Inside VMG | June 2014

VMGSim PI Integration

By Chris Arthur - VMG Calgary

OSIsoft PI is a system for real time process monitoring and data storage used by large processing facilities as a central data hub. VMGSim’s OPC capabilities allow communication with the PI system. This document summarises the benefits of Integration with the PI system and the method used to communicate between VMGSim and PI.

Benefits of integration with the OSIsoft PI system:

  • Improve model validation by displaying simulated data alongside plant data in real time
  • Import plant data directly from a PI server into a steady state or dynamic model
  • Embed VMGSim into a soft sensor control scheme where non-linear or sophisticated calculations would improve productivity
  • Collate data from multiple simulation models and other sources


Figure 1. Representation of a steady state and dynamic model connected via the PI system. The two models were connected to allow phase envelopes in the steady state model to update with dynamic changes and display process information from both models in a PI Trend Display.

A VMGSim steady state and dynamic model were connected via the PI System using both the VMG OPC Client and OPC server to test the connection options as shown in Figure 1. PI tags were configured as advise tags to efficiently pass data between the models only when a process change was realised. The steps taken to connect the models is described below. 

Connection Overview:

  • VMGSim’s OPC Server was configured with tags connected to key dynamic simulation variables
  • An interface was configured using the PI Interface Utility that allowed the VMG OPC server to communicate with the PI server
  • PI tags were created through the PI System Management Tools. PI tags act as storage points for information on the PI server. The tags corresponded to the OPC tags.
  • The VMG OPC Client was connected to the PI DA OPC server through which PI tags were visible. The OPC Client transferred data from the PI tags to ports in the steady state simulation.
  • Data stored in PI tags was accessed in real time using OSIsoft Process Book


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