SCADA Based NextGen Trainer

The SCADA Based NextGen Trainer is a more elaborate operator trainer implementation in which a background virtual pipeline model in NextGen Transient is connected to a SCADA system for two-way communications.

The Training scenarios are still set up on the NextGen side, but the Trainee uses the SCADA HMI to control the simulation and view simulation results.

The SCADA Based NextGen Trainer requires more set up than the simple NextGen Trainer since it requires the establishment of links between SCADA data and NextGen model data, and typically the SCADA system itself needs to have a reserved HMI section for virtual model data that is separate from actual pipeline data.

There is however a significant benefit in allowing operators to be trained using the SCADA screens they will be using on a day to day basis, and in which they can try out various operations, learn what operations work best, as well as make mistakes, without impacting the real pipeline.

Trainer Module

The Trainer Module is a simulation based trainer in which a Trainee uses the NextGen interface to operate a virtual model of the pipeline as if he were operating the real pipeline. Since hydraulic simulation is being used in the background, the virtual model will react to his actions in the same way that the actual pipeline would.

The NextGen Trainer is simply an add on module that lets companies create Training Scenarios, typically as Transient Predictive scenarios, but training scenarios can also be set up in Steady State or Sequential.

Each Training Scenario can have a preprogrammed set of events that will occur during the simulation and needs to have a grading configuration preconfigured so the trainee results can be evaluated. Some scenarios might involve standard day to day operations, or maybe a sudden change in supplies or deliveries, or even a major rupture on the pipeline.

If NextGen Online is installed, an easy way to create a Training scenario is simply copy a 24 simulation period from the RTM Online model which will duplicate that 24 hour period. The Trainee can then override how the pipeline was operated to see if he can improve the operation.

Trainees can select from any of the available scenarios, then start the simulation run, and interactively take appropriate actions such as modifying set points, opening closing valves, shutting in supplies or deliveries and so on. At the end of the simulation, which is typically an accelerated 24 or 48 hours, the Training Module will run through the results and derive a “grade” based on the grading configuration. Trainee names, the scenarios they ran, and their grades are logged and can be displayed in a report.

SCADA Integrator

The SCADA Integrator module allows the user to have quick, easy access to their SCADA data. The user does not need to go through the trouble of locating their SCADA data and then exporting, formatting, and finally importing the data into NextGen. By utilizing the SCADA Integrator, the entire process is performed automatically.

Before any data collection can begin, a cross reference file must first be created that cross references each needed SCADA Tag with a NextGen Tag. NextGen will monitor data quality flags and only import valid data into the model.

The SCADA Integrator module runs continuously and uses OPC to connect to a SCADA system and download SCADA data at regular intervals. Typically, this is performed in one to two minute intervals, however, the functionality is completely customizable. The data is then accessible by any Online model section.

The SCADA Integrator also creates its own historical database of SCADA data directly usable by other simulation sections such as steady state, Sequential, and transient predictive, thus the SCADA Integrator can not only be used to drive an Online simulation, it can also be used to get historical data for Steady State or Transient Predictive simulations.

The SCADA Integrator can also be configured to export simulation results back out to the SCADA system, allowing companies to use their own SCADA screens as an HMI to drive NextGen simulations.

Data Integrator

The Data Integrator module is used to import input data into models and export results back out from and to databases. It can connect to external ODBC compliant databases such as an Oracle or SQL Server (Stored Procedures and SQL are supported), Excel spreadsheets, and even CSV/Text Files.

After this connection has been established, the data can be used for any number of purposes, such as updating a model with current nominations, or exporting simulation results to external business processes for additional analysis.

The Data Integrator lets the user associate or link specific data objects in a table in NextGen to fields in an external database table. The external database does not need to follow any kind of special naming convention or schema since the links are individually defined.

If on the other hand, the external database can be designed to follow the NextGen terminology and schema, then the GDS Module may be more applicable.

GDS Module

The idea behind the Gregg Data Standard (GDS) is to have a well-defined bridge between a pipeline company’s processes (GIS, SCADA, or Nominations and Contract Management Systems, etc.…) and Gregg Engineering’s NextGen simulation products.

The Gregg Data Standard is a published database standard defining how pipeline data can be stored and be 100% compatible with Gregg Engineering’s NextGen Pipeline Simulation Suite. The database can optionally contain 100% of the data needed to seamlessly create simulation models and support all simulation features and functionality.

This database, or just portions of the database that will be needed, can be created through standard database utilities, but a complete or partial GDS database can also be created by NextGen from existing NextGen models.

Gregg Engineering has developed tools on its side of the bridge in the form of the GDS Module that fully integrate available simulation features into the GDS database. Pipeline companies and/or third party data integrators can use Stored Procedures or SQL Queries to integrate processes such as Nominations Systems, SCADA systems, or Geographical Information Systems on their side of the bridge into the GDS database.

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