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Implementation of advanced control technology in the Murdoch University Pilot Plant

Punch, Alan (2009) Implementation of advanced control technology in the Murdoch University Pilot Plant. Other thesis, Murdoch University.


This thesis is concerned with managing and implementing an upgrade of the Murdoch University Pilot Plant and was a strictly defined project. It had specific outcome requirements and the choice of major components was selected prior to starting the project. All major components for the project were previously purchased by Murdoch University School of Engineering and Energy. The project covered integration, configuration, design, development, and installation of components as well as the development of documentation to support the final implementation of the system in the pilot plant.

This project is comprised of three aspects that together facilitate the upgrade of the pilot plant. These aspects involve different technical, and management challenges as well as different deliverable requirements. The first aspect consists of replacing the existing variable speed drives with units that support more advanced features, configuring the drive and developing documentation to support their ongoing maintenance including the development of schematic drawings. As part of the installation of the drives, they also had to be commissioned to achieve the desired operation.

The second aspect involves developing a ModBus communications network for use in the teaching laboratories and to prepare a similar network for use in the pilot plant. This aspect requires the development of several ModBus programs for the Industrial Computer Systems facility and also includes the configuration of the slave devices for the Pilot Plant. As part of this aspect, an interface module that will be used in the final implemented design of the pilot plant required configuration and testing.

The third aspect covers the primary scope for the upgrade of the plant which is to facilitate the replacement of the existing control system. This aspect is significantly broader in scope than the previous two aspects with a significant increase in the level of complexity. This aspect involved the development of new user interface screens, development of IO lists, management of the development of the new control algorithms involving liaison with Honeywell India and the configuration of the Experion server.

Considering the segmented nature of the overall project, and the different challenges imposed, separate literature reviews will be discussed for each aspect of the project with a specific focus on using the literature to develop a solution. The control system aspect of the project is comprised of small components relating to specific aspects of the Experion system, to better relate the theoretical information to the technical implementation. Short literature reviews will be included in each section. Potential solutions were investigated and analysed with respect to the required deliverables on the project and the final implemented solution discussed. Considering the highly technical nature of the problem, the theoretical solutions did not always completely solve the problem and the discussion also investigates the process of fault finding and rectification.

With time constraints and much of the works being required to be undertaken by third party contractors, the actual implementation of the upgrade was not complete before the completion of this thesis project. The installation of the C300 hardware could not be undertaken during the teaching semester as the plant was operational and the planned late arrival of the control program from India meant the system could not be commissioned in the time frame available. The control system upgrade of the project focused primarily on the preparation of the system for implementation. This included the development of extensive documentation including technical drawings on the final design and work scopes as deliverables for this aspect of the project.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Cole, Graeme
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