Process control including maintenance management for district heating networks

Logo Fernwärme MarktoberdorfLogo Zach Elektroanlagen Project: District heating Marktoberdorf
Customer: District heating Marktoberdorf GmbH, Markus Hacker, +49 8342-4203105,
System integrator: Zach Elektroanlagen GmbH & Co. KG, Tobias Zach, +49 8622-9881330,
Products: Process control system, HMI
Sector: Energy & Energy networks

“The lack of continuity in the supply of energy and raw materials means that many municipalities can only dream of independence and planning security. “


The town of Marktoberdorf, located in the foothills of the Allgäu Alps, is one step further in this direction. Fernwärme Marktoberdorf GmbH has been operating its own district heating network since 2009. The aim is a sustainable, environmentally friendly and economical supply of heat to parts of the city and its citizens. Public buildings such as the town hall and indoor swimming pool are supplied as well as many private households.

After initially obtaining the heat from local industrial plants, the operating company began constructing its own supply plants in 2012, optimally tailored to the needs of its customers. During the expansion, the decision was also made to monitor the operation of the plant by means of a central process control system. “When selecting the system, FlowChief was immediately able to convince,” says Markus Hacker, Head of Technology at Fernwärme Marktoberdorf GmbH. “FlowChief did not only fulfill the central tasks demanded by us such as visualization, alarming or historization. With the integrated maintenance and maintenance management we also use functions which usually are not to be found in the power spectrum of current process control systems.

The FlowChief system integrator Zach Elektroanlagen was commissioned with the implementation. First the interfaces of the generating plants, heat meters, water meters and transfer stations and their protocols M-Bus, Modbus, BAC-Net and Profibus had to be brought to a common denominator. For this purpose, Beckhoff decentralised controllers were installed. These serve as protocol converters and communicate upwards via Ethernet with FlowChief.

Important decentralised locations were also equipped with an HMI solution from FlowChief. If the central control station is not available, the process can still be accessed on site. “The engineering for this was already carried out on the server. Process screens and variable configuration only had to be copied,” Tobias Zach, Head of Automation Technology at Zach Elektroanlagen, sums up a significant advantage. In addition, the customer uses identical user interfaces in the headquarters and on site.

FlowChief Facts:
  • Process control system 25,000 process variables
  • Steadily growing heating network can be expanded by the operator in the visualisation at the push of a button
  • 2 FlowChief HMI decentralized on-site stations
  • Alarm and escalation management (dynamic alerting via SMS)
  • Online coupling of 6 Beckhoff controllers that serve as protocol converters
  • Operational management with FlowChief maintenance management