Servelec Technologies is proud to have supplied and supported Heathrow Airport with their SCADA system for over 20 years. The first system was installed in 1995 and has undergone continued enhancements and support upgrades, the latest being completed in 2017. Impressively, the incredibly robust system has been 100% available, with the exception of planned maintenance, since the original system was installed.


The SCOPE-based Airport Control System at London Heathrow Airport originally consisted of ten Nexus database servers (five duty standby pairs), a duty standby data archiver and a site wide workstation licence agreement. The system now handles in excess of 100,000 digital signals and 20,000 analogue values sourced from more than 100 Rockwell SLC500 and PLC5 based outstations encompassing the monitoring and operation of numerous engineering systems including but not limited to:

• 33kV and 11kV high voltage electrical network
• Firemain system
• Potable water
• Foul drainage
• Tunnel control systems
• Fixed electrical ground power (FEGP)
• Passenger sensitive equipment (lifts, travelators)
• Boiler house indications
• Airfield indications
• Other ancillary engineering systems

The original 1995 SCOPE SCADA system was based on a dual redundant client server architecture running under Solaris and provided a central control room, along with remote access for maintenance and a fallback control room operation in the event of a major incident.

2017 Developments

The system recently underwent a major upgrade to the latest version of SCOPE that runs on a Capgemini hosted virtualised environment. This upgrade also included any possible deployment scenario; dedicated client, or a thin web based client including HTML5 support.

The upgraded system is fundamental to the Airports Operational Centre (APOC) that went live in 2017. APOC covers all terminals and tunnel control systems and is therefore critical to the airports round-the-clock operation.

The visualisation displays built using Prism Studio allows intuitive graphical and tabular displays to be produced quickly using familiar, common drawing package actions e.g. drag and drop and provides facilities for creation of animated object libraries driven by the telemetry data.

Within the Heathrow system, outstations are based on PLC and RTU technology; plant data is sourced from a variety of outstation devices and transferred back to the SCOPE system. The Rockwell SLC range of PLC devices is used extensively in simplex and dual redundant configurations.

Developments over the years for London Heathrow have included time tagged data collection from Credit And Load Management Units (CALMU) for HV power monitoring and specialist alarm data transfer protocol to interface to the CEM MAID access control system. All protocols in the original system were able to take advantage of the true dual server hardware topology with automatic re-routing of data in the event of equipment failure.

Safety system control and monitoring

One of the key outstations on any airport is the fire main system. Servelec Technologies’ solution continuously monitors water pressure and flow while sophisticated
sequential logic coordinates the control of pressuring pumps, main electric and emergency diesel pumps. The Heathrow system also includes control of such items as tunnel lighting and ventilation, potable water systems and sewerage systems.

Servelec Technologies provided resources to complete the engineering, design, configuration, documentation and testing of the SCADA system. To maintain a lower cost base for SCADA configuration, Servelec Technologies created an inhouse configuration team that provides the system’s Prism configuration. This work is supplemented by Heathrow Airport’s two framework suppliers, Firstco and Schneider.


Servelec Technologies continues to provide enhancements and support to Heathrow and recently completed an upgrade which includes the provision of SCOPE’s latest
Prism5 web user interface, which provides operators with a crystal clear graphical visualisation of the status of airport-wide automation systems. Prism5 facilitates the creation of intuitive graphical and tabular displays and animated object libraries driven by telemetry data, thus providing a holistic
view to operators.

Impressively the SCOPE SCADA system has been 100% available, with the exception of planned maintenance, since the original version was installed over 20 years ago.


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