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Some of the most specialised expertise of Oriel Systems

Oriel Systems ( may have become a significant name in wireless telemetry over its more than 25 years in operation, providing innovative data monitoring and collection solutions for firms in the chemicals, water, oil and gas and printing industries. However, it would hardly enjoy such renown if there was not a great number of past and present clients happy to vouch for its expertise. That the company’s list of valued clients includes such names as Virgin, BP, Roche and Unilever suggests that there are plenty of such organisations.

Such a high level of customer satisfaction is owed to not just the basic scalability, reliability and performance of the company’s remote monitoring systems, but also a commitment to satisfactorily fulfilling the most specialised requirements. This commitment is represented by such past case studies as the help and advice given to Middle Level Commissioners of March, a Cambridge based engineering consultancy firm catering for the East of Ouse, Polver & Nar Internal Drainage Board, which had as one of its sites, an outfall sluice in the centre of Kings Lynn. Oriel Systems was asked how one of the most awkward tidal outfall sluices could be automated.

Oriel Systems subsequently designed the perfect telemetry system for the outfall site, which came to be such a success that the system is set to take in other sites over the coming years. But it is far from the only instance of Oriel Systems catering for very specific requirements, with the firm also handed the contract to supply and integrate CCTV and remote monitoring and control systems into BP’s Driver Controlled Delivery system at all UK-wide BP LPG sites. The installation at each site of a PC based control and monitoring software system solved the problem of the Health and Safety Executive’s insistence on the constant presence of two people at each site to oversee the filling operations.

It was also Oriel Systems’ high level expertise in the fulfilment of very particular requirements that was instrumental in its being awarded the contract for the Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board telemetry system’s replacement and upgrading. As England’s largest single drainage board, the LMDB had very strict criteria for a replacement remote telemetry system. LMDB did not wish to run two disparate systems side by side on account of operational and economic inefficiency, and nor was any existing equipment to be replaced, except that which was obsolete or no longer working. Again, Oriel Systems catered for such needs with aplomb, its telemetry system being chosen on the grounds of its functionality and integration of disparate systems into one.

In the telemetry field, it’s all so easy for prospective clients to believe that every supplier is the same. In truth, Oriel Systems’ ( own wireless telemetry systems have long proved a key differentiator for a wide range of firms that have also been impressed by the company’s unstinting customer service.


Oriel Systems – specialising in the most cutting edge SCADA software

If there’s any acronym that will be more than familiar to those in such industries as water and waste control, energy, oil and gas, telecommunications and transportation, it is SCADA, referring to supervisory control and data acquisition. This is the term for a computer system that gathers and analyses real time data from industrial processes, as has such fundamental importance in the monitoring and control of a plant or equipment. Certainly, Oriel Systems ( is noted for the high standard of its own AWAX SCADA software, which is as cost-effective as it is cutting edge.

SCADA systems are types of industrial control system (ICS) that have been historically distinguished from other such systems by the large scale processes involved, potentially encompassing very large distances and multiple sites. Examples can include industrial processes like manufacturing, fabrication, production, refining and power generation, or public or private infrastructure processes like wastewater collection and treatment, oil and gas pipelines, large communication systems and water treatment and distribution.

Also potentially covered by SCADA systems are facility processes in various public and private buildings, ships, airports and space stations, with the likes of ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems being monitored and controlled. There are various subsystems that tend to make up a SCADA system, including the human-machine interface or HMI that presents the human operator with processed data, which enables the monitoring and control of the process. Other subsystems include a supervisory (computer) system that acquires data and sends demands, as well as the remote terminal units (RTUs) that connect to sensors, converting sensor signals into digital data that is then sent to the supervisory system.

