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powered by RTA: Energy management at full power


  We all want the wheels keep going. No one wants that all at a sudden all wheels stop - all elevators are stuck - all traffic lights are dark - all computers quit working and all lights go out. But that is exactly what happens during a blackout, and blackouts still happen. Thank heaven only once in a while but they are still out there. Only because of the continuous efforts of an elite group of engineers and technicians, working around the clock with most sophisticated equipment, we are able to enjoy the amenities of the 21st century without experiencing too often the inconvenience of blackouts. The system that those engineers have to control and maintain is one of the most complex systems one can imagine. Power plants have sometimes to start up or shutdown in the matter of minutes in order to maintain the very critical balance of demand and supply in the nationwide electrical power network.


But what has this to do with RTA?



Energy management is the process of monitoring and controlling the cycle of generating, transporting and distributing energy. Ideally consumers are near to the sites were power is generated, but this is often impossible. This means, talking about electrical energy that the energy needs to be transported from its generation sites to the consumers via extensive transport networks. Usually those networks spread over hundreds of miles. To ensure that those transportation networks remain within the desired safety and economical constraints, they are usually equipped with sophisticated Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition systems (SCADA) which help the operators to monitor and control the network.



A SCADA system is a remote monitoring system that gives utilities greater control over their electric power distribution network. Utility operation centers can monitor and control all their substations and other critical devices in their networks. SCADA systems are usually operating on dedicated landlines connecting numerous remote stations. The network's operation is monitored from a Dispatching Control Room.

Whenever an unexpected event happens, hundreds or even thousands of alarms are automatically sent to the control room by the SCADA system. Under these circumstances the operator has to rely on experiential knowledge to analyze the information, diagnose the situation, and take appropriate actions to return the network to a safe state.



But the operator also needs proven and reliable tools that can process all that information quickly, especially due to the huge amount of information that arrives in a short period of time in case of system faults. The data has to be processed in real-time and the SCADA system has to provide the operator with the essential information in very short time. Hence SCADA systems usually must provide capabilities like


  • very fast data processing, in some cases this can mean processing of a few thousand signals and messages per second
  • fast screen switching, in emergency cases the operator must be able to pull up the screens of affected regions in a few seconds, and often those screens are very complex with a lot of process data points
  • data replication for redundancy and performance reasons (allowing distributed computations)
  • high availability, 24 hours a day / 7 days a week
  • full redundant capabilities, this means MASTER / HOT-STANDBY configurations
  • open architecture for easy integration of 3rd party products and scalability, i.e. SCADA systems are ideally based very much on open standards like
    • IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3.u (100Mb/s), TCP/IP
    • ANSI C, IEC 61131-3
    • OSF, POSIX
    • SQL


RTA - the powerful development tool for the new generation of SCADA systems



RTA is the perfect tool to meet these requirements. With its real-time redundancy manager (RtRM) RTA provides all features required to implement a maximum of safety, security and redundancy by supporting MASTER - STANDBY (HOT-STANDBY) functionality with automatic failover function. Its real-time database (RtDB) allows real-time replication of all relevant process data on all RTA-nodes in a network, thus allowing for distributed computing capabilities. RtDB provides a tremendous read and writes performance due to its sophisticated optimization algorithms. It provides all the performance required by powerful SCADA systems.

The seamless integration of RTA with the ORACLE database and its impressive synchronization mechanisms between RtDB and ORACLE make RTA the ultimate tool for everyone who is seeking the performance of a fast memory resident real-time database.

Another feature of RTA is the support different programming languages. Even if it provides an own programming language, especially designed for rapid implementation of distributed, redundant, real-time applications. This language takes into consideration that RtDB is an active database system and hence it supports ECA rules (Event Condition Action rules). This allows for very easy customization of the SCADA system.

And since RTA has an open architecture and allows effortless integration of third party products, developers do not have to reinvent the wheel again. Many SCADA systems of the new generation are implemented using RTA.


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