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2015 International Conferenee on Control,Instrumentation, Communieation and Computational Teehnologies (lCCICCT)

Automatie Floodgates Control U sing PLC with

Added Foeus on Human Safety
Gareeyasee Saha, Anjana Pama, Sushmitha R, Shilpa Bhat
Department of Eleetronies and Instrumentation, B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore-560019

Abstract-Dams are crucial to a country's economy as

they are means of power generation, irrigation, propagation
of tourism, water conservation and other purposes. However,
the unwarranted release of water from spillways of these dams
sometimes poses serious threat to human Iife. This was the case
in the incident of June 2014 at the Larji Dam of Manali, India 5.50pm 1Power house gelS
caJl fram state load despatch
wherein 24 people lost their Iives because of sudden, unannounced centre, Shimla, to reduce
opening of the spillways. It is therefore essential to implement production fram 138MW to
64MW to prevent damage
an automated control of floodgates that takes into consideration topower grid
the presence of human beings and is also used for purposes Iike 5.55pm 1Project stops one releasing 50 cumecs ofwater
generation uni!. Barrage 6.25prn 1 Water rises suddenly,
power generation and irrigation. This paper aims to provide overflows and water level in washes away 24 students
a simulated proposal of these automated floodgates using the reservoir tauches Chandigarh· and team leader
AC500PM554 PLC. The proposed system may be implemented ManaJi NH near AIlt 6.45pm 1100 cumecs of
more water released
on upcoming dams of variable sizes and capacities. 6.50pm 1Police post. Aut, told
Index Terms-Automation, floodgates, human safety, ladder about Iragedy; cops rush to spot
programming. 71J11 1People of Thaloutand
ShalanaJa block NH in protest
8pm 1Search operation
begins. Help sought from
I. INTRODUCTION para military and Army
Sam 1Two bodies recovered
Water eonstitutes 75 % of Earths resourees and has been near Pandoh dam
harnessed by human beings for various purposes, one of them lOam1Two more
bodies recover
being to generate eleetrieity through dams. Dams housing Ipm 1NDRF d i~.lM1rsMlI!hoo
for bodie
hydroeleetrie power stations produee nearly 17% of Indias
eleetrieity and thus are an integral part of our daily lives [1] .
Fig. l. Newspaper clipping of the Larji Dam disaster
Dams may be built of any size or to serve the purpose that
they had been intended for. But without suffieient planning
and alloeation of resourees, any dam eould give results that are teehniques and some of them use Programmable Logie Con-
unsatisfaetory or in extreme eases, even detrimental to human trollers (PLC) for their operation. The Automatie Canal Gate
welfare. eontrol projeet proposed by Mahesh Nandaniya [2] deseribes a
In a eountry like India, hydroeleetrie dams fulfill a major new eanal automation system that has an integrated hardware
ehunk of power generation requirements. Small hydroeleetrie and software system- from gate eontrol to a eOlmnereially
dams alone eontribute over 1O,000MW of power for the available supervisory eontrol system and foeuses mainly on
eountry, while the total power generated by hydroeleetrie irrigation. A 3-phase induetion motor with two gear boxes are
sourees is about 36GW. Another major aspeet of these dams is used with eonjunetion of a PLC that eontrols the RPM of the
that they supply water to a number of irrigation eanals that feed induetion motor for gate eontrol. PLCs and Variable Frequeney
their way to agrieultural plots in plaees that faee a dearth of Drives (VFD) are used to eontrol and monitor Canal Gate at
rainfall or other natural sourees of irrigation. Currently there the field.
are 13 irrigation eanals from dams in India. A funetion of Bobat et. all, [3] make use of three SCADA eomputers- at
dams with revenue potential is that they serve as great plaees the Spillway Guard House, Control Room and Dam Operation
of eonserving loeal flora and fauna and attraeting tourists. Most House, to monitor the floodgates during normal operations and
dams in different states throughout India attraet a great number emergeneies. The use of SCADA system in the Yuvaeik Dam
of tourists and unfortunately, the eurrent operation of these and Reservoir loeated in the Koeaeli provinee of Turkey is
dams may put these tourists Iives under risk. The existing flood primarily explored. Raw data reeorded by the SCADA systems
gates do not serve this purpose of propagating tourism, while are proeessed daily by Dam Operation Supervisor and sum-
at the same time, ensuring safety of human Iives in and around mary of the data is also reeorded in spreadsheet format. This
the spillways of these dams. The Larji Dam dis aster of 2014 system utilizes SCADA as an effeetive method of monitoring
was a direet result of negligenee to tourist safety eoneerns. floodgates at the above-mentioned stages. However, the need
Until now some 800,000 dams have been eonstrueted of monitoring the operation data requires eonstant operator
worldwide for different purposes using appropriate automation involvement, whieh sometimes may prove erroneous due to

