated most of those processes. The detail you’ll have to speak to Tian at the back about. But yeah, we’ve automated most of those processes. We would still be busy if we had to type them all out.


29:27

Speaker 1
Okay. Yeah, that’s not your problem, Brian.


29:35

Speaker 2
It would be inefficient.


29:38

Speaker 1
Cool. Good question. Any other questions? Awesome. Great. Two very different applications and thank you for sharing. I’d love to be able to share a little bit more. Maybe we can get something written up. I know it’s always sensitive because things are in motion. It’s not always complete. There’s some sensitive customer information involved. But I think it’ll be really valuable to get this written up and get it shared with everybody and share all the screens and the views. But thank you so much for sharing a little bit with us today. I hope that was valuable for everybody. Again, two very different applications but two really good examples of implementations.


30:16

Speaker 4
We just did it the wrong way around. They make the problem and we solve it. Awesome.


30:23

Speaker 1
So maybe give them a round of applause. Thank you very much.


30:27

Speaker 2
Thank you. Thank.

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