When people talk about SCADA, they are generally referring to centralised systems for the monitoring and control of entire sites, if not complexes of systems of a large geographical spread. So the term could refer to the processes of one industrial plant, or an entire nation. It is the RTU at which the remote monitoring systems begin acquiring data, with the resultant meter readings or equipment status reports being communicated to SCADA as required. This is followed by the compilation and formatting of the data in such a way that supervisory decisions to override or adjust normal RTU controls can be made by a control room operator making use of the HMI.

Those with an interest in the most reliable, scalable and powerful telemetry systems – of which AWAX SCADA software can be a key part – are advised to get in touch with Oriel Systems’ ( technical team. The company’s own SCADA software connects to its own range of remote units, as well as to most programmable logic controllers (PLCs)and various other hardware types, including the remote units of other vendors. Continual program development has seen the introduction of greater functionality to the software, so that it embraces the most recent technological advances and remains absolutely relevant to current needs.


A closer look at Oriel Systems’ work for a wide range of clients

One of the definite selling points of turning to Oriel Systems ( for the supply, installation and support of a telemetry system has long been its ability to cater for a genuinely wide range of requirements across the oil and gas, water, printing and chemical industries. The high technology industrial services provider has spent more than 25 years developing an understanding of the most specialised demands that can arise, accordingly developing systems that are flexible, scalable, high-performing and affordable.

With a list of valued customers that includes BP, Unilever, Virgin, Roche, Chick Master, Thermo, AAK, Aviagen, Nestle, Oxfordshire County Council, SunChemical and many more instantly recognisable names, prospective customers may be interested in Oriel Systems’ work with them. Such assignments have included the supply and integration of CCTV and remote monitoring and control systems into the Driver Controlled Delivery system of BP, at every single BP LPG site across the UK. Each site saw the installation of a PC based Control and Monitoring software system, which meant that when a tanker arrived out of hours, a voice communications channel would be opened between the filling site and the Scotland-based Central Control Station.

On another occasion, Oriel Systems was contacted by the King’s Lynn Consortium of Internal Drainage Boards, which is responsible for providing 16 member IDBs with administrative and engineering services. The total area that it looks after spans some 100,000 hectares, so it wasn’t perhaps so surprising that the firm entrusted Oriel Systems with the creation of a feasibility study and proposals on the best means of achieving a cohesive telemetry strategy. Oriel Systems played an integral role through successive phases of the project, not only installing the entire system but also managing, supporting and maintaining it from a nearby East Anglia office.

Whatever the exact remote monitoring requirements, Oriel Systems has continually met them for so many different organisations, as was the case when Cambridgeshire’s Middle Level Commissioners got in touch about a replacement telemetry system that needed to meet strict criteria. With two disparate systems already in use, providing useful information and having been purchased relatively recently, the MLC did not want to abandon them in one go. This led to the choice to have an Oriel Systems telemetry system installed that offered enhanced functionality and enabled the integration of the disparate systems into one.

From the implementation of VMI software that enables the confident monitoring and control of all manner of remote sites, to systems that can communicate over the likes of radio, PSTN and GSM, there are so many specialised telemetry requirements that only a firm with the innovative, but cost-minded approach of Oriel Systems ( can realistically meet. When companies from a wide range of backgrounds get in touch with the firm about their own big or small project, they too can discover the extent of its technical team’s expertise in everything from wireless telemetry to SCADA systems as part of the complete telemetry service.


Oriel Systems – implementing the most and least ambitious projects

How many telemetry systems providers can claim to cater for the full breadth of needs that customers may have? Oriel Systems (, with its more than 25 years of industry experience, is one firm that can certainly claim to cover all of the bases through its telemetry services. As soon as a prospective client gets in touch, whether by phone or email, the technical team can provide the most tailored advice on their requirements, and how an Oriel Systems solution can cater for them.

