Delta’s subsidiary Trihedral boosts scalability and data value of Canada's largest oil & gas producer
To facilitate data collection and measurement
Text by Industrial Automation BG 2022/04

Supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) are widely applied in many industries. A SCADA system monitors and controls on-site equipment to facilitate data collection, measurement, parameter adjustment, alarm management and more, which enhances the efficiency of managerial operations. For a SCADA system that controls facilities across different areas, ensuring reliability to maintain continual operation is no doubt the priority. Usually, such a need is met by a redundant system. When anomalies occur, the primary system is automatically transferred to a redundant system via failover of servers, decentralized applications or multiple communication protocols. With this mechanism, a malfunctioning server can be fixed or replaced without interrupting factory operation.

This is particularly critical for oil and gas companies, whose pipelines and operations span across different states. The cost of building redundancy, however, is often a financial burden for an enterprise. Having a back-up system also means higher operation complexity and costs in maintaining the physical servers. With limited data storage space—as is the case for many SCADA products—generating data-driven insight is not possible.

Trihedral, a Delta group company acquired in 2020, is undoubtedly one of the most established brands in the field of SCADA with its well-known product VTScada. Its customers include Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), the largest independent oil and gas company in the world. CNRL, which owns more than 200 workstations spanning over 2.25 million km2, was looking for a SCADA that could provide smooth communication between these workstations with efficiency and stability.

VTScada features an integrated architecture and synchronized historian, and perfectly fulfills the need for robust redundancy and data analytics. It enables CNRL to build different modes of redundancy apart from the traditional paired back-up of physical servers, including centralized application backup, local monitoring with local data, and putting historical data to use. Its integrated architecture also provides core SCADA components in one single license and installation. With the centralized application backup, a single server can host multiple applications for lower hardware maintenance costs and higher scalability. Moreover, VTScada’s every application historian includes historical and real-time data that CNRL can check on the offline I/O when the network breaks down. To put historical data to use, CNRL can also leverage collected data with customized trending and generate intuitive reports to not only maintain smooth operation, but maximize the benefits of data insight.

In the future, the growing generation of data and how to refine its insights will become even more important. To respond to the coming trends, CNRL and other large-scale companies have started to embrace the mindset of data analytics with VTScada. The built-in data-driven tools help users define principles for data filtering and generate reports with exceptions and anomalies. By turning data into meaningful information, VTScada can reinforce users’ operation efficiency and competitiveness considerably.

Delta’s subsidiary Trihedral is known for the SCADA solution VTScada, which is equipped with an integrated system architecture, advanced redundancy, and a synchronized historian