978-1-4673-9825-1/15/$3l.00 ©20 15 IEEE 417

2015 International Conference on Control,Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (lCCICCT)


• Level
• Gi!lte
• PIR (AC500PM554)
_sor • Sireo

Fig. 2. Block Diagram of the PLC AC500PM554 in use

human negligence. Fig. 3. Schematic of Proposed System

The PLC based hydroelectric system in dams at Ontario,
Canada [4] discusses how the PLC would interface with
existing manual control systems and the need for additional a) Programmable Logic Controllers: A
components. The system examines the efficient implementa- Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a specialized
tion of hydroelectric turbine and uses the gathered data to computer used for the control and operation of manufacturing
operate the turbine in the most resources- and cost- effective process and machinery. It uses a progranunable memory
way. Power generation depends on the demand and excess to store instructions and execute functions including on/off
water supply of the reservoir. In this paper, the author is mainly control, timing, counting, sequencing, arithmetic, and data
concerned with power generation potential of the dam, thereby handling. PLCs are widely used for industrial automation
ignoring other desirable aspects and potentials of the dam that because of their robust architectural build as weIl as
can be tapped into by automating existing processes. resistance to electrical noise and environmental impacts. They
In [5] Guo et. all propose a 3D visual simulation scheme are capable of controlling large electromechanical processes
to analyze the dam break process which is crucial in the as- of time-critical nature. Thus a PLC is an ideal choice of
sessment of the overall dam safety. Their simulation comprises controller for implementation of the automatic ftoodgates.
primarily of assessing dam strength and dam-breach based on For this project, we use the PLC AC500PM554 of ABB in
ftood routing from the reservoir to the spillways of the dam. Simulation Mode, as this particular PLC is ftexible , fast,
They have applied this scheme to adam in the Shenzhen offers good memory capacity and various networking options
province of China, where they have identified two potential through CAN, Ethernet, EtherCat, etc (refer Figure 2). In
dam areas at risk. The Visual simulation takes into account conjunction with CoDeSys interfacing platform, a ladder
environmental stresses like ftooding and has been implemented program is easily implemented on the PLC.
using Rhino software and 3dsmax. b) Ladder Logic Programming: Ladder programs
Although various automated ftoodgates systems exist that are used in large, complex systems that control industrial au-
make use of supervisory control and simulation of dam safety, tomation, process control, manufacturing and assembly Iines.
we propose a system that eliminates the need for manual Programming in ladder logic provides ease of use, easy
supervisory control to a good extent in ensuring safety from functionalities, ftexibility and helps in incorporating changes
the released spillway water. Our implementation of automatic better. PLC programming through ladder programming is thus
ftoodgates delves into the installation of a ftoodgates system a suitable, less-cumbersome way of operating large systems,
that focuses on three major aspects- power generation, irriga- like ftoodgates of dams.
tion and human (especially tourist) safety considerations. c) Floodgates actuation: Floodgates are adjustable
gates used to control water ftow in ftood barriers and reser-
11. M ETHOD voirs. F100dgates generally enclose the water in the reservoir,
The simulated proposal of our automatic ftoodgates sys- giving them a one-way, open/close passage to the spillways.
tem is based on a simplistic dam with three ftoodgates, whose Once freed, the water drops from the height dictated by the
schematic is presented in Figure 3. We describe this system dam construction and allowed to fall on the turbines; thereby
starting with the components that may be best suited for prac- converting the potential energy (mgh) of falling water with
tical implementation, followed by abrief description of our mass m at a height h, into rotation al energy through the
proposed solution and lastly, the detailed process description. turbines. The rotation of the turbines is then responsible for
generating DC (dynamos) or AC (alternators) power through
A. PROJECT COMPONENTS the principle of electromagnetic induction.
The major components that this paper describes are as The actuation of ftoodgates is implemented with PLCs,
folIows: wherein the ladder program takes care of controlling the

