The Problem:

The United States Coast Guard requires the City of Tacoma to perform regularly scheduled updates to the PLC control system that operates the Hylebos drawbridge. These scheduled updates are required to ensure the bridge functions properly and the critical waterway always remains accessible. Should the waterway ever become inaccessible due to a bridge malfunction, the City can be subject to paying fines until the waterway is reopened.

When the drawbridge control system came due for updates in 2021, the City of Tacoma turned to Process Solutions after receiving a positive referral from a local engineering firm. Upon inspection by a Process Solutions Engineer, it was determined that the existing SLC500 series controllers were no longer compatible with the most recent software updates and required replacement. In addition, the City expressed interest in upgrading to the latest PLC equipment to better futureproof the bridge’s controls.
Existing SLC500 series PLCs and I/O rack installed in a panel in one of the two control rooms.
A Prime Electric electrician installs the new PanelView Plus 7 HMI into the Operator Console at the Hylebos Bridge.

The Solution:

Process Solutions sent a tandem of Senior Engineers to coordinate with a team of electricians from Prime Electric to replace the existing SLC500 series controllers with a redundant processing pair of ControlLogix PLCs. Process Solutions performed the PLC and HMI programming and system commissioning, while Prime Electric removed the old PLC system and performed the installation and wiring of the new system.
Each of the new ControlLogix PLCs include a RM-2 redundancy module that enables the redundant processor to seamlessly take over if the other fails. Both PLC racks and an accompanying I/O rack are installed in a control room on one end of the bridge, while another I/O rack is installed in a second control room positioned on the opposite end of the bridge. As part of the project, Process Solutions and Prime Electric also upgraded both control room’s I/O racks and a third I/O rack installed in the operator console to the ControlLogix I/O platform.

To bring all of the bridge’s controls onto the same tag-based platform, Process Solutions and Prime Electric upgraded a separate pair of existing MicroLogix PLCs to CompactLogix. The CompactLogix PLCs control the actual raising and lowering movement of the bridge. Once the traffic gates are down, traffic signals are red, and the bridge center locks are unlocked, the ControlLogix auto PLC system sends a hardwired signal to the CompactLogix PLC to raise or lower the bridge. In the event of an auto PLC malfunction, the operators can also manually raise or lower the bridge using these same processors.

In addition, Process Solutions and Prime Electric upgraded the existing ControlNet-based PanelView 6 HMI to a new Ethernet-based 10” PanelView Plus 7 interface. The HMI is dedicated to alarming purposes when certain events occur, such as if the brakes failed to release or engage.
The newly installed redundant processing pair of ControlLogix PLCs and the accompanying I/O rack.
Finally, a device-level ring network was installed that requires two breaks in the ring before the bridge controls become inoperable. The network operates through a 1783-ETAP ring manager, which has two ports for the network signal to pass through and can detect that a ring network is present. To prevent flooding the network, the ring manager shuts down one of its two ports so that the network signal can only travel in one direction. Anytime the ring manager detects that the ring is broken, the second port is automatically enabled, allowing the signal to travel in both directions up to the point of the break. This ensures network communications remain intact if the ring is ever broken.

The Result:

The Hylebos Bridge is now operated by the latest PLC technology with multiple redundancies to ensure the drawbridge always remains functional and the critical waterway remains accessible to shipping vessels. Additionally, the new system can be updated for many years into the future, ensuring the City of Tacoma stays in compliance with United States Coast Guard mandates.
Redundant processing pair of ControlLogix PLCs with RM-2 redundancy modules.

Project Photo Gallery:

About Process Solutions, Inc.

Based near Seattle, Washington, Process Solutions is the Northwest’s largest control systems integrator. With a focus on providing industry-leading quality and service, Process Solutions offers a range of control system solutions, including UL control panel design and fabrication, PLC and HMI programming, SCADA integration, industrial refrigeration control systems, and machine monitoring software. Over its 34-year history, Process Solutions has successfully completed thousands of projects for end-users, OEMs, and government entities across industries and applications. With more than 100 engineers and technicians on staff combined with over 30,000 sq. ft. of engineering and production space, Process Solutions has the capacity and expertise to execute projects of almost any size or complexity.

About Prime Electric

Prime is one of the most prolific and successful electrical construction contractors on the west coast. With primary markets in the tech-centric regions of Seattle and Silicon Valley, Prime has extensive experience across all industry groups, and delivery models. For more information, please visit www.primee.com.
Vaclav Mydlil
Sr. Director of Advanced Automation
Vaclav leads the dynamic Energy Management and Refrigeration Division at Process Solutions. With an impressive 20 years of experience in power demand management and refrigeration control systems, Vaclav is the driving force behind one of the company’s most innovative systems.

