UT Tyler


Center for Petroleum Security Research

The SCADA system simulator comprises three main units:

  1. Master Control
  2. Distillation Unit
  3. Pipeline Unit

Master Control

As the name says this is the main control from where a user can access and modify settings of the other two units. Master Control unit communicates with the other two units through ethernet cables and does all the processing. Master control is provided by Allen Bradley Control Logix system which is connected to a laptop for HMI (Human-Machine Interface) – the HMI allows an operator to view the current status of all units in the system as well as control the units remotely. All programs are written in ladder logic.

Distillation Unit

This unit is a replica of fractional distillation column used in oil refineries: the fractional distillation process breaks up crude oil into its constituents with lighter components removed from the top and heavier components removed from the bottom; the temperature is lowest at the top and highest at the bottom. The Distillation Unit has a main tank and four small tanks. The main tank contains “crude oil” and the four small tanks collect different grades of oil (lubricating oil, diesel, kerosene, gasoline, etc.) Each of the tanks has a sensor, which measures the flow and also the temperature of each tank. The sensors send the data to a PLC (RSLogix 5000) which then communicates with the Master Control. We can monitor and control flow and temperature of the four tanks remotely. There is also a radiator fan and a bypass loop to cool the liquid in tanks and pipelines. We can also change the speed of radiator and also the flow of the bypass loop. If the temperature exceeds an already set value then the tanks are automatically switched off and the unit is turned off automatically.

Pipeline Unit

This is a replica of the oil and gas pipeline system used for distributing products of oil refineries to wholesale and retail distribution centers. Sensors are used to measure the flow and solenoid valves allow us to change the flow through a particular pipeline. This unit has two pipelines and each pipeline is divided further into two sub-pipelines. At any particular time one of the sub-pipeline is on and the other is off for each pipeline. The control is provided by RSLogix 500 which also communicates with the Master Control.

UT Tyler