Actuator integration made easy

Jon Lawson

Particularly in plants such as tank farms and refineries, where large numbers of actuators are required, AUMA's SIMA Master Station simplifies and speeds up actuator integration into the distributed control system (DCS). Commissioning of the connected actuators can be carried out independently of the DCS using mostly automated procedures.

The SIMA also manages and monitors communication to all field devices, including all redundant data channels. Acting as data concentrator, the SIMA collects all actuator status and feedback signals and sends only the relevant signals to the DCS. In the event of failures, the SIMA allows faults to be identified and fixed quickly.

Based on a modular industrial PC design, the SIMA includes an integrated touchscreen with an easy-to-use GUI, thus providing overall system visualisation at a glance. Each SIMA is able to handle up to 247 actuators over a distance of 296km using conventional RS-485 cables. All communications are based on standard open fieldbus protocols. Different redundancy concepts, including Hot Standby SIMAs as backup systems, can easily be implemented where safety is at stake.

Recent SIMA installations include one at the Płock refinery in Poland. Płock is the headquarters of PKN Orlen, Poland’s largest refiner and retailer of gasoline and diesel. Working with the local engineering company Prozach, PKN Orlen chose 77 AUMA electric actuators to isolate around 20 tanks containing flammable liquids in the event of fire. Two SIMA Master Stations with Hot Standby SIMAs provide redundant control to maximise fire safety.

Łukasz Wyrwiak at AUMA Poland, says the engineers at Prozach had worked with the SIMA system before and believed it to be the best technical solution for their client, thanks to its extremely fast response times.

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