978-1-4673-9825-1/15/$3l.00 ©20 15 IEEE 418

2015 International Conference on Control,Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (lCCICCT)

opening and closing of the floodgates as and when needed, routine using RS232 interface, to send these signals to the
or following interrupts that may occur in the program oper- PIR input switch of the PLC.
ation sequence. This is beneficial also because the response
time of the system controlled by PLCs usually range within
microseconds to milliseconds. For practical implementation of
this project, we intend to use gate actuators, interfaced with
the PLC- like the AWMA bulkhead with actuator system.
d) Level sensors: Standard level sensors that can be
interfaced with PLCs are used to sense the level of a liquid.
Mechanical float level sensors are the most widely used type
of sensors for automation purposes. The sensor consists of Nntrle'le!

a lightweight float suspended at the liquid level that moves

vertically with changing water levels. The raising of the float
-that is mechanically attached to a level switch on the other Fig. 4. No operation time of the dam
end- above a certain height, trips the level switch. Thus, when
the water level rises above apreset height, the level switch
trips to give logic 0 and when the level is below the preset
height, the circuit is complete and results in logic 1 which is
the default state of the sensor.
In this proposal, we make use of three sets of level sensors
for the three floodgates of our simulated dam model. Using
such mechanical float sensors allows quick response of the
level switches that are represented in the ladder program,
in response to changing water levels in the reservoir and
irrigation canal sections of the dam.
Fig. 5. F100dgates open to meet irrigation and power generation requirements
e) Wireless PIR sensors: A network of wireless PIR
sensors detects human presence in the tourist area near the
river bank. Commercial or industrial PIR sensors are widely
used to detect motion from human beings present in the
sensor's field of view, wh ich can go up to 1800 . A Fresnel
lens or mirrors usually surround the pyroelectric material to
broaden the field of view. The field of detection of these
sensors can extend up to 10 feet in front of them.
At the core of the sensor lies a thin layer of pyroelectric
material that responds to incident heat in the IR range (around
lO microns wavelength) by producing changes in current
levels. Greater the heat on the pyroelectric material, higher Fig. 6. Action of floodgates when human presence is detected by PIR sensors
is the electric current produced by it. Packaged as an IC,
the changes in current level act as a differential signal to the The primary goal of our project is to meet power gen-
amplifier within which then generates a pulse output. To detect eration requirements of a small hydroelectric dam and also
motion, instead of the average IR incident on the sensor face, serve irrigation needs without compromising the safety of
PIR sensors are manufactured with two "slots" of pyroelectric tourists or personneis involved in the dam operation who
material. At ambient temperature, both these slots receive maybe approaching the dam or its vicinity. The dam consists
equal amounts of IR energy. When a warm body, such as a of three sluice gates (refer Figure 3)- the first one to feed an
human being passes by in front of the sensor, the temperature irrigation canal and the other two to direct water to turbines
quickly rises and drops back to the ambient temperature at that will generate electricity. There are two level sensors at the
each of the slot's face. The PIR sensor converts the resulting entry point of the water from the reservoir to the floodgates-
change in the incoming infrared radiation into a change in the LS 1 and LS2. These two levels designate the low and high
output voltage, and this triggers the detection. levels of the water in the reservoir. When water is below the
The signals from multiple PIR sensors can be wirelessly low level, it is evident that there is not sufficient water in
transmitted to the main PLC over distances of up to 45 km with the reservoir and at this stage the turbines are not desired to
the help of XBee PRO® transciever modules. These modules be operated. These levels are specific to different dams, for
consist of a Master receiver and multiple Slave transmitters example, at the Nagarjuna Sagar dam of Telangana, this lower
operating at frequencies of 900 MHz. Changes in the PIR level is marked at 150 meters. On the other hand, the second
sensor signals can be wirelessly transmitted via the XBee sensor designates the upper level of the reservoir water. When
transmitter, to the XBee receiver which will utilize the API water level rises above this level, there may be elevated risk of