It doesn’t matter whether the project is big or small, consisting of the most elementary coupling of a telemetry outstation to the most obvious sensors, communications and technologies, or instead one that calls upon the company’s most specialised expertise in oil and gas, chemicals, water or printing industry telemetry. Certainly, Oriel Systems’ knowhow in many different industries allows it to offer solutions offering certain specific functionalities. An outstation for the water industry, for example, can support various pumping profiles based on the client’s energy tariffs, enabling energy usage cost savings, while for chemical industry clients, a complete range of sensors – including Radar, Ultrasonic, Guided Microwave and pressure transducer – is offered.

Oriel Systems is renowned for its choice of groundbreaking hardware, including a video outstation that can transmit as many as 8 live feeds over the Internet from a remote site. Video can be transmitted at various resolutions by the streaming unit, so some clients may opt for a low network bandwidth system for cost or other practical reasons, or a high bandwidth system if the wish is to transit television quality video. Oriel Systems’ Intelligent Telemetry Outstation (ITO) is also highly flexible, with many types of IO module able to be attached to it. Even the lower power outstation – designed for small solar panel and/or mini-windmill power – allows the client to have as many analog and/or digital inputs as they require.

The Awax SCADA software that Oriel Systems offers is also designed for both small and large projects – including the possibility of the former needing to become the latter. That’s because most PLC systems and various other hardware, including the remote units of other vendors, can be connected to it. This allows for the easy upgrading of existing systems without a client’s existing remote units needing to be replaced.

But in many ways, it isn’t a series of specific products and services, but rather a truly all-encompassing approach that allows the company to provide the most suitable telemetry installation for seemingly any and every circumstance and level of need. Scalability and connectivity to all manner of remote plant and equipment are qualities integrated into Oriel Systems’ ( remote monitoring systems from the very start. It all helps to explain why the firm has become such a consistent port of call for such a wide range of prestigious and valued customers, from BP and Virgin to Unilever and Nestle.


Telemetry Resilience

Now that we’ve all enjoyed the great summer we’ve had and you’ve attended to all those summer jobs of weed control, bank cutting and pump station refurbishment and now as the autumn & winter seasons will soon be upon us, it may be a good opportunity to review and make some plans for improving the resilience of your current Telemetry System.


The term resilience seems to be a commonly used phrase at the moment within the drainage industry and for good reason.  Have you thought what would happen to your telemetry system if you have a power failure ?  If a local electricity substation that you are dependant upon is flooded ? Or your computer crashes ?  How will you get your vital telemetry information ?


Luckily for you if you’re an Oriel customer a number of solutions are available.  We’ve been installing Intelligent Telemetry Outstations with dual-communications options for our customers over a number of years.  The dual-comms option ensures that you will always have a “fall back” position of an alternative communications method if your primary communications network goes down.  For instance if you have a radio-based system which gives you real time live data from around your area, we can add a mobile broadband option offering GPRS/3G (or 4G when available in your locality that will automatically and seamlessly switch over in the event of your current communications network failing.


What about if your main Telemetry PC crashes or the hard disc fails, what about your archived data ? How will you recover your important data ?  How long will it take to restore ? Are you performing back-ups as regularly as you should ?


Again, if you’re an Oriel customer, we can offer you a number of options.  From providing regular automated back-ups to a secure area of your computer network or whether you require a “hot-swap” system which essentially “mirrors” your current system and gives you the ability to have an instantaneous change-over with no loss of data to a new PC to ensure there is no down-time to the system and no loss of data.


Alternatively, we can also offer you a totally internet-based system which is hosted by our secure server and again will allow you to access all your vital telemetry information on any internet connected device.

We can also offer you a parallel internet cloud based system which is hosted by our secure servers and again will allow you to access all your vital telemetry information on any internet connected device, in the event of your normal system going down the remote sites will instead communicate and send all the data to the cloud. Control actions, e.g pump start or stop, weedscreen or penstock control can be sent from the site view area of the internet application.


