Remote Terminal Units (RTU)s are field devices that are used to remotely control various assets like valves during normal operations and emergency situations. RTUs obtain real-time operational data for field assets and send them to designated SCADA systems. The status of RTU communication links must be monitored closely to ensure continuous operation of equipment and live data flow. To ensure effective operation of these units, inspectors perform regular visits to the scattered RTU sites to check their operating conditions and ensure that they are providing the correct data in a timely manner. This incurs travel costs and poses safety hazards while also planning these trips were difficult given the large operational area of Saudi Aramco.
Therefore, an IT solution was developed to pinpoint and remotely monitor the status of these RTUs in a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS). Also, e-mail and SMS messages are now generated to alert concerned staff about any unit failures even outside normal working hours. Moreover, a GPS-based AVL (Automated Vehicle Location) application was integrated with this solution to enable a faster response to these RTU failures by determining the nearest field maintenance or inspection crews. This integrated solution helps to provide a real time status of all field installed RTUs, optimize the field inspection and maintenance trips, thereby reducing costs and maximizing unit reliability.