WorkSuite – functionality

WorkSuite – unleashes RTU functionality

WorkSuite has many features that help in creating applications. Think of the role of WorkSuite as a set of tools that manage and unleash the loads of functionality that reside ‘under the lid’ of a Brodersen RTU (or for some of our most enthusiastic fans, likely that it helps keep a leash on it!).

Integrators and end users are right to expect that if we state that our RTUs have PLC functionality – we must have logic capabilities. Of course we do, but there is a lot more functionality in the RTU that WorkSuite allows access to…

Here’s what I need it to do…

Most integrators and end users start with a few questions including;

  • can the RTUs be programmed remotely – we have a mix of old and new networks, some are still low speed?
  • what about PID control – how many loops and does it have auto tune?
  • does the logic allow online changes, most RTUs don’t?
  • can we have multiple protocols to create a comms gateway and data concentrator? 
  • do you support complex/structured tags – we are wanting to use object style programming?

The questions above can be quickly answered, but if that is all that is asked, they are obviously not involved in a project or system upgrade of a ‘modern’ utility SCADA system! 

I bet you can’t do this…

Most experienced SCADA integrators and end users that have not used Brodersen RTUs are sceptical that all of the items listed in their recent/current project specification can be met. They know the RTUs they are familiar with can’t do what is needed, so they fire a salvo of questions, more like ‘I bet you can’t do this’;

  • we manage RTU setups from our SCADA host by sending RTUs textual configuration files – what sort of file handling can be done?
  • can we also connect the RTU to corporate IT systems that are using VPNs, LDAP, Syslog and SNMP?
  • we may need to develop some legacy protocols – can this be done with the logic tools?
  • can RTU firmware be updated remotely – we need to have secure online updates/patching?
  • does the RTU have secure/signed applications and managed levels of access using central user authentication?
  • remote access by field technicians must be secure – can they use SSH and SFTP to manage and debug the RTU setup?
  • can programs be protected and stored in libraries and is there support for version control?
  • the RTU needs to run multiple independent logic applications (up to 4 separate tasks) – is it possible?
  • do the software tools run on Windows 10 (obvious they are still using some old programming software)?

Yes we can…

More important than being able to answer yes to all of the above questions, is how we achieve this functionality and ensure that in future we can do more… Rather than try to hard code a ‘one size fits all’ application in to the Brodersen RTUs, freedom to build applications with the functionality that you need is what the WorkSuite software tools provide.

RTU Applications – an overview of what needs to be managed 

A typical RTU application needs to interface with I/O data and remote data from a mix of devices using multiple protocols.

WorkSuite provides a flexible development platform to create the variables used in the application and associate them with relevant I/O and remote data. It also allows setup of the communications channels that gather data and respond to requests from other devices and SCADA hosts. The diagram below shows how the various parts of the RTU interact with each other.

The variables database is the central data store. Variables can be associated to I/O hardware and protocols.

The logic program/s interact with the variables in fast logic cycles using a large choice of functions and function blocks that allow accumulation of statistics, process control, messaging, channel manipulation, triggering of reports etc.

WorkSuite also manages setup of the communications interfaces (ports and protocols) and I/O modules.

RTU Functionality Overview

WorkSuite allows creation of ‘projects’ that each store a complete RTU application.  A project can be shared amongst RTUs and interact with library files of programs and user defined functions and function blocks, making re-use and version control easy.  WorkSuite also provides interfaces for managing I/O, database variables, communications channels and protocols and has impressive debugging tools to aid with getting systems operational.

Find out more using the links below.

Example - creating a Modbus and DNP3 slave
Technical Overview of WorkSuite Functionality