The integral role of an Oriel Systems telemetry outstation or RTU

Of all of the components that are critical to the smooth running of remote telemetry, the actual device for collecting that all-important data – the telemetry outstation – cannot be overlooked. Also referred to as a Remote Terminal Unit or even Remote Telemetry Unit (RTU), a telemetry outstation is located on each monitored site, gathering information on a 24 hours a day basis from all of the sensors at that particular remote site. When customers across the water, chemical, print and oil and gas industries choose Oriel Systems (, they can specify a video outstation, intelligent outstation or low power outstation.

Such a unit has digital and analogue signals wired directly to it, and is capable of relaying information on events, alarms, analogue (floating) values and more to the host station. It’s also possible to configure communications for local communications to SCADA and further local intelligent devices. The specific RTUs that have been developed by Oriel Systems include a video outstation capable of the simultaneous transmission over the Internet of as many as eight live feeds – optionally with audio – from the given remote site. Oriel Systems’ AWAX software can then be used for monitoring and controlling the cameras, as tabs are kept on other onsite functions.

Customers of this intelligent video unit from Oriel Systems’ large installed user base across the world appreciate the various resolutions at which it can transmit video – whether the requirement is for a low network bandwidth system, or a high bandwidth application from which television quality video can be produced. But Oriel Systems is also known for its intelligent outstation that can be programmed for the monitoring and control of the remote site’s plant equipment. The system can be fully configured for the client’s site, with the Unit being attachable to IO modules of various types, as well as to PLCs and other intelligent devices.

Clients choose the Intelligent Telemetry Outstation (ITO) partly on account of the wide range of communication transmission options that can be specified with the connection of the unit back to their master station. These include both licensed and un-licensed Low Power radio, PSTN (land-line), Internet, satellite and GSM/GPRS mobile. However many previously recorded values need to be sent back, that can be accomplished, with a live feed also being delivered of on-site events.

Finally, Oriel Systems also offers a low power outstation that has been designed for small solar panel and/or mini-windmill power. The unit provides clear and confident readings, with its internal charge pump enabling the generation of its own 24 volt supply for analog sensors. With this unit, radio or GSM/GPRS modem are usually used for communication to the AWAX master station, and a repeater station is not generally required. Such features make this unit just one more of the many telemetry solutions that have helped to make Oriel Systems ( such a go-to company for a wide range of specialised remote monitoring requirements.


The telemetry functionality greatly assisting the printing industry

Much has been made of the struggles of the printing industry in recent times, with newspapers and magazines having to fully embrace the rise of online or, in some cases, succumb to it. In the meantime, newspapers are having to respond to declining circulation figures by streamlining their businesses, with costs being cut wherever possible. One of the most vital commodities to the printing industry, but also one of the most expensive, is printing ink, and the telemetry systems of Oriel Systems ( can help to ensure that no supplier lets a newspaper down.

Not only are newspapers dependent on their suppliers’ continued smooth operation, but the supplier is under pressure to ensure that its customer does not run out of ink – and to ensure that, information needs to be available on the levels of product at the customer’s site. The supplier needs to receive regular notification of customer tank levels, and when the time comes to deliver ink, the supplier will not want to have to return with a partial load – instead, it will want to be able to completely empty the tank. This is where the remote tank monitoring solution of Oriel Systems proves invaluable.

The Vendor Managed Inventory solution of Oriel Systems allows for the constant monitoring of the ink levels in customer tanks, courtesy of an Intelligent Telemetry Outstation present at each site. If, overnight, there is unexpectedly high usage resulting in the tank level falling below a certain pre-defined limit, the system overrides the whole operation, with the supplier being contacted so that it can respond accordingly. But it also helps the supplier to save costs if it has the ability to better plan production in advance, and sure enough, consumption is also monitored so that the supplier can better ascertain the newspaper’s likely future needs.

Over its more than 25 years in business, Oriel Systems has accumulated significant expertise on the requirements of a wide range of clients, with its large installed user base worldwide empowering the technical team to provide the most appropriate inventory monitoring solutions for various applications of different levels of complexity. A recent case study in relation to the printing industry is Oriel Systems’ installation of a telemetry system for one of the major, Spanish-based customers of the leading ink supplier, Flint Ink.

