Shale Gas and Natural Gas Engine Monitoring

Originally Posted 3/18/11

The second annual Marcellus Midstream Conference begins on Monday, March 21st. Designed to focus on topics affecting the US natural gas supply, this conference and exhibition will bring enlightenment regarding operations and planning, the outlook of the natural gas sector for 2011, prospects for pipeline, products and storage, and environmental and regulatory issues.

With new opportunities emerging in the shale-gas arena, midstream operators and the natural gas industry are paying more attention to shale gas. In 2009, Shaun Polczer of the Calgary Herald predicted that shale gas will supply as much as half the natural gas production in North America by 2020. With those kinds of numbers in the future, it follows that companies potentially affected by the growth of this sector should be paying attention; at Monico, we are.

Monico specializes in detailed monitoring of Caterpillar and Waukesha gas engines for Natural Gas Compression as well as diesel generator monitoring for drilling rigs. Since Monico Gateways are C-UL certified for CI DII environments, they are an excellent choice to gather data from multiple devices in order to present a unified data table to the SCADA system. In addition, Monico gateways can be expanded to include up to 16 I/O module to monitor discrete and analog signals from catalyst beds, thermocouples, RTD’s, pressure transmitters, and vibration transmitters. This combination of features allows a single device to gather all monitoring signals and interface with a remote monitoring system.

Monico, Inc will be attending the Marcellus Midstream Conference as both an exhibitor and conference attendee. Visit us at booth 95 in the exhibitor area. We will be educating those present on our products, and how we can make the natural gas industry more efficient, as well as expanding our knowledge on the natural gas and shale gas industries.

-Doyle, CEO

Continue reading

Data Centers, Effective Monitoring and Downtime Monitoring

Data Centers, Effective Monitoring and Downtime Monitoring

Originally Posted 3/16/11

If the recent events in Japan have shown us anything, it’s that even the tier IV data center with multiple redundancies will at some point have to produce its own power.  When the UPS systems are siphoned of their energy and the transfer switch swings to the generator’s side you want to be confident that your backup power is up to task.

There are many different companies that offer all encompassing solutions that offer monitoring for aspects of the data center, from the servers to facilities, in one easy to use package.  Geist Intelligent Facilities offer one such option that is both proactive and reactive.  As more and more data center customers approach us we are learning that these advanced systems often fall short of a truly proactive monitoring solution when it comes to generator monitoring.  An example of the Geist system overview is pictured below.

This gives you easy and instant access to all aspects of the data center while providing alarms and condition monitoring.  This is incredibly useful software relies heavily on having the right tools to adequately monitor each aspect of the data center.  The generator is too often overlooked because most people think they are already getting good alarm and fault code data, when in reality they are only getting part of the picture.  The monitoring software is great for reacting to issues but can only be as proactive as the ability of its sensors will allow.

Another issue with getting everything from generator monitoring lies with the languages that these engines speak, and with the available outputs.   Your Cummins generator or CAT generator may output modbus, but those are the only parameters that they make available (and in the case of a lot of CAT Generators they provide mostly useless information).  More often than not, additional information is available with the J1939 over the modbus, but then there is the issue with how to get the J1939 output to your BMS (Geist, Siemens, Johnson Controls  Ect) or SNMP Manager.

A case in point would be when VMWare recently experienced a loss of utility power, and when the transfer switch changed to generator power the engine did not start because it was not in the “Auto” position.  This is not a condition that generates an Alarm on the CAT engine, but it does generate a fault code. Had a product like the Monico CDL Gateway PLUS, that pulls data directly from the ECMs, this situation could have easily been avoided.  When the tech working on the CAT engine the week prior left the engine panel in the “off” position, the CDL Gateway would have sent an E-mail and text message to the facilities manager alerting him to the issue, preventing the failed engine start.

Going forward, Monico plans to ramp up its data center monitoring capabilities and stay on top of the industry’s trends. As datacenters grow and change, we will be keeping a close eye on the progress and assuring that our programs, technologies, and Gateways stay at the forefront of their progress; assuring that Monico can continue to provide outstanding monitoring capabilities to data centers worldwide. 

Let us know if you would like more information about what Monico can do to augment your current data center manager, or how it can integrate into your current Building system. 

-Sam Craven, Sales

Continue reading

The Monico CDL Gateway for Engine Monitoring and Genset Monitoring

The Monico CDL Gateway for Engine Monitoring and Genset Monitoring

Originally Posted 3/12/15

The Monico CDL Gateway™ goes beyond a protocol converter and allows for a customer communication interface with Caterpillar® industrial engines and generator sets as a pre-configured solution through an array of data maps and protocols. When using the CDL Gateway™ there are four host ports to choose from; two RS-232 ports, one RS-485 2-wire or 4-wire, and one Ethernet port. The Gateway PLUS adds capabilities such as real-time data logging and Email alerts allowing users to monitor, diagnose, and troubleshoot from anywhere in the world.

The development of the CDL Gateway™ came about when Caterpillar® decided to obsolete the CCM Module and we decided to incorporate that CCM Module into our device. Some key customers from around the US helped in that effort  by providing access to their equipment for development and testing.

There are currently over 550 parameters offered through the CDL Gateway™ that are available in most industrial and marine engines as well as generator sets and mining equipment. Compatible engines and controllers include the 3400 and 3500 series diesel engines, G3500 and G3600 series gas engines, C-Series ACERT engines and EMCP II and EMCP 3 Generator Control Panels. If you have special parameters that need to be monitored we can quickly and easily add them to our Gateway.

Our competitors tend to provide components that require extensive setup and field visits for installation. The CDL Gateway™, on the other hand, polls at a rate of 20 to 60 parameters per second, is not limited to any number of parameters, and requires little to no set up.

The CDL Gateway™ has had great success in the oil and gas industry, maritime vessels, and in power generation. In all instances, the gateways have saved thousands of dollars in programming and hardware costs to our clients.

This is Monico’s most flexible product to date, allowing it to function easily in a variety of environments. Over 3 years we have sold more than 3000 units to satisfied clients.

Continue reading