What is Remote Terminal Unit(RTU)? Block Diagram, Application

A Remote Terminal Unit or RTU is basically a type of computing, programming, controlling, and networking device that connects different types of physical world sensors, transducers from remote locations to a central processing system. So, the Remote Terminal Unit is a specially designed multipurpose device mainly used in automation systems such as SCADA(Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), IoT(Internet of Things), etc. The Remote Terminal Unit is also known as the Remote Telemetry Unit or Remote Telecontrol Unit.

Remote Terminal Unit(RTU) Function

The main functions of a Remote Terminal Unit are,
  • Connecting - It connects multiple devices of an automation system that actually interacts with the physical world such as sensors, transducers, actuators, etc.
  • Converting - It can converts signals from analog to digital or digital to analog.
  • Controlling - It can control all the devices connected to it as per given instructions.
  • Processing - It process all the signal coming from the devices connected to it, then sends to the central or master control system.
  • Networking - RTU supports different types of network protocols and ways such as wearable or wireless to send the data from a remote place to a central control system.

Remote Terminal Unit(RTU) Block Diagram

Here, you can see the block diagram of RTU or Remote Terminal Unit to better understand its working and function.

Remote Terminal Unit or RTU Block Diagram

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Remote Terminal Unit(RTU) Architecture

The RTU can be called a powerful mini-computer also because it also has hardware, software, and firmware like a computer. It also has a powerful processor, Drivers, peripherals, ports.

An RTU allows multiple inputs at the same time in different forms such as analog inputs, digital inputs, mixed signals, etc. An RTU has all the controlling, converting, and filtering circuits. When it receives data or signals from the physical world devices connected to it, first it filters, converts(if required), and amplifies before processing. 

RTU circuit is designed to operate with a DC power supply, so it has AC to DC converter circuit. RTU is also embedded with a battery and charger circuit for uninterruptable operation when the main power supply is not available.

An RTU has both Analog and Digital outputs. Its outputs are connected through a high current carrying relays. So, an RTU can operate high current carrying loads, actuators, etc. 

The communication system of the RTU is also very powerful and stronger. It supports different types of protocols(RS232, RS485, RS 422, etc) and different communication mediums such as Ethernet wireable connection, Radio Frequency wireless connection, etc.

Applications of RTU(Remote Terminal Unit)

The main function of an RTU is to connect the sensing and controlling devices from a remote place to a central master station in an automation system. So, RTU used for,
  1. Environmental Monitoring System to monitor weather status, air pollution monitoring of different remote places from a central control center.
  2. In oil plants and gas plants to monitor the status of level, environmental conditions, and to operate or control different types of valves, switches, machines, etc.
  3. In electrical power transmission and distribution system to monitor power, voltage, current and to operate circuit breakers, switches, etc.
  4. In water treatment and supply plants to monitor treatment status, water flow, consumption, etc.
  5. RTU is also used in chemical plants, automobile industries, sewage treatment plants, food processing industries, agriculture, nuclear power plants, etc.

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What is Remote Terminal Unit(RTU)? Block Diagram, Application What is Remote Terminal Unit(RTU)? Block Diagram, Application Reviewed by Author on 9/08/2021 Rating: 5
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