Specialising in periodic magazines and brochures, the purpose-built printing facility in Tres Cantos near Madrid is some distance from the plant in Wolverhampton, UK where the ink is actually manufactured, with the ink management contract being managed in the Netherlands. Nonetheless, Oriel Systems ( was able to supply and install an Intelligent Telemetry Outstation on broadband providing instantaneous tank level readings back to Flint Ink’s Holland headquarters. Information on the next ink delivery, the colour that needs to be planned and historical ink consumption are also all provided by a system that is highly cost-effective and flexible, in line with the customer’s exact technical requirements.


Oriel Systems fosters strong international links

The very nature of telemetry, whereby data is collected and measurements made at inaccessible or remote points prior to the transmission of such information to receiving equipment, might suggest that it is an especially internationally-oriented technology. Sure enough, telemetry owes its very existence to a series of developments far beyond these shores, from the mid-19th century development of one of the first data transmission circuits between the Winter Palace of the Russian Tsar and army headquarters, to subsequent innovations in France. It all points to the importance of any telemetry systems provider, like Oriel Systems (, being distinctly outward-facing.

Sure enough, since its 1986 inception, Oriel Systems has gradually developed into what is now a highly internationally-oriented high technology services provider, with an emphasis on providing the most flexible, reliable and cost-effective remote monitoring systems to what has become a sizable installed user base worldwide. Clients across the likes of the water, chemicals, printing and pharmaceutical industries turn to Oriel Systems on account of its in-depth expertise relating to these particular sectors, combined with specific data acquisition solutions of a proven level of reliability and functionality.

Such clients know that the telemetry systems of Oriel Systems are as powerful as they are scalable. They know that as such systems can be installed quickly and easily, start-up and operational costs can be kept down, while they are also aware that such solutions can be incorporated into a wide range of remote equipment to avoid an existing investment having to be thrown out. In addition, they know that with Oriel Systems, they do not find themselves investing in telemetry infrastructure that they do not actually need. Whether a small-scale or plant-wide system is required, customers know that an Oriel Systems solution can be easily adapted to suit ever-varying needs.

However, clients may also be interested to learn about the national and international links with other major stakeholders in telemetry software and hardware, that put the Oriel Systems technical team in such a strong position to respond to the widest range of needs. The company has a presence in various parts of the UK, with a manufacturing, research and development facility in south west England being complemented by Manchester and north London sites, out of which the company’s installation engineers work. But the firm also maintains strategic alliances and agents in Europe and the Far East – indeed, more than half of its revenue is international.

Such in-depth expertise as gathered from across the world has been instrumental in attracting such high quality and frequently multinational clients as Cadburys, BASF, Nestle, Unilever and Fling Group Netherlands B.V. Customers both throughout the UK and overseas also benefit from a head office located in close proximity to all of the major transport links, as well as the wide range of languages in which the telemetry solutions of Oriel Systems ( can operate around the world. Such factors all help to make the company a continued first choice for national and international clients alike.


Telemetry’s role in fishery and wildlife research and management

Organisations investing in solutions like silo monitoring hardware and software from Oriel Systems ( are often intrigued to read of how telemetry – the automated making of measurements and the remote collection and transmission of data – is applied in sectors far beyond the likes of the oil and gas, chemicals, water and printing industries. One area in which these systems certainly have value is in the research and management of fishery and wildlife, with telemetry proving its worth in the monitoring of threatened species at the individual level.

For data acquisition software to work in the study of certain species, the animals are routinely outfitted with instrumentation tags, which incorporate sensors for the measurement of temperature, speed and location, making the most of ARGOS or GPS packages. In the case of marine animals, diving depth and duration is also generally measured. Through telemetry tags, researchers can learn about the behaviour, functions and environment of given animals. Archival tags can be used to store this information, or it may be sent or transmitted to a satellite or handheld receiving device.

