Local organizations that want to use an automation system for process control under the supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) system now have a new choice. Instead of paying over Bt10 million buying imported systems, they can use local technology to build up their own control systems.
To save import costs, a group of ex-researchers from the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) has spun off to set up a new company called Mobilis Automata, to provide locally made Scada systems at a 50 per cent lower cost. Scada is an automation system for process control that can gather data in real time from remote locations to control equipment and conditions. With its hardware and software during the process, then sends out a warning if there are any problems.components, the system helps monitor the process status, keeps a record and logs all events.
The system is now used in power plants, as well as in oil and gas refining, telecommunications, transport, and water and waste control. “As the investment cost of imports is high, we see a business opportunity to offer a local system at a lower price,” said the company’s managing director Krit Chongsrid.
Krit is a former Nectec researcher, overseeing manufacturing automation development. Over the past five years working at Nectec, he joined several research projects to develop automatic show stitching machines, automatic plasma cutting machines and grinding machines for industrial use.
He, together with three other researchers, has joined with two private companies, PanComp International, an automation shoe stitching manufacturer under the Pan Group; and Industrial Electric, an automation system distributor, to set up the new company.
As the country has long imported such technology, he said it was time for all that to change. Mobilis Automata is now working with Nectecas a sub contractor, and the company won its first project to develop a master station for the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) to help the authority monitor power flow. The master station is at the heart of the Scada system and is used as a central server linked with remote terminal units (RTU) on power poles. Once the RTU monitors a power flow, it sends the data to the master unit. If one or more RTUs spot a potential hazard situation, the system warns the officials. Krit said this system would help MEA detect power-flow faults and then immediately start planning the best response. Apart from the MEA project, the company, which is incubated under the Thai Embedded System Association, can also utilize the association’s consortium to link with other industries to get more development projects.
It is now also in the development process for RTUs at Siam Cement’s sanitary ware manufacturing plant. For this, the RTUs will be installed to monitor pressing machines.
The company also plans to provide a Scada development service to other utility service providers, manufacturing plants, as well as office building operators who want to advance their monitoring procedures.
Even though Krit has become part of a business, he still hopes to continue with research and development in the academic arena. He is now working on a motion control interface card to support academic research labs in robotic development. The card is an interface that will help link a computer with a servo motor that is used to control the robot’s precision movements. Each lab now has to buy this kind of card from aboard. Krit said the company’s local card development would allow robotic research teams to buy the card, again at a 50 per cent saving.
The company expects the card to be ready for academic labs by the second half of the year.