The openness of Apros makes it possible to use it for automation testing. When a real or emulated automation system is connected to Apros process simulation, automation testing becomes intuitive: Apros provides a realistic process response for the automation system that is connected and testing is like actually operating the automation system.
Testing an automation system with Apros is like "virtual commissioning." In virtual commissioning, the automation system is commissioned on the simulated process plant. During the virtual commissioning tests, corrections to the system can be made on the fly. With Apros, it is possible to test automation systems in those situations that cannot be tested with the actual process due to safety reasons or high costs. These tests include e.g. accident cases in which safety automation is activated. Testing automation with Apros before the actual installation saves time and money in the actual commissioning phase.
Repeatability of tests is an important feature of simulation-assisted automation testing. When an error is detected during the tests, the situation has to be repeated in order find the source of the error. The Apros Testing Station application provides tools for repeating the tests. It also includes visualisation and reporting features.
Apros has been successfully used in the Loviisa NPP Automation Renewal Project to test both utility and safety automation:
Fortum has used a full-scale Apros plant model of the Loviisa NPP and Apros Testing Station in the automation renewal project in the test field and factory acceptance tests. Dynamic tests of the nuclear water treatment plant automation were carried out, and several errors were found and corrected. Errors were found that otherwise could not have been found until the commissioning phase. The errors were corrected in the test field and that saved us a lot of time during commissioning.
Ulf Lindén, Project Manager, Loviisa Automation Renewal Project
Apros can be connect to automation systems via several different connection methods:
Apros has been connected to automation systems of Siemens, Areva, Metso and Honeywell. More information about communication libraries and external models of Apros can be found from PDF "Apros Communication with External Systems".