KruseDQM System Ready for Corps Pipeline Dredge Monitoring Program Roll-Out this Summer
Data Recovery Screen
Kruse Integration has developed KruseDQM, a fully integrated system that will satisfy all monitoring, data collection and data transfer requirements of the Corps of Engineers (COE) Dredging Quality Management (DQM) program for pipeline dredges, which begins this summer.
In March 2016, Jay Wise began working closely with the COE DQM support center at the Mobile District to thoroughly understand all aspects of the DQM specifications required for the pipeline dredges. Convinced that the Corps was going to roll out and impose the requirement for larger dredges beginning in 2017, Kruse Integration took it on its own to develop, test and validate a DQM package to satisfy the complete specifications.
The first phase of the pipeline dredge program will be installation of a DQM system on a privately-owned dredge used in the next pipeline contract awarded by the Mobile District this summer. This contract and the effectiveness of the software system will be the object of study by the Corps and by industry. Using the experience and lessons learned, the Corps will gradually add DQM systems to other pipeline dredges for observation during contracts.
Wise’s system is ready to go. He can provide the two computers – a Corps computer with DQM software installed, and a second one with the KruseDQM software installed. He assesses instruments on the dredge according to the Corps’ Dredge Plant Instrument Plan (DPIP), which describes the equipment needed for meeting the minimum data reporting requirements, installs all needed instruments, calibrates all the instruments, and interfaces them with the software. Kruse will work with the Corps and dredge contractor to develop the required DPIP for certification.
Instrumentation includes density meter, flow meter, discharge meter, engine tachometer interface, draft sensor, ladder inclinometer and all sensors necessary for the work event (latitude, longitude, vertical correction, heading, depth, vacuum, slurry velocity, slurry density, pump RPM and discharge pressure.) All “events,” as the Corps terms the operating parameters it is watching, are displayed on the main overview screen and individually accessible for update on individual screens via the user-friendly interface. Behind the scenes, the software converts the data into the JSON strings as required by the Corps.
“We create the data exactly as the Corps specifies, and can change if the Corps changes,” Wise said.
On the Kruse software computer, the operator can view information from each of eight events that the Corps is recording. These are the work event, contract event, pipe length, booster pump, advance, outfall position, non-effective (downtime), and station event. Each of these events is automatically tracked, recorded and transported to the DQM Center at the Mobile District via the Corps computer DQM software, along with any comments added by the operator. Each screen has a space for these comments.
On the non-effective event screen, the reason for the downtime is in the form of a code provided by the Corps. Wise went a step further on this screen, providing a drop-down menu containing the explanatory text for each reason, which, when checked, is transmitted as the code. This eliminates the necessity for the operator to match the reason to the code, with the extra time and possibility for error that would entail.
Wise included an instrument calibration screen that shows the condition of each sensor, and a main screen listing all the events, from which the operator can navigate to any individual event. This screen is the overview of the entire DQM system, Wise explained.
If the signal is lost and there is a gap in data transmission, Wise’s software allows for a user-friendly selection to transmit the missing data to the DQM Center as soon as the signal is restored.
As part of the installation and service, Wise monitors all the instrumentation from his office, provides troubleshooting and operating advice to the contractor, and maintains and calibrates the equipment to keep the dredge certified for the job.
“We can interface with any name brand instrument or PLC (programmable logic controller), and our package is completely independent of any positioning system the contractor may chose,” Wise said.
“Data collection is something owners should have for their own operations. I’ve put similar systems on dredges before, but this is the first system that uses the Corps of Engineers format,” he said.
DQM has performed testing with the KruseDQM system, said Vern Gwin, National DQM Program Director, and the testing has gone well. Certification, approval, or official sanction will occur after the system has performed successfully on a dredging project, he said.
Wise is hopeful that his system will be chosen by the contractor on the first phase project this summer.
“After a successful evaluation of this first pha se, other districts across the Corps will begin implementing DQM pipeline monitoring as new contracts are put on the street,” Gwin said.
“Initially, as we phase in the new pipeline monitoring requirement, we will not require an official certification but will continue working closely with the contractors to check, evaluate and provide feedback on an as-needed basis on the status of their new systems and instrumentation to ensure they meet the latest specifications. A full certification program will be implemented when the initial phases are completed,” Gwin said.
Gwin’s team has performed testing with the KruseDQM system, which has gone well.
“The true test of any new system, including our own products, is when they are actually working on a working dredge, collecting live data in a production environment,” he said.
Pipeline dredge monitoring was in the original 2006 Silent Inspector guidance, Gwin said. There was not a concrete timeline for putting this in place. Pipeline monitoring was put on hold as the Corps did a comprehensive overhaul and modernization of the entire program in 2010, which included changing the name to the National Dredging Quality Management (DQM) program. After that effort was completed and success was achieved, Corps Headquarters mandated that pipeline was to be integrated into the new DQM program, he explained.
The DQM team at the Mobile District has created and tested DQM monitoring systems on five government-owned pipeline dredges, including the Port of Portland’s dredge Oregon, providing an opportunity for testing the Corps’ internally developed on-board software, database, specifications, data flow architecture, and web-based view tools, prior to implementing the program nationwide on private dredges.
“A ton of work internally at the National DQM Center had to be done in preparation for this massive undertaking. We developed lessons learned from this exercise and have passed these on to the dredging industry at workshop meetings, WEDA conferences and the National Dredging Meetings. We know this is a partnership made up of several parties, including the Corps of Engineers, the dredging contractors, system providers, on-board software companies, and many more instrumentation/electronic engineers and specialists. This has taken a significant amount of coordination with all parties involved and has been a challenge for the DQM program to prepare in advance for this endeavor. The small DQM Center staff has risen to the challenge of this new requirement and has appreciated the effort by all parties to use their knowledge and experience to make this effort a success,” Gwin said.