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Using GE’s controllers and software, Bay designs systems that instantaneously respond to the demands and pressure conditions associated with aircraft fuelling.

The company uses GE’s PACSystems RX3i controllers and Series 90 PLCs, coupled with Proficy Cimplicity HMI/SCADA software.

Over the past several years, many major airports and military bases have changed their methods of fuelling aircraft, from tank-type vehicles loaded at storage facilities away from the apron or ramp to automated or hydrant fuelling systems, eliminating the need for vehicular storage and transport to the aircraft.

Hydrant fuelling systems typically feature a minimum of two tanks – one dedicated to receiving fuel and the other dedicated to dispensing fuel.

Both tanks incorporate pump houses with two to 10 identical fuelling pumps handling individual capacities from 600 to 1,200 gallons a minute.

Corresponding capacity filter separators, control valves and instrumentation for starting and stopping the pumps are incorporated as determined by flow-rate demands.

Bay uses contactors, electrical components and flow meters from GE for these tasks.

‘Each PLC is programmed to react to pressure conditions within a loop system by communicating to the lead pump,’ said Robert Boseman, president of Bay.

‘When the pressure drops, the PLC brings on the lead pump to adjust the pressure according to demand.’ The PLC follows a sequence to bring on additional pumps.

If the system is issuing 600 gallons of fuel and only getting 50 gallons on return, additional pumps come online to satisfy the demand, or go offline in the case of over supply.

Depending on I/O specifications, a GE PACSystems RX3i, Series 90-30 or Series 90-70 PLC hardwired to field devices, I/O modules and, for ‘hot standby’ applications, a Genius bus provides communication from the I/O racks to the CPU.

Every system incorporates a redundancy system for downtime production.

Bay’s latest hydrant-control systems uses the PACSystems RX3i to monitor and control 500 I/O points – 90 per cent digital I/O and 10 per cent analogue I/O.

Proficy Cimplicity software is used for information exchange through a desktop computer interface to run diagnostics or check field devices such as pressure and flow transmitters, showing historical and trend information.

With this information, operators can understand how the system is running and can run diagnostics, recreate fault conditions and keep the system running more efficiently.

‘With GE PLCs, our fuelling systems can safely manage surge conditions, thereby preventing fuel spills, damage to the aircraft, operator injuries and loss of life,’ added Boseman.

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