978-1-4673-9825-1/15/$3l.00 ©20 15 IEEE 419

2015 International Conference on Control,Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (lCCICCT)

flooding and dam breach failures. Thus it is desirable for the

water to flow through the floodgates onto the spillways when
this happens. When water level in the reservoir is between the
two levels discussed above, normal functioning of the dam
ensues. At a stipulated time of the day, say 10 p.m. , the gates Timer l =11.5hrs
TImer2 = 1hr
are opened to turn the turbines for a limited time period (1
The automation of the model dam under consideration
also involves meeting the irrigation requirements of nearby
agricultural lands. For this, we have assigned a level sensor,
LSC for the canal that leads from the dam to the irrigation
areas. LSC detects the level of water in the irrigation canal.
When the level drops below a certain height at which LSC
is placed, it indicates that irrigation needs are to be fulfilled
by releasing the water from the reservoir into the irrigation
canal. However, the algorithm first checks whether there is No
enough water in the reservoir and if there is, only then water
is released into the irrigation canal. Thus the normal operation
of the dams is schematically shown in figures 4 and 5.
An area on the bank of the river after the dam is cultivated
for tourist purposes. This distance of this area from the
spillways of the dam can range from 1 km up to 10 km. In case
G2_ up . G3_up ON
of the Larji dam tragedy, tourists had gathered at a spot around G2_dn , G3_dn OFF
3 km away from the spillways. To address the main concern
of this project, PIR sensors are placed up to 30 km from the
dam using XBee modules to detect presence of human beings
around the spillways of the dam. The sensors will be placed
every 500 m from the spillways along with a wireless XBee
transmitter module. The PLC at the dam operation site will
be connected to the XBee receiver. A "High" signal from
any of the transmitters will result in the receiver getting a
positive input, wh ich will be forwarded to the PLC using the
API interface. This is represented as a PIR 'switch' in our
simulated proposal. Yes
On detecting human beings during the operation of the
dam, the respective spillways must be closed immediately and
GOv_up , Gl _up ON
the outgoing water must be diverted to other channels. For GOv_dn, Gl _dn OFF
this purpose, we have included an Overflow Gate Go v , at the
base of Gate 3, which would divert the water from Gate 3 to
the irrigation canal. This way, the safety of those detected by
the sensors is ensured and a tragedy akin to the Larji Dam
disaster can be avoided to a great extent. Additionally, a siren
rings as soon as this step of the operation takes place, without
the need of a person manually controlling the siren switch.
A. Algorithm
Fig. 7. Flowchart of the algorithm implemented
To model the system, we implement a ladder program
based on the following steps:
• Initially, we consider that the water in the reservoir is
below the lower level (LSl); this implies that water in and Gate 3 so that water fills the canal and flows down
the reservoir is below the minimum level, therefore we to the turbines for power generation.
require all the gates to be closed, irrespective of the • When the water is between Level 1 and 2, the need for
presence or absence of humans in the tourist area. irrigation is detected by the canal level sensor LSC. Thus,
• Next, when water in the reservoir rises above Level 1, when water level goes below LSC, Gate 1 is opened to
and it is the operation time of the dam, we open Gate 2 allow water flow to the irrigation canal. It remains open

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2015 International Conference on Control,Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (lCCICCT)

until water rises up to the level of water specified in the

canal. w,
• Lastly, in case humans approach the dam area when the - 11 ( )

gates are open, they are detected by the PIR sensors and a
siren rings to alert them to move away from the dam. At , ,oe G1UP

the same time, the Overflow Gate opens to direct water 11 (s )

from Gate 3 channel to move towards Gate 1, thereby I O~CN

Y R)-
minimizing the risks of f100ding near the banks of the
river. .


B. Ladder Program

As illustrated in the f10wchart (Figure 7), the various

------------------------ ~~-
inputs and outputs are described here. Timer 1 counts down to
11.5 hours from the time water in reservoir reaches the dead ClUI ' lUJ
- 11-
I --------------------~-

level, to set the time of the day when normal operations of

the dam must ensue.
Timer 2 is set to an hour- the time for wh ich the f100dgates
are kept open in a day to generate power from turbines.
LS 1 = 1 when water in reservoir reaches the dead level.
LS2 = 1 when water in reservoir reaches the higher level; ClU. PI"
needs to be released.
LSC = 0 when water in canal is below the required level for
irrigation; i.e., no irrigation needs.
PIR = 1 when a human being is detected by any of the wireless
XBee modules.
Each set of gate actuator is represented by two limit switches-
up and down . For example, G l_up = 1 motions Gate 1 to ~ rl----------------------~===r~,

