The School of Biological Sciences at Bristol University is internationally acknowledged for its leading edge teaching and research across a broad range of biological disciplines. In the top rank of UK biology departments it is dependant on the provision of well-equipped research facilities and specialist support units.
The School's glasshouse units produce a constant supply of high quality plant material, to strict deadlines, for teaching and research. The quality of the environment control systems play an important role in the production of this material.
To provide the backbone of the data logging and monitoring a Measurement Systems data acquisition system has been recently installed. Utilising a combination of the Datascan 7000 measurement modules and the Orchestrator SCADA software, the data acquisition system was seamlessly integrated with the current computer based control system.
According to Mr Tom Pitman of Bristol University, having used Orchestrator and Datascan modules previously and knowing its powerful monitoring and trending capabilities, it was an obvious choice when upgrading the units glasshouse control systems. Another factor was that the Envirocons (used to control each compartments common environmental parameters) would merge seamlessly into the Orchestrator program.
The new system provides accurate and reliable data for a wide range of measurement requirements, such as recording temperature and relative humidity of the glasshouses and also weather data from an on site meteorological station.
By using the logged data along with Orchestrator's Trending and Data Export Facilities, historic data can now be retrieved at a later date by Students and Academic Research Staff. The logged data can then be used when writing up cultural conditions present while growing their plant material for University class practical's and research. This also helps replicate growing conditions of previously grown plant material.
The Orchestrator system replaced our previous PC software which only monitored two of the three glasshouses, plus very limited logging and trending capabilities. Since the installation, we are now able to monitor and log all 8 units, with possibilities for any future glasshouse expansion.
The distributed design of Datascan makes it easy to install and the mix and match capability provides a high degree of flexibility for different experiments. The system is easy to use and can be easily expanded in the future.
Datascan/Orchestrator systems can start as 8 channels and can be extended to as many as 1000 channels.