A Smarter Way to Manage Performance at Power Plants
“We have thousands of thermocouples, meters, sensors and alarms, and on a good day we can pay attention to 1 in 10,” a plant operator recently said. “We know we’re missing data that could help our performance and maintenance planning, but unless we hire 10 more operators, what can we do?”
That statement summarizes the conundrum many plant operators face. Thousands of sensors and controls provide real-time data that can give critical feedback for improving power plant performance. At the same time, large volumes of data can create information overload. As an aging workforce with decades of experience increasingly retires, knowledge is walking out the door – and plant owners must find a way to fill the gap. Fortunately, there is a solution.
One way to address the issue is through remote monitoring and diagnostics as part of an integrated data analytics program. Black & Veatch designed the ASSET360™ platform as the foundation for its Smart Analytics solutions, which combine human knowledge and experience with computer modeling and analytic tools to help utilities to better plan, operate and explore.
Monitoring & Diagnosing Operational Issues
Smart Analytics Case Studies
Early Detection Saves Money
Overworked plant staff can’t catch every potential problem. According to Stan Piezuch, Senior Performance Engineer at Black & Veatch, “There are many examples where statistical anomaly detection has uncovered a developing problem which is still below alarm thresholds. And, of course, that’s the point, since it is beneficial to detect problems as early as possible. This gives the plant staff more time and flexibility to deal with the problem before damage occurs or they lose production.”
From Monitoring and Diagnostics to Integrated Issues Management
Black & Veatch has extended its remote monitoring and diagnostics service to include an issues management software application. While remote monitoring is effective for diagnosing individual performance and equipment issues, it is even more valuable when problems are placed in the context of other issues, existing maintenance plans and past issue resolution.
Issues management is a web-based portal for collecting and prioritizing all types of issues to expedite resolution and improve team communication. It provides a searchable history of how problems were diagnosed and resolved. The application also integrates with maintenance scheduling systems. This combination produces broader and more detailed information sets to help both the performance and maintenance teams.
Extending the Value with Adaptive Planning
Remote monitoring and diagnostics is only half the story for the ASSET360™ technology. The other half, Adaptive Planning solutions help utilities make more informed asset, maintenance and strategic planning decisions.
“Analytics becomes more powerful with the full ASSET360™ tool chest, including forward-looking scenario assessments,” said Matt Kirchner, Black & Veatch Smart Analytics Director. “Adaptive Planning means that the models and scenarios continue to be updated, and it provides for a comprehensive, integrated solution.”
An old saying in the data analysis world posits: “Uncontrolled information is noise and risk; controlled information is power and security.” Not only is this true, but in the case of power plant operations, controlled information is profit.
Subject Matter Expert
Una Nowling: NowlingUC@bv.com
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