Sea change for Northern Lighthouse Board with selection of EMR for €500k contract

Board manages the authority’s navigation aids in the waters surrounding Scotland and the Isle of Man
(L-R) Mark Quinn, EMR, with Subrahmanya Manippadi, AtoN, NLB

1 September 2022

Utility networks and mobile telecommunications supplier EMR Integrated Solutions has announced the completion of a €500,000 contract with the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) to upgrade its telemetry network and deploy a new monitoring system.

The Northern Lighthouse Board manages the authority’s navigation aids in the waters surrounding Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Encompassing buoys, beacons and over 200 lighthouses, the EMR system provides reliable, real-time reporting on the operational status of these navigation aids across NLB’s coastal estate, boosting the efficiency of marine safety for all vessels.

The contract was awarded to EMR following a competitive tendering process.

Based on Inductive Automation’s ‘Ignition’ platform, the system captures real-time data from NLB’s telemetry outstations such as unmanned lighthouses and floating buoys. Thanks to a user-friendly, intuitive management portal accessible on desktop and mobile devices, staff can see at a glance the status of individual navigation aids and can click into an interactive map to view more detailed, actionable information.

As part of the project, the EMR team is currently in the process of upgrading over 150 remote telemetry units (RTU), devices which communicate with the central SCADA* system.  These next generation devices provide always-on communications and ensure real-time visibility of the assets, facilitating a more immediate response to any alarm conditions.

“The new system is operationally more effective and delivers better reporting,” said Alan Cran, the Northern Lighthouse Board’s principal electrical engineer. “Trend data allows us to analyse patterns of failures or individual events. This data analysis helps with better operational decision-making and assists us greatly in proactively carrying out maintenance work before breakdown occurs.”

System obsolescence was the driver for the current project.  A phased rollout of new hardware meant that any replacement monitoring system would have to be capable of processing telemetry data from legacy analogue outstations as well as new ones and this presented the EMR team with their primary project challenge.

“We chose ‘Ignition’ as it connects securely and seamlessly with a vast array of legacy and current industrial device protocols,” said Mark Quinn, managing director with EMR Integrated Solutions.
“It’s also an open, standards-based and scalable SCADA* platform which is vendor agnostic, addressing concerns that NLB had in relation to the use of proprietary technologies and potential obsolescence in the future.  Full system failover and redundancy ensures high availability and accessibility for what is a mission-critical service.”

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