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IIoT Connectivity Solutions for Gas Utilities

Improving Gas Distribution Service Efficiency with IIoT Solutions from MCA

What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), and how can it help you improve your gas utility operations? Consider what the solution did for one natural gas distribution provider.

The Problem

The company supports 27 communities within its region, and its grid serves more than 600,000 regional and industrial customers. Providing their customers with affordable, secure, and reliable gas services is a must.

But the gas distribution provider needed to improve its efficiency and quality of service. They also needed to upgrade their centralized control system to provide more visibility, control, and accuracy throughout their distribution grid.

The Solution

After doing their research, the organization found its answer: the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This end-to-end solution interfaces with the elements that make up the gas distribution grid. These elements are pressure and temperature sensors, data viewing displays, and mechanical pulse converters.

An IIoT solution allows industrial administrators to get a full and accurate history of their gas consumption so that their end users can have more control over their service bills.

Deploying the Industrial Internet of Things

The natural gas distribution provider deployed their IIoT solution with a three-stage approach. During the first stage, a pilot stage, the company deployed the solution to 40 municipalities. They increased service to another 17 municipalities in the second stage and 20 more in the third stage.

The IIOT control system includes 70 ACE 3600 Remote Terminal Units (RTU) from Motorola Solutions. The entire solution consists of third-party sensors and actuators, including:

  • Pressure sensors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Mechanical pulse converters

These sensors and actuators interfaced with the ACE 3600 RTUs which communicated over the land mobile radio network via MDLC protocol. 

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software is a part of the solution too. SCADA enables a remote integration of applications and devices that provides a comprehensive environment for operations management.

The Total Package 

The deployment services provided were robust. It included the:

  • Solution design
  • Installation
  • Scheduling
  • Configuration of all remote sites and central control stations
  • Startup of all remote sites and central control stations

The natural gas distribution’s IIoT solution was backed by round-the-clock support and maintenance service since it chose Motorola Solutions.

A Win-Win for the Company and Its Customers 

The company got just what it was looking for: improved efficiency and quality of service. It was a win-win for the gas distribution providers and its customers. The IIOT solution helped the company increase its productivity, provide more accurate readings, and improve its control over gas distribution. This meant reduced losses and more profit for the company.

The gas customers benefited too. Now they were able to get a comprehensive history of how much gas they consumed and had more control over their utility bills.

Technically Sound

From a technical aspect, the IIoT solution makes it much easier for the gas provider to scale if it needs to. The company has an easier time integrating with third-party devices and products. The gas distributor has the flexibility they need when selecting suppliers. 

The versatile communication options that Motorola Solutions devices provide also make the natural gas distribution provider more efficient. The company has the capacity to integrate RS-232 and RS-485 ports, radio and IP, while using the same or different protocols simultaneously. 

The devices support digital or analog conventional radios, multiple address systems, telephone lines, fiber-optic links, microwave and satellite links and wired and wireless IP networks. In the case of this one natural gas distribution company, 80 percent of the infrastructure communicates using two-way radio links.

About MCA

MCA has collaborated with hundreds of gas utilities across the United States. Our networking solutions for utilities’ IIoT have enabled more efficient distribution of gas and empowered customers to have greater control over their consumption.

When you work with MCA, you gain a trusted partner in all your networking for IIoT needs.

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