Service, Innovation, and Accountability for Over Thirty Years
The people of NovaTech have been making process industries and power grids more reliable, efficient, and secure for over three decades. From utility substations to plastics, steel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and nascent alternative energy applications, NovaTech customers provide the energy and materials that the world depends on. NovaTech is proud in turn to provide the products and services that they rely on to do their jobs. Bitronics® Instruments, the D/3® Distributed Control System, and the Orion Substation Automation Platform are Best-in-Class measurement, communication and control technologies used extensively by electrical utilities and Fortune 100 process manufacturers around the world.
The NovaTech division today known as Bitronics began in 1908 as the Bethlehem, PA, instrumentation group of Roller-Smith, supplying government, telecoms and mining operations with highly-reliable precision measurement devices. In those days, the instruments incorporated hand-marked dials, copper induction coils, jeweled bearings, and steel cases. Manufacturing was labor-intensive and involved precision techniques carried out by skilled craftspersons. This craft-based manufacturing created a pride in quality workmanship that still resonates in our products today. As technology advanced, Bitronics began to design and manufacture the first all-electronic digital power meters rugged enough for continuous use in the electric utility substation. Acceptance of the new digital instruments in the traditionally analog world of the utility substation was accelerated by the performance and quality of Bitronics’ utility-grade products. By the early 1990s, Bitronics instruments had 40% of the U.S. utility substation measurement market, being specified 4-to-1 over the nearest competitor.
Today, Bitronics products are recognized within the electric utilities for their outstanding reliability, ease of use, and advanced capabilities. For example, the Bitronics 70 Series IEDs (the first to incorporate IEC 61850 Ethernet protocol) are being used to tackle control challenges in the wind-saturated Denmark power grid. The measurement and control practices being pioneered there will be directly applicable to the Smart Grid as renewable and distributed generation expands worldwide. And the 50 Series SCADA meters simplify configuration and wiring.
The D/3 Process Automation division of NovaTech LLC was previously known as Electronic Modules Corporation and later incorporated into Texas Instruments and GSE Systems. The D/3 Distributed Control System debuted in 1981, winning the prestigious Vaaler Award for its fusion of sequential and batch automation into the first hybrid, plant-wide DCS control system with a still-unparalleled Sequence and Batch Language (SABL) for application development. The D/3′s flexibility, power, and reliability led to its rapid adoption within the process control industry by many of the world’s leading manufacturers, who still rely on the system today.
Today the D/3 is trusted to perform in industries including biofuels, bioplastics, brewing, agricultural processing, nuclear fuels, pharmaceuticals, power generation, chemicals, steel, and other heavy industries. Recent innovations include a patented process visualization and documentation suite (Paperless Procedures), a unique redundancy technique that allows a single 8000 Series I/O unit to back up six others, Online Upgrades that allow software upgrades without process interruptions, and Advanced Process Control (from strategic partner Aspentech) reduces process variability to minimize energy costs and environmental impact.
The Orion Substation Automation Platform was developed by engineers in the Lenexa, KS, division of NovaTech, leveraging their decades of experience in integrating and automating utility substations, gas pipelines, and industrial applications. The lessons learned over hundreds of such projects – and frustrations with the cumbersome integration solutions then available – led NovaTech engineers to design a convergent communications and automation platform that could perform the functions of multiple devices ‑ Remote Terminal Units, Chart Recorders, Cyber Secure Communications Gateways, Distribution Automation Controllers, Protective Relay Communications Processors and more ‑ into a single, easily-configured box.
Today Orion is the leading flexible substation automation platform in the U.S. market, seamlessly integrating multiple vendors’ measurement and protection products into SCADA for over a hundred new U.S. utilities in the past four years. Orion handles the communications, Cyber Security, and automation functions for substations in a significant portion of the U.S. wind market and the largest solar PV installation in Hawaii. In industrial automation settings, Orion serves as a bridge to connect “islands of automation” with Process Control and Energy Management systems.
A Trusted Engineering Partner
Today NovaTech continues to develop its flagship products along with a comprehensive offering of engineering services, training, training simulators and other consultive services. We partner with other Best-In-Class solutions providers to deliver open and synergistic solutions to our customers. With an expanding track record of successful projects, NovaTech acts as an extension of our customers’ engineering organization, delivering exceptional value and integrity with every job.