Remote Monitoring System Upgrade: PSA Engineering delivers major brownfield project for Australia’s largest freight rail operator

The project:

  • Australia’s largest freight rail operator engaged PSA Engineering to upgrade the Remote Monitoring System (RMS) with the latest technologies, offering remote monitoring of level crossing and environmental data.
  • The new RMS would upgrade the existing system that had been operational for over 30 years and faced issues with obsolete hardware and software components.

Our capability:

  • Control system engineering
  • Electrical systems and instrumentation engineering
  • Brownfield integration with existing hardware
  • Custom design utilising leading technologies including Yokogawa Stardom RTU, Fastron CT, Sierra Wireless Modem and low current measurement sensors
  • RTU programming and configuration
  • FAT and Integration into the new SCADA system
  • SAT and commissioning support

Key takeaways:

  • PSA Engineering successfully integrated the new RTU at 89 level crossing sites across Queensland.
  • PSA Engineering delivered a solution that met the client’s specific requirements on space, operating voltage and current sensors.
  • The project’s success resulted in the client engaging PSA Engineering to deliver additional projects, including solar powered rail temperature monitoring solutions.
An old circuit board

Remote Monitoring System (RMS) RTU Upgrade

Our client, Australia’s largest rail freight operator, transports more than 250 million tonnes of commodities across Australia each year. As a top 50 ASX listed company, ensuring safety and reliability so that logistics run smoothly is paramount to their business. They are responsible for connecting Australian producers with international and domestic markets through an extensive national rail and road network and operate the nation’s largest export coal rail network.

PSA Engineering was engaged to complete a major RMS upgrade at level crossings and environmental monitoring stations across the client’s coal rail network in South-West Queensland.

The project included three main challenges around space limitations and specific low power and current transformer requirements, which necessitated an innovative approach.

“We offered our alternative solution to the tender, which we felt met the specific requirements. We found a way to overcome a lot of problems and delivered a solution that works. A testament to our work is the fact that the client came back to us with more complex projects.” Shariq Qureshi | Senior Electrical Engineer

The PSA Engineering team, led by Senior Electrical Engineer Shariq Qureshi, successfully delivered a tailored solution for this brownfield project upgrading the remote monitoring system with the latest technologies at 89 level crossing sites across Queensland.

Field Termination Assembly (FTA)

Brownfield upgrade

The existing RMS had been operational since 1989 and was no longer a sustainable option. The original hardware and software components were becoming obsolete, making the system difficult to maintain and optimise. Specialists in brownfield upgrades, PSA Engineering integrated advanced technologies including a modern remote terminal unit (RTU) with the system’s existing hardware.

As a preferred integration partner for the world’s leading technology providers, PSA Engineering is committed to providing our clients with the best automation solutions.

Because we’re vendor agnostic, we guarantee complete independence. We tailored a technology solution for this project that integrated the Yokogawa Stardom RTU, new sensors and Sierra Wireless Modem for 3G/4G communications. We worked with Fastron Electronics that designed a current transformer as per the client’s very specific requirements.

Engineers used a tool for checking the performance of the solar panel

Innovative end-to-end solutions

For the RMS upgrade, PSA Engineering delivered a full end-to-end solution that included the design, programming and configuration of the new RTU, FAT and integration into the new SCADA system and SAT and commissioning support.

At PSA Engineering, we pride ourselves on our can-do attitude and our capability to find a solution to every problem.

To meet our client’s requirements, we delivered the following solutions:

  • Space restrictions – use of double stack terminals, wire looms; pre-assembled
  • 12VDC low power consumption system – sourced hardware compliant to 12VDC
  • Current transformer capable of measuring low current (less than 3A) – worked with Fastron in developing a custom CT.

“Trying to find an out of the box product that met the requirements was difficult. The 12 volt DC device is not common in the market, and low power consumption was necessary to run the system off the existing batteries,” explains Shariq. “So we worked with various OEMs and came up with a solution that was suitable for the client’s requirements.”

To streamline the on-site installation, all of the double stack terminals and wire looms were assembled and tested at our 200m2 workshop that’s purpose-built for the design and manufacture of custom components.

Going one step further

Multiple components made up the new hardware layout. The solution worked well, but moving forward we felt there was still room for improvement. To streamline future installations, we worked with Weidmuller to develop a Field Termination Assembly (FTA) designed to be plug and play with the Stardom RTU. This will simplify future upgrades, use less space and substantially reduce site installation and commissioning time.

Different circuit connections on the table

Ongoing projects

As a team, it gives us great satisfaction to successfully deliver a major project like the RTU upgrade. The only thing more exciting is having those clients return to us with new and more complex projects.

“The client offered us some really challenging projects,” says Shariq. “First was a solar powered rail temperature monitoring solution, and the other was force measurement on rail tracks using strain gauges. There was no existing technology for these projects, so we put in a lot of research and found a solution.”

Complex problems require innovative solutions

We partner with you to deliver innovative, integrated and compliant engineering solutions. Find out more about our capability.

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