Thesis for the Degree of Master of Science


Year 2003
Jari Laitinen

World Wide Web -Based Monitoring and Control Systems in the Process Industry

The World Wide Web has become a relatively secure platform for different industry systems. The aim of this thesis was to study how well the WWW conforms to the monitoring and control systems of the process industry. Advantages and disadvantages of developing web-based systems in the process industry are studied.

The process industry sets some specific requirements for Web-based systems. In the literature part of this thesis these requirements are analysed. The markup languages and the three-tier architectures of the WWW are also introduced. Finally, different devices connecting to the Internet are examined.

Typical requirements for Web-based monitoring and control systems include real-time functionality, security and reliability of the system, reporting capability, visuality and the possibility to connect to existing automation systems and their data sources. Some of the technologies produced to solve these are studied.

In the experimental part a Web-based monitoring system for a flotation process is developed. The application is done with a specific web-framework. Data sources, the user interface and the functionality of the system are described in XML and the business logic is implemented in Enterprise Java Beans. With the system built one can observe the current status, history measurements, control parameters and alarms of the flotation cell and construct trends from the results. Administrators can also configure the alarm limits of the process device. Special emphasis is given to the fact that the service can be used via different devices.

The thesis showed that the systems of the process industry can gradually be converted to the WWW. The advantages gained are obvious and control systems can already be built to work on the Internet when the necessary security factors are taken into account. In particular, Web-based monitoring systems give big advantages in availability and multi-channel environments. WWW-based systems will not replace the current automation systems in the near future but they can provide a new channel for the same information.

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