The packaged generators are assembled as an integral unit. Generally they comprise the generator (engine with alternator) and the auxiliary systems. These systems include radiators, ventilation, battery charging, controls and fire systems.
As regards the generator controls, the control system is usually an integration of several control systems, such as:
Traditionally there are two locations from where the operator can observe the generator status.
The first is a local HMI which is located in the generator control panel. This is convenient from a control systems point of view because it will be close to the unit controller (PLC) and easy to manufacture. It is also convenient for the operator if the generator control panel is located in the generator enclosure and if the panel is accessible.
The second location is the SCADA HMI. This may be located in a control room which is separate to the generators. This is convenient if all of the generator status information which is available locally is also presented on the SCADA.
With a setup such as this, the operator needs to physically go to one of these locations in order to monitor the status of the generator. Unfortunately there can be operational problems with this situation.
For example, the Caterpillar generators have an engine mounted, engine control unit (ECU or ECM) and a separate generator controller which is an EMCP panel. Both are connected via an on-board CAN bus. The EMCP panel is usually fitted on the outlet box of the alternator. It is factory fitted and wired. It has a local display which shows engine values, generator values, engine warning events and engine shutdown events. Depending on the model of the EMCP, there is usually a Modbus port which is available for remote monitoring of the EMCP data.
The EMCP display may not be accessible while the generator is running if the EMCP panel is fitted on the generator and if the generator is inside the generator enclosure. Furthermore, not all of the EMCP data may be remotely monitored.
In this situation the operators may be blind to engine warning events while the generator running. This may have a negative affect the operational availability of both the unit generator and of the system to which it is connected e.g. power station. It may not be possible for the operators do diagnose an engine alarm. The generator may shutdown without warning and the result could be an unplanned outage of the power station.
In order to solve this problem, BESST has developed a CAN1 Viewer. The CAN1 Viewer will read J1939 engine values and events from the engine CAN1 network. It presents the information simultaneously on a local display and on a smart phone application. It includes a data logger and it provides scheduled emails with logged engine data.
The CAN1 Viewer makes use of mobile technology to allow the operator to monitor the engine without having to be either at the generator enclosure or at the SCADA HMI.
By using mobile technology, the CAN1 Viewer is independent of the Caterpillar controls and the SCADA. The smart phone application may be made available to the personnel who need the engine information, such as operators, technicians, vendors and the owner’s asset management personnel.
The main features of the CAN1 Viewer are that it is easily deployed, it provides real-time visibility of the engine status and that is can be accessed via a smart phone application.
There are financial benefits from improved operational efficiencies and improved availability of the generation unit.
A similar system has been developed which connects to the Modbus port on the EMCP. This is an EMCP Viewer. It does not include a local display.
BESST is able to provide the following: