About the Client
The client specializes in offering engineering services to the process industry (chemical, petrochemical, power generation). They offer technical services for machinery, systems, plant devices such as turbo machinery (gas and steam turbines, compressors, pumps) and relevant monitoring, control and protection systems.
The client’s existing software was used to predict the performance of compressors. However the software was developed on an older Windows architecture and platform and had following limitations:
- Prone to crashes and was not flexible to handle configurations.
- Outdated UI and look and feel
- PC-based architecture had limited scalability
- Configuration front end was tightly coupled with the software, limiting its use only on machines where it was installed
The client wanted to completely redesign the architecture that supported a better process flow, a new licensing model and variety of new features.
The client was looking for a partner with a proven track record, and skilled in understanding the existing Windows architecture. The service provider would redesign the application using a highly configurable and flexible architecture that utilized the best in class design and architecture patterns.
The client also desired to protect their proprietary algorithms for measuring the performance of the compressor. They wanted the vendor to suggest an architecture approach and process to make sure their confidentiality of data and algorithms was not exposed.
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Silicus offered its services in two phases:
- Existing functionality development on new architectural framework (Discovery Phase)
- Functionality enhancements
The project kick started with requirements gathering sessions with key stake holders within the company, to understand short comings within the existing software architecture and determine the new functionality requirements. At the end of the discussions, Silicus came up with a signed off user stories with clickable mockups that were presented to end users and their feedback was incorporated.
Silicus used the MSF (Microsoft Solutions Framework) for Agile Software Development to perform iterative and sprint-based development and deliver modular software releases.
Smart Client Architecture
The application was developed using Web Services architecture, enabling smart client front ends, with the following layers:
- Web Service Layer, an interface for smart client applications to interact with the application
- Business Object Layer, containing the application’s functionality
- Database Access Layer, for managing interaction with the relational database
Smart client architecture allowed the software front-ends to use local resources to provide a rich user interface, while connecting to the main application to exchange data over HTTP.
Scalability, Performance and Reliability
The application was architected with loosely coupled sub-systems which can be implemented in a distributed environment to provide a high-performance, scalable and reliable solution.
Being a real-time application, performance was one of the main challenges. Multi-threading as well as caching were used extensively to optimize performance.
The software is based on the latest machinery modeling approach and embeds the most advanced thermodynamic theories for prediction of real gas mixtures properties. The project has been designed to guide the user through streamlined workflows aimed to perform complex analysis making available to the user software calculation capabilities in a very simple way.
In order to use application, the starting point is the availability of a centrifugal compressor performance map, along with the relevant gas mix composition and thermodynamic condition (pressure and temperature). With these inputs, the software performs all complex calculations in fully automated way and will produce the expected compressor performances for inlet pressures.
The software is easy and intuitive, and provides automatic data storage in project archives. Evaluation of differences from expected performances will be a powerful tool to support diagnostic and maintenance decisions.
Microsoft SQL Server ((SQL Compact 4.0 (Default), SQL Server Express or Remote SQL Database (Can be configured))
3rd Party Interfaces
WIDE IDE Shell Framework, Data Visualization: OxyPlot WPF graph Library, Units Converter Library, Math.Net for spline and interpolations
WCF Windows Service (For local deployment), WCF Windows Service + WCF Remote Services
Basic installers using Visual Studio Setup project template
Released a competitive, next-generation award winning product with a host of new features and improved benefits for end customers
Rapid time-to-market with a product launch that was right on schedule and within budget, made possible by our Quality Management initiatives under the Global Sourcing Framework
Developed a highly complex software successfully with minimal re-work or changes, allowing the client to successfully launch and sell the new version