The new control center for Municipal Utilities of Kaiserslautern (SWK Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern Versorgungs-AG) is an ultra-modern multi-utility control center that regulates the supply of gas, electricity, water and district heating. Technical data feeds from all the city’s supply depots meet here, where the highly trained staff is responsible for supervising and documenting all the operational processes. In addition to routine utilities management, the control center also coordinates staff assignments in the case of faults and alarms.
The Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern are responsible for four different utilities networks (gas - 1027 km, water - 473 km, electricity - 1159 km and district heating - 217 km) and scores of household connections (gas - 28,383;
water - 20,261; electricity - 22,103; district heating - 2,035). Employees working in 24/7/365 shifts guarantee stable grid operations across all sectors.
In the past, SWK maintained two separate and isolated control centers, one for gas and another for electricity, water and district heating. When the utilities companies merged, the goal was to create synergies and consolidate the control rooms as well.
Five different control systems, each of which coordinates, monitors and manages a host of equipment and work assignments, come together in the main control center. Technically, these control systems are completely separate applications, and previously, each required its own keyboard and mouse. Operators had to work with multiple input devices concurrently.
The main challenge was to create a network control room with uniform and ergonomic workplaces in accordance with the principle of free seating. The goal was to outfit each desk with a single multifunctional console used to manage all five different control systems quickly and intuitively.
A second challenge was to remove all the local computers from underneath the operator desks where their fans generated uncomfortable noise emissions. In this case, the goal was to house them remotely in a central server room and protect them more effectively from dust and damage.
A third challenge was to enhance business continuity for the city’s utilities and assure citizens of the highest levels of supply reliability. In an emergency, operators located either at a backup control center or in a crisis room needed to have full access to all their systems so that they could continue to work without interruption, regardless of circumstances.
The redundancy / backup concept was crucial for Kaiserslautern as the city is obligated to guarantee IT security and the availability of systems in accordance with ISO 27001 standards.