Pipelines crisscross the continents bringing energy supplies to where they are needed. Pipeline operators must ensure their integrity by monitoring for leaks, corrosion and operating states such as surge conditions.
In a Pipeline Oil & Gas News article, Edge controllers enable pipeline digital transformation, Emerson’s Denka Wangdi shares how this technology has help pipeline operators with more resilient, reliable operations.
Denka highlights the role of edge controllers in digital transformation initiatives.
Edge controllers are the modern answer for providing reliable industrial control and enabling modern IIoT-capable data communications. Pipeline operations are ideal candidates for this type of digital transformation.
Traditionally, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), remote terminal units (RTUs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) technology has been used for monitoring and control. Denka contrasts edge controllers that use:
…a real-time operating system (RTOS) for deterministic direct control—much like a PLC or RTU—and adds a general-purpose operating systems (OS) like Linux for performing advanced computing and communication tasks. The RTOS and general-purpose OS are completely independent from each other in hardware and software, but they can be conﬁgured to carefully and securely interact with each other using industry-standard OPC UA communications.
It’s the general-purpose OS that enables transformative practices. It provides:
…modern developments lacking in many conventional components, such as a ﬁrewall for security. Furthermore, it is equipped with IT-aware communication protocols like MQTT, which are optimal for the low-bandwidth telemetry connections usually available to pipeline operations.
Denka notes that leak detection and corrosion monitoring systems can provide their data to edge controllers:
…for good alarm management to address these and other issues.
For surge control, these controllers:
…make it possible to improve the situation by enabling each local controller to better interact with upstream and downstream stations, and to responsively coordinate operations with a central control room. With more data and computational power available, users now can implement advanced surge control automation schemes.
Read the article for more on how this technology is being applied to drive improved performance.