With a fleet of advanced RTUs protecting their vast network at Transco, a subsidiary of Williams Gas & Pipe, Mario Flores and Bart Pitrus always know what's going on at their remote sites. This is critical for the Houston-based company, as it employs 10,500 miles of pipe in its networks. But total network visibility hasn't always been possible for these technicians.
Before phasing out their old remotes, Mario and Bart saw this unreliable equipment send out conflicting false alarms. "At one of our sites, it said we had a low temp alarm, a high temp alarm, building entry, fire, and smoke alarms going off all at the same time," said Bart. Since there were other techs stationed at this site, Bart knew right away that the alarms couldn't be right. "If any of that was going on, they would've called." Adding to their false alarm headaches, Mario and Bart could not receive any alarm notifications of their critical sites in real time. "We basically had to check it as often as possible to see if there were alarms anywhere," Bart said.
"The NetGuardian 216s are very easy to use..."
With Mario at the main NOC site in Texas and Bart at the backup site in Pennsylvania, they man a huge territory. To maintain the visibility they need, Transco began to phase out the old remotes with a fleet of hardened NetGuardian 216 RTUs, designed to withstand the extreme heat and cold of outside-plant operations.
Mario saw the need to get rid of the "antiquated" equipment when one of his sites was struck by lightning. "It pretty much fried everything, of course," said Mario. "The old units just kept sending out alarms and we were trying to figure out why it was doing that." He could tell that other equipment got "zapped" as well. It was time for an upgrade.
"You take it out of the box, load the software, and the rest is pretty self-explanatory..."
As their legacy equipment was decommissioned or broke down, they were replaced by more NetGuardian 216s. These advanced RTUs allowed Mario and Bart to receive the email and text notifications they needed, and freed them from having to constantly watch for alarms to go off. "The NetGuardian 216s are very easy to use," said Bart. "You take it out of the box, load the software and the rest is pretty self-explanatory."
"My job is definitely easier with T/Mon and the alarm system..."
Mario and Bart, both with a pretty good handle on their NetGuardian 216s, recently attended a hands-on training course at DPS Headquarters to learn more about the T/Mon NOC. After an entire day dedicated to T/Mon NOC training, the pair learned a shortcut that will now save them time while configuring both T/Mon NOCs.
"We've been doing something a little backwards," said Bart. "Mario's been updating his database files, then sending me the configuration files." Since they were taught to do it this way, both were pleasantly surprised to learn that they could manually download the files from T/Mon to T/Mon.
"My job is definitely easier with the T/Mon and the alarm system," Mario said. He's noticed the time he saves while programming his DPS equipment. Mario learned much of what he knows about the NetGuardian remotes and T/Mon NOC on his own. Right before he attended the hands-on training course at DPS, Mario watched DVD tutorials released from DPS so he could teach some of his fellow technicians. "It's really made my life easier."
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