Monday, 3 September 2012

Underground SCADA

The world’s longest tunnel uses the Siemens Scada System

With a length of 56.8 kilometers, the world’s longest tunnel is in the process of being constructed in Switzerland between Erstfeld and Bodio: The Gotthard Base Tunnel is due to open to rail traffic in 2017. The control technology used in the tunnel is based on the Scada(Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture(WinCC OA) from the Siemens Industry Automation Division.

Tunnel Route (Pic: WIKI)
The control technology will be responsible for remotely controlling and monitoring the relevant data points used by the tunnel’s electromechanical systems. Tunnel Control Centres located at the northern and southern entrances to the tunnel will display, monitor and operate the entire infrastructure of the tunnel. The individual subsystems making up the infrastructure comprise the power supply, the contact line, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting as well as the operation and monitoring of doors and gates. Overriding management of all these systems is performed by the WinCC OA-based control system. The processor operating screens can be accessed and controlled in the tunnel control center. The system uses the continuous flow of incoming information to compile an overview diagram which, as well as system statuses, also displays the locations of trains currently in the tunnel and other additional information. This overview is visualised on a large display screen but can also be accessed at individual workstations.

The control technology will be continuously adjusted and upgraded in line with the progress of the construction work throughout the entire construction project. As systems from different manufacturers are used throughout the tunnel, an integration concept was developed for the electromechanical systems and tunnel control technology. This includes for instance a standardized data point scheme encompassing all systems and OPC UA (Unified Architecture), which serves as a standardized interface between the tunnel control technology and electromechanical systems.

An essential component of the system is its high failure safety. This is achieved using a feature known as the Disaster Recovery System, entailing one redundant WinCC OA hot-standby system per tunnel control center. In the event of a failure in the south tunnel control center, for instance, the north tunnel control cen- ter automatically assumes emergency operation.

The Siemens subsidiary ETM is contributing not only its technology but also an extensive fund of experience from similar enterprises to this large-scale project. The ETM professional control GmbH based in Eisenstadt (A), has been developing and marketing the Scada system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture for more than 25 years. The company has been a fully-owned subsidiary of Siemens AG since March 2007. As part of the Simatic HMI family from Siemens, the Scada system is used to monitor and control applications with a high requirement for customer-specific adaptations, large and/or complex applications and projects that call for specific system requirements and functions.

The new Gotthard tunnel, also known as the Base Tunnel or Second Tube, will be the world’s longest tunnel with 57 kilometers. The construction project also encompasses two additional tunnels: To the north the 20 kilometers long “Zimmerberg Base Tunnel” and the 15 kilometers “Ceneri Base Tunnel” to the south. The new Gotthard tunnel will significantly flatten the route from Germany through Switzerland to Italy, as well as shortening it by around 40 kilometers. The project will also allow high-speed trains to make use of the tunnel.

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