His expertise extends to PLC and cloud-based systems, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. Vaclav’s commitment to excellence is underscored by his Master of Science degree, specializing in control systems and electrical engineering, which he earned from the University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic.

Beyond the office, Vaclav’s passions include kayaking, snow skiing, and woodworking. Most of all, he enjoys moments spent with his wife and three kids.
Steve Pelton
Vice President of Sales
With over 20 years at Process Solutions, Steve Pelton has held various roles, including Sales Engineer, Sales Director, and his current position as Vice President of Sales.

In addition, Steve oversees Process Solutions’ Energy Management and Refrigeration Division — ensuring the company remains at the forefront of energy-efficient solutions that cater to diverse food production applications. Steve also spearheads the strategic development of the company’s machine monitoring solutions, aligning them with client needs and market trends.

Steve’s background includes mechanical engineering, but his career trajectory has mainly focused on control systems marketing and management. His ability to bridge technical expertise with business acumen has been instrumental in Process Solutions’ growth.

Outside the office, Steve passions include conquering rugged trails on his mountain bike, perfecting his golf swing, and exploring new destinations with his family.
Matt Barnes
Chief Financial Officer
Matt, with 28 years of financial strategy and accounting experience, plays a pivotal role at Process Solutions. As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), he spearheads the company’s growth strategy, ensuring financial stability and health.

Beyond traditional financial management, Matt also oversees strategic initiatives aimed at optimizing Process Solutions’ on-hand inventory costs and availability. By fine-tuning inventory management, Matt ensures the company can meet client needs efficiently and maintain a healthy bottom line.

Matt graduated with a degree in accounting from Western Washington University and previously served as a financial executive at a large retail corporation. Outside of work, Matt enjoys traveling, soccer and spending time with his family.
Kevin Orr
Executive Vice President
Kevin boasts an impressive tenure of over 25 years at Process Solutions. His position in the company has been multifaceted, spanning roles as a project engineer, engineering manager, and Process Solutions’ first Executive Vice President.

Under Kevin’s leadership, the food processing division has flourished, earning its reputation as of the most respected in the industry. Today, Kevin closely collaborates with executives from leading food processors and food processing equipment manufacturers across the country.

Kevin is a devoted husband and father with a passion for international travel.
Todd Busby
Chief Executive Officer
Todd has dedicated over 30 years to Process Solutions, where he has worn multiple hats—from panel builder to project engineer and sales representative.

As the CEO of Process Solutions, Todd has spearheaded significant transformations. Under his leadership, the company has diversified into new industries, acquired a world-class facility, and more than doubled its size.

Todd, a native of the Puget Sound region, is a devoted husband, father, and avid outdoorsman. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him supporting his three kids in all their pursuits or hunting and fishing in Eastern Washington.
David Crumpley
President
David has dedicated over 15 years to Process Solutions, where he has served as a Senior Engineer, Vice President, and now Chief Operating Officer. His multifaceted experience spans technical expertise, strategic leadership, and operational efficiency.

As the head of Process Solutions’ Water/Wastewater division, David orchestrated the modernization of the company’s internal systems and boosted operational efficiency across the organization.

In his current role as President, David continues to drive innovative initiatives aimed at expanding the company’s reach and further streamlining internal processes.

Outside of work, David enjoys spending quality time with his family and pursuing his passions as an avid outdoorsman.

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We provide numerous remote and on-site services to our customers, including software upgrades, troubleshooting, hardware replacement, and feature additions. Our staff size provides us flexibility to quickly respond to standard time frames and emergency service.
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Process Solutions provides commissioning services, as well as system start-ups. Our staff will travel anywhere in the world to help you get your system up and running. We start up hundreds of systems per year, and our licensed electricians on staff can pull permits as needed.
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Our Engineering and CAD department can create a wide range of documents, including functional specifications, software design documents, test manuals, O&M manuals, P&ID, system drawings, and network drawings. Drawings for FDA level documents are a particular specialty.
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Process Solutions software designers are equipped to handle any size job. We structure our program code to be easily read by both customers and engineers, making support and system upgrades fast and easy.
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Process Solutions builds over 3,000 panels per year. Our high-volume model makes our technicians experts in the field and provides our customers with an industry leading experience. Efficient manufacturing practices, mixed with automated manufacturing equipment, allows for quick and consistent job completion.
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Creation of custom designs for new and legacy systems. All drawings are template based using automatic CAD macros. Our techniques create an efficient design process with recognizable and easy to understand drawings.

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