The term APCS means, according to its name, automated process control systems, i.e. systems which include such component parts as process control hardware and software on one side and personnel providing their operation on the other side. An APCS is commonly used in the industry, transport sector, and other similar critical fields of application, including but not limited to chemical, machine-building and steel and other plants, railways, subway, public transport, power plants, power supply networks, pipelines, etc.
Lately, the complexity and interrelationship of automation systems of buildings in general and data processing center (DPC) in particular become comparable with similar parameters of industrial and transport systems, hence the approaches, experience, and technologies of control automation developed during design and operation of APCS in the industrial and transportation sectors are transferred to DPC facilities. The sphere of influence of APCS includes not only utility subsystems of buildings and specifically DPC but also IT and network infrastructures which are connected with basic services supporting the core business of an automated building or enterprise.
Just like in the industrial sector, implementation of an APCS in automation of buildings and DPC gives the following advantages:
- Greater performance efficiency of control object;
- Higher levels of physical and information security;
- Higher efficiency of control and monitoring during performance of configuration actions owing to more accurate analysis of situation based on completeness of submitted information on the state of a facility;
- Smaller time interval required for online recognition by personnel of the fact and determination of peculiar features of emerging malfunctions and deviations in the operation of automation systems of a building or DPC;
- Maximum reduction of human errors, which is ensured through prompt operation of subsystems for signaling and blocking of incorrect personnel's actions;
- Application of automatic processes for shutdown of subsystems in case of emergency;
- Availability of an archive with measured operating parameters of automated systems of a building or DPC makes it possible to analyze and predict development of situation, ultimately improving and optimizing the process of control.
- Improving the quality of scheduled and repair operations through the use of a database of measured parameters.
Like industrial APCS, APCS for buildings and DPC comprise the following basic components:
- Upper control level which includes personnel, hardware environment (servers and workstations), as well as SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems.
- The level of APCS hardware which includes programmable logic controllers and controllable automatic regulatos. Controllers get programmed both using a native tool environment and, in a number of cases, in a SCADA programming environment.
- The level of ACS hardware refers to control devices which include measuring transducers, local automatic regulators, and execution units integrated in actuators.
Hardware of the upper level support database maintenance, visualization of process equipment status, report generation, manual remote control of process equipment.
Our company has a practical experience in automation and implementation of popular SCADA- Invensys Wonderware and Iconics systems enabling the development and implementation of APCS for buildings or DPC of various complexity and detail levels with high level of project performance quality and follow-up support.
With reference to buildings and DPC, the following subsystems are subject to automation within an APCS:
- server complex, including primary and secondary servers;
- data storage and backup system;
- network infrastructure, including internal networks of a DPC and systems of connection to external data communication networks (DCN);
- integrated safety system. It includes security tools, physical means of protection of computer systems and equipment, warning system, and access control system;
- utility system of operation. It includes precision air-conditioning subsystems, power supply system, structured cabling system, automated monitoring system, cable channel system, raised floor, suspended ceiling, early fire detection system, and gas fire suppression.
Execution of an APCS project is fulfilled in several stages. Initial stage consists in development of a control flow chart. It is followed by development of key automation diagrams which are basic design deliverables specifying the functional structure of automatic monitoring and control units, as well as selection of hardware to implement the automated system in practice.