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Development of Murdoch University pilot plant maintenance & demonstration programs

Mackay, Shane (2012) Development of Murdoch University pilot plant maintenance & demonstration programs. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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The structure of the Instrumentation and Control Engineering stream at Murdoch University exposes students to significant practical components as well as extensive development of theoretical knowledge. One of the most industry-like practical components that these students have access to is the Murdoch University Pilot Plant. For this reason, it is important that the Pilot Plant is operating smoothly and kept as up to date as possible. The main purpose of this thesis paper is to ultimately improve the performance of the Pilot Plant and hopefully enable it to become an even more valuable resource.

Throughout the time spent on this thesis paper, various improvements and new aspects have been developed and implemented into the Pilot Plant. One of the first ideas explored through this thesis was a significant recoding of the way instrumentation was activated and controlled, enabling all device control function blocks to be operated when the mode attribute is set to program. It is envisaged that this will allow for significantly less operator confusion as has been experienced since the recent upgrade. Further to this, a significant portion of this thesis examined the development and implementation of both maintenance and demonstration programs. Existing research provided evidence that sequential control modules would be the easiest method for coding the maintenance program. This program was designed to activate both upon user demand and automatically on a preset time to cycle various aspects of the Pilot Plant that are susceptible to seizing during extended periods of dormancy. Minimal running time was an important aspect that needed to be considered and this was achieved, with the program completing in two minutes.

The thesis then goes on to explore the development and implementation of the demonstration program. The demonstration program is quite similar to the maintenance program as it also employs sequential control modules. Its design allows for a systematic approach to turning on pumps and waiting until predefined conditions are met to allow the Pilot Plant to reach a steady state operating condition without any input from an operator. This was successfully achieved with a fully automated program from start to finish which it is envisioned will aid during times when tours of the Pilot Plant are being performed, allowing the tour guide to simply press a button and direct full focus to the explanation about the Pilot Plant. Finally this thesis explores the adaption and creation of new human machine interface pages to be implemented into Station to take full advantage of the newly developed code. Three new pages are created to allow easy integration of the new program settings, while minor modifications are also performed, to make operation of the Pilot Plant significantly simpler.

Through the significant research and development undertaken throughout this thesis, it has become evident that there are many more opportunities and directions that further projects could take to build upon this knowledge base and further improve the Murdoch University Pilot Plant and ultimately the Instrumentation and Control Engineering stream.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Notes: For further information including appendices please contact author
Supervisor(s): Cole, Graeme and Vu, Linh
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