Firstco delivers UK’s largest Allen-Bradley SIL2 ControLogix Project

From: Firstco Ltd
Published: Mon Jul 09 2007

Firstco, one of the UK’s leading technical consultancy, project management and systems integration specialists, has just completed the Customer Factory Acceptance testing of a ControLogix PLC system that is believed to be one of the largest of its kind in Europe. The PLC network architecture was specified by Firstco’s design team working, in partnership with BAA, on the prestigious Terminal 5 (T5) Project at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Five Levels below the Terminal Building is a six platform railway station that will handle the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly Line services, as well as providing potential future connection to the South West lines.

The PLC network controls and monitors all of the T5 Rail Station systems. These include train information displays, tunnel ventilation, public address, CCTV, fire and utilities.

The PLC network runs through the 2.5km long Heathrow Express tunnel linking the T5 site to the existing PLC network at the Heathrow Central rail station. The entire network will now cover a geographical area of some 25km as the existing network is linked to both Terminal 4 and Paddington Station.

Due to the critical nature of the tunnel ventilation system, the PLC network was specified as having to meet the requirements of BS EN61508 Safety Integrity Level 2. The design was, therefore, based around Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley’s ControLogix SIL2 rated range of equipment.

The new PLC network uses over 10km of redundant cabling, both copper and fibre, to connect 23 PLCs on a ControlNet network. Eighteen of the PLCs are configured as hot standby fully redundant pairs and are SIL2 compliant.

The PLCs are networked to 49 purpose built remote I/O control panels, giving connection to approximately 2,400 digital and analogue I/O points. In addition to the hardwired inputs, the system also has seven separate protocol interfaces allowing the control room staff seamless control of the various third party systems.

A redundant server/client RSView SCADA System brings all of the systems together to provide a fully integrated user interface.

An additional single headed workstation will be added to the five existing triple headed and two single headed workstations currently in use. The additional control and monitoring required for the new T5 systems has been engineered into the existing graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to ensure that the entire network, now comprising of 53 PLCs, appears and operates as one single, integrated system to the operators.

Firstco’s managing director, Bill Martin, said: "Ultimately the success or otherwise of a project such as this is how easy the end users find the system to operate. By working closely with Heathrow Express we have been able to deliver a SCADA system that provides the Control Room operators with a fully integrated user interface that belies the complexity of the systems at field level.

"Working on a project of this size with some of Rockwell Automation’s latest products and technologies has put us at the forefront of this type of PLC architecture."

Notes for Editors:

About Firstco

Established in 1998, Firstco is now a major force in the areas of technical consultancy, project management and systems integration. Working in a range of industries – notably transport, especially rail installations and airports; power and construction – Firstco specialises in controls and communication solutions for assignments of all sizes from buildings through to large scale infrastructure projects, including sub-surface railways and airports.

Firstco’s in-house team includes specialists in: systems engineering, software engineering, control room integration, consulting, project management and commissioning management.
Through its core services of consultancy, system delivery and project management, Firstco provides its clients with a total solution - from concept to commissioning and maintenance, based on collaboration and integration with clients and partners.

Its mission is to advise, deliver and support high quality control and communications solutions that improve transport and workplace environments, create value for clients and make a positive difference to their end users.

Firstco’s approach is based on four core values:

• Service Excellence - achieving client confidence by truly understanding the business drivers and the project requirements, delivering the agreed solution to plan, managing issues and communicating clearly and regularly - while being easy to do business with and enjoyable to work with.
• Integrity - applying professional and technical expertise to ensure the right solution for the right reasons, as well as being open, honest and fair in all of its dealings.
• Teamwork - deploying the right blend of talent and experience to get the job done, and integrating effectively with client and third party personnel and activities.
• Development - continually seeking to enhance its own capabilities and processes, enabling it to remain innovative and challenging - and sharing this with its clients.

Firstco’s clients include: BAA Heathrow Airport; Esso Petroleum; Heathrow Express Operating Company; London Underground; Standard Life Assurance; Morgan Stanley; Arup Associates; Balfour Kilpatrick; Siemens; EdF; Mott MacDonald; Scott Wilson Crown House (Carillion), and Transmanche Link.

Further information from:
David Bligh / Rupert Exham, Firstco, 0207 034 0833;
Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, 01727 860405

Company: Firstco Ltd
Contact Name: Bob Little
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 00 44 (0) 1 727 860405

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