move up, thereby opening Gate 1. At the same time G l_dn

must be = 0 to ensure that Gate 1 does not come down before
indicated in the ladder program. The same holds true for all
the other gate actuators.
Rungl: Once LSI = 1 , this counts down to the set time
and energizes an intermediate output MI.
Rung2: Gate l is opened if LSl=l and LSC=O Fig. 8. Ladder program implemented on CodeSys
Rung3: Gate2 and Gate3 are opened, if LS2=1 and the timer
Tl counts down to the time for dam operation.
Rung4: Gate3 is open and PIR=I, siren goes ON, gate3 should IV. RESULTS
be closed and gate overflow is opened. In the proposed simulation, the working of turbines
Rung5: Gate2 or both Gates 2 and 3 are open and PIR=O, (Turbine = 1 in the ladder program) indicates the normal
Gate2 and Gate3 should be closed after Ihr (controlled by working of the dams. When PIR sensor is turned on (PIR = 1),
Timer 2) the Turbine output turns 0 and Gov opens to divert water to
Rung6: LSC=1 with Gatel is open, Gatel should be irmnedi- Gate 1. Gates 2 and 3 are closed simultaneously. The working
ately closed. of the system is summarized in Table 1.
Rung7: Indicates turning turbines on when Gate 2 or 3 or both Using minimal inputs and corresponding outputs, the
are open and off when both are c1osed. system has been realized on an ABB AC500PM554 PLC



No operation Off Off Off Off Closed Closed Closed Closed Off
Irrigation Requirement On Off On Off Open Closed Closed Closed Off
Power Generation On Off On Off Closed Open Open Closed Off
Power Generation; Human Detected On On On Open Closed Closed Open On

978-1-4673-9825-1/15/$3l.00 ©20 15 IEEE 421

2015 International Conference on Control,Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (lCCICCT)

using CoDeSys software in Simulation mode. The use of [4] Micallef, Dan. Water Level Based Control of a Hydro-
Ladder programming goes in line with its usage in controlling Electric Generator. Toronto: Ontario Association of Certified
Engineering Technicians and Technologists, 2009. Retrieved from
the operations of existing large-scale systems Iike dams. The http://www.oacett.orgidownloadsIIETO/TRJSampleElectricaITechnology
algorithm for this program is a novel initiative for upcoming Report.pdf.
plans of large or small hydroelectric generation projects, that [5] Weiping Guo; Wenqian Li; Xuefei Ao; Xiaoling Wang, "3D Visual
Simulation of Dam-Break Process at the Dam Breach," in IEEE In-
does not compromise tourist safety on account of normal dam ternational Conference on Control Engineering and Communication
functions like power generation and irrigation. Technology (lCCECT), 2012, vol., no. , pp.99 1-994, 7-9 Dec. 2012 doi :

The automation of ftoodgates has been implemented in

Simulation Mode using PLC AC500PM554 V1.3. As can
be seen, the system is automated keeping in mind several
factors such as level of water in reservoir, irrigation canal
requirements, time of the day and also the presence of human
beings near the ftoodgates. The added features of this system
are water storage, servicing as a tourist destination, meeting
irrigation demands while minimizing the potential dangers of
such hydroelectric systems. This system is capable of fulfilling
the described goals of the project with the added focus on
human safety, in order to prevent disasters, Iike the one that
happened on the banks of River Beas in Manali, India in 2014.

The use of PLC makes the system both power and cost-
effective and also easy to be operated and maintained. Further
extensions can be made on the system by:
a) The human presence detection system can be made more
efficient by implementing other alternatives like thermal sen-
sors that are being looked into.
b) The system can be implemented on a full-scale SCADA
computer for easier operation and visualization of a single
operator at the control station.
c) Direct gate control using weather forecasts and satellite
implications can be done. This would help make the system
a lot more efficient and robust by upgrading its response to
sudden situations like c10udbursts or ftoods.
d) The automation of the system can be made more efficient
by controlling the gates based on the power requirements and
the power generated by the hydroelectric station.
Implementing the ladder program using actual sensors would
be the next phase of this projecl.

The authors would like to thank Dr. K. Narasimha Rao,
H.O.D. , Department of Instrumentation Technology, BMSCE
for providing the opportunity to do this work. The authors
would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their in-
sightful suggestion.

[1] Shah, T. and Verma, S. 2008. "Co-management of Electricity and
Groundwater" Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.43 (7): 59
[2] Mahesh Nandaniya "A Review Paper of Automatic Canal Gate Control
of 3- Induction Motor with PLC and VFD, Powered by Solar System
and Monitoring by SCADA." International Journal of Emerging Trends
in Electrical and Electronics (IJETEE), Volume 1, Issue. 1, March-20l3.
[3] Bobat, A., Gezgin, T. , Aslan, H. 2014. The use of SCADA system in
dam management, EWaS-MED International Conference, April 2012

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