The Client

Goodnight Midstream is a produced water infrastructure company for oil and gas producers. Unlike traditional methods for produced water transportation like trucking, Goodnight Midstream has an extensive network of water-gathering and transportation pipelines across the US.

This network allows for saltwater to reach disposal wells, which are geologically sustainable reservoirs and cuts down gas emissions from truck disposal operations, or be reused by Goodnight’s customers.

Learn how CSE ICON helped Goodnight Midstream design and install its gateway architecture from scratch as they transitioned their SCADA system to Ignition.

Challenge: Design a Gateway Architecture That Doesn’t Rely on Traditional Point-To-Point VPNs

Originally, the Goodnight Midstream architecture consisted of multiple point-to-point VPNs for the secure connection between their facilities and central hub. Managing each VPN connection became complex as each required configuration, monitoring, and maintenance. Traditional point-to-point VPN setups can also limit the growth capabilities of an infrastructure because of additional administrative effort and resources.

Goodnight Midstream’s existing SCADA software presented some challenges for them. They found it hard to maintain as making simple changes (e.g., adding objects) in the application screen required users to access the development environment. Moreover, maintaining version consistency (i.e., performing patch management) across endpoints, historians, and data centers proved cumbersome. If a data center was updated or a patch applied, the endpoints would become “orphaned.” This meant they were invisible until they were updated to the new version. The manual intervention required to update each endpoint (up to 70) was not only time-consuming but required hiring external contractors which added to the operational complexity and use of resources.

These opportunities for improvement prompted Goodnight Midstream to seek help from CSE ICON. From the beginning, the midstream company was clear about what they wanted to achieve:

  • Remove the point-to-point VPNs to decrease complexity and administrative effort.
  • Implement MQTT to transfer data faster and benefit from secure internet connections.
  • Replace their existing SCADA system with Ignition.

Based on the goals of Goodnight Midstream, CSE ICON was able to define the project scope along with the key objectives. The main goal of this project was to design the gateway architecture for Goodnight Midstream, which required:

  • Installation and configuration of gateways
  • Installation and configuration of an MQTT broker
  • Creation of UDTs (User-Defined Types) and instances for Ignition
  • Migration of data from their existing SCADA system to Ignition
  • Streamlined patch management

They came to us with the right answer based on their desire to get rid of the point-to-point VPNs. We looked at their goals, and it was evident that they had thoroughly researched the matter. The MQTT part was really the big thing to achieve this, and they got it right.

SCADA Engineer from CSE ICON who collaborated with Goodnight Midstream

Solution: Use of Ignition and MQTT for the Gateway Architecture

Instead of relying on point-to-point VPNs, Goodnight Midstream strategically positioned five Windows Servers at the enterprise level and approximately 50 Moxa’s AIG Edge Intelligence Gateway devices at their facilities.

The combination of these two technologies—and the installation of Ignition Edge on the Moxa AIGs—was with the goal of enhancing data processing and communication capabilities at the edge of the network.

This first step was relatively straightforward, but for the next key objectives, CSE ICON had to perform tests to determine the best technology in accordance with client requirements. Additionally, the creation of UDTs and migration of data from their existing SCADA system system to Ignition proved time-consuming.

Test for MQTT Broker

Initially, Goodnight Midstream chose Cirrus Link’s Chariot as the MQTT broker. However, upon further investigation, they discovered another MQTT broker which has a reputation of being fast when dealing with large amounts of data.

To make an informed decision, CSE ICON and Goodnight Midstream’s technical staff conducted load testing comparing these brokers. This test involved assessing the system performance under varying levels of demand to ensure it met specified requirements.
The results indicated that Chariot exceeded Goodnight Midstream’ requirements by a wide margin. Not only was it cost-effective but easy to use.

Consequently, the overall pick for the MQTT broker was Cirrus Link.

Creation of UDTs and Instances

The project involved creating UDTs—a tag data type in Ignition. Goodnight Midstream asked for these tags to be generic, with one UDT for a pump and another for a tank totaling over 100,000 tags. Each tag included the OPC (Open Platform Communications) item path for
real-time data exchanges between client and server.

However, there were also disabled tags within the UDTs, which shouldn’t be transmitted. Fortunately, with MQTT, it’s possible to prevent the transmission of disabled tags as this technology only transmits data when changes occur to minimize data transmission.

Gateway Network for Alarming

In addition to the key objectives, getting remote alarm notifications at Goodnight Midstream’s remote “mini-hubs” from their pipelines was a requirement. This involved ensuring that alarms (and their acknowledgements) would stay in sync between the edge-based Ignition deployments at the mini-hubs and the central Ignition system. While this feature wasn’t supported by Ignition out of box in Ignition, CSE ICON extended Ignition’s feature set to facilitate this functionality.

ICON’s development staff helped to make sure that notifications were able to be acknowledged both on the Edge and in the control room.

Kevin Cooper Chief Information Officer at Goodnight Midstream

Results: A Gateway Architecture That Covers Data Handling, Alarming, and User Interface Design

After months of development, Ignition Edge was deployed at multiple facilities, pulling data directly from PLCs. Also, high-speed cellular-enabled skids (which measure the flow of the pipelines) had a polling gateway set up at the enterprise level.

Figure 1 – Goodnight Midstream’s Gateway Architecture

The Ignition screens were designed to be responsive to large and small screens, including mobile.

Figure 2 – User-Friendly Ignition Screen Interface

Figure 3 – Example of a responsive user-friendly screen Interface on desktop, tablet, and mobile
Inductive Automation)

Thanks to Ignition, which is driven by metadata, entering new data into the system was as simple as going into the database table and filling it. Whereas with the old system, it was necessary to pull up the development environment and add objects to the screen. What’s more, processes that used to take half a day to complete would take 15 minutes now.

There was a really good partnership between Goodnight Midstream’s technical staff and CSE ICON that allowed us to deliver on an extremely tight deadline!

Kevin Cooper Chief Information Officer at Goodnight Midstream

The Goodnight Midstream gateway architecture project was initially planned for 12 months. However, due to the database driven metadata model and the close collaboration between CSE ICON and Goodnight Midstream, the project was completed in eight months.

This was an impressive feat, considering it involved the replacement of Goodnight Midstream’s full architecture.

Enhancing Operational Effectiveness

In this case study, Goodnight Midstream required additional features that the existing architecture couldn’t provide. As outdated architectures may risk the security and performance of a company, it was necessary to implement newer technologies for better scalability and to better meet the client’s requirements.

This project is considered successful, covering aspects of architecture, data handling, alarming, and user interface design.

If you’re ready to enhance the efficiency, scalability, and overall operational effectiveness of your company architecture, give us a shout!

Migration on your mind?

If you’re planning on migrating your SCADA system, we should chat! 

CSE ICON is a professional services company focused on the design, development, and implementation of Operational Technology used in the processing and manufacturing industries. Our mission is to bring people and data together, ‌helping our customers continuously improve and increase profitability.