Hydro-acoustic assessments for fish had previously involved the use of mobile surveys from boats for the evaluation of fish biomass and spatial distributions. Now, however, advanced telemetry is used, with stationary transducers being employed as part of fixed-location techniques for the monitoring of passing fish. It may have been the 1960s when fish biomass quantification was first seriously attempted, but it was at hydropower dams in the 1980s that especially significant advances in equipment and techniques took place. In the case of some evaluations, fish passage was monitored on a 24 hours a day basis for over a year, resulting in estimates of fish sizes, fish entrainment rates and spatial and temporal distributions.

The 1970s saw the invention of the dual-beam technique, enabling fish size to be directly estimated in situ via its target strength. By the early 1990s, HTI had developed the first portable split-beam, hydro-acoustic system, which was soon preferred to the dual-beam method on account of the greater accuracy and reduced variability of the fish strength estimates that it produced. It was also through this method that fish could be tracked in 3D, allowing for the determination of a fish’s swimming path and absolute direction of movement. Such remote monitoring systems proved vital in evaluating entrained fish in water diversions, as well as for studies in rivers of migratory fish.

The last three and a half decades have seen tens of thousands of hydro-acoustic evaluations, both mobile and fixed-location, conducted around the world. Certainly, for the purposes of the research and management of wildlife and fishery, telemetry solutions have never relented in their importance – and much the same could be said for the many industries that Oriel Systems ( serves with aplomb. The company’s technical team is happy to listen to requests for both relatively simple and much more advanced, specialised systems.


Telemetry and the Formula One

For the large installed client base of Oriel Systems (, the benefits of remote monitoring systems, both in a more general sense and in ways more directly applicable to their highly specialised industries, are clear. There is, however, another less everyday setting in which telemetry solutions have long proved their worth to the end of delivering world-leading performance – with the results regularly being shown live on TV to millions upon millions of viewers worldwide. That setting is, of course, the Formula One paddock.

Formula One has long been a bastion of high technology, and amid the intense competition both on and off the circuit, it shouldn’t be a surprise that race engineers take advantage of every resource available to properly tune these highly-sprung and delicate vehicles. Whether during a test or race, engineers throughout motor racing have long sought data that they can interpret, and in Formula One, the sophistication of current telemetry systems are such that the car’s potential lap time can be calculated, giving the driver a benchmark to meet.

Temperature readings, suspension displacement and wheel speed, as well as accelerations (G forces) in 3 axes, are all measurements that can be made on a racing car via a remote data acquisition system. In Formula One, driver input can also be recorded for the assessment of driver performance, as well as so that in the event of an accident, the sport’s governing body, the FIA can determine whether or not driver error was at fault. A more recent development was two-way telemetry that enabled a car’s calibrations to be updated by engineers in real time, even when the car was out on track. Having first appeared in Formula One in the early 1990s, two-way telemetry was banned from Formula One by the FIA ahead of the 2003 season.

Most viewers of the on-track action around the world are, of course, oblivious to the intricacies of telemetry solutions and their influence on the outcome of a race, although they do have a highly visible physical presence in the form of the engineers who are constantly hunched behind screens, using the sourced data to interpret their car’s every move. These engineers are in many ways the unsung heroes of the sport, as they spend hour after hour dutifully behind screens on the pit wall, in the garage, inside the paddock engineering truck and even back at the team’s headquarters, many of them never to be seen at the podium celebrations as their triumphant driver douses himself in champagne.

The focus of these engineers may be on the car’s speed, or instead on its reliability. Whatever their exact responsibilities, they depend on the most accurate and sundry data, delivered to them by technology with much in common with that used by Oriel Systems’ ( loyal clients. The company’s technical team happy to devise the right inventory monitoring solution in response to even the most specialised of requirements in the oil and gas, chemical, water and printing industries.