Pre­dic­tive anal­y­sis and real-time data is key to safe­guard the health of a power plant, says Praveen Chorghade, Chief -Core Tech­nol­ogy and Di­ag­nos­tics, Cor­po­rate Engi­neer­ing, Tata Power.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS - By Praveen Chorghade

Akey com­po­nent in a power sup­ply com­pany is the prac­tice of hav­ing a con­sis­tent mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem in place, es­sen­tial from the point of view of main­tain­ing its power sta­tions and plants. The key ad­van­tage is to min­imise op­er­a­tional risks, sched­ule in­ter­rup­tions and have an in­creased level of main­te­nance prac­tices.

Now, more than ever be­fore, tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments have made it pos­si­ble for power com­pa­nies to set a re­li­able mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem. Cou­pled with data col­lec­tion and pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics process, or­gan­i­sa­tions can gather in­tel­li­gence that is vi­tal for su­per­vis­ing daily op­er­a­tions, main­tain­ing equip­ment, and ef­fi­ciently man­ag­ing emer­gen­cies or dis­crep­an­cies, if any. In the power sec­tor this has been in­stru­men­tal in avoid­ing forced power out­ages across the coun­try.

A global phe­nom­e­non

Fleet-wide mon­i­tor­ing in­volv­ing the pre­dic­tive an­a­lytic soft­ware has al­ready been im­ple­mented in var­i­ous util­i­ties in USA. Var­i­ous util­i­ties in the US and Europe are car­ry­ing out such di­ag­nos­tics at tier-2 Re­mote Di­ag­nos­tics/Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­tres. Such cen­tres are lo­cated within the geo­graphic sup­ply ter­ri­to­ries or even out­side to the ex­tent even in other coun­tries. One such cen­tre mon­i­tor­ing over 50-60 ther­mal power plants in the US is cre­ated in Pune as well. Even Tata Power Noida has set up AD­vanced-cen­ter for Di­ag­nos­tics and Re­li­a­bil­ity En­hance­ment (ADoRE) for the fleet, a 24x7 cen­tre that has an ex­tended reach and ob­serv­abil­ity on the com­pany’s ther­mal units at Mun­dra, Trom­bay and Maithon. An as­set health mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem of­ten com­prises fixed alarm lim­its de­fined within con­trol sys­tems, smart de­vices, SCADA, or his­to­ri­ans. Ad­di­tion­ally, fixed end-of-life and equip­ment run-time cal­cu­la­tion are used to de­ter­mine an as­set’s health.

The con­cept has gained a lot of sig­nif­i­cance due to po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of warn­ing of im­pend­ing fail­ures, eco­nom­ics of cen­tralised mon­i­tor­ing as com­pared to in­di­vid­ual lo­ca­tions, com­par­a­tive mon­i­tor­ing of sim­i­lar units and equip­ment across the fleet, knowl­edge cap­ture and col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­change for en­hanced plant re­li­a­bil­ity and pre­dic­tive main­te­nance ac­tions. The global im­ple­men­ta­tion in­fer­ence drawn from such di­ag­nos­tics cen­tre is to­wards achiev­ing proac­tive an­a­lyt­ics at the back /re­mote end and mak­ing an ex­pert pooled knowl­edge avail­able for ac­tions through SMEs to op­er­a­tions/main­te­nance per­son­nel on-site.

Power of pre­dic­tive anal­y­sis

With the help of pre­dic­tive an­a­lytic soft­ware plant, en­gi­neers are equipped to take pre­dic­tive, proac­tive, risk-in­formed, and timely de­ci­sions. The so­lu­tion de­liv­ers dy­namic in­sight and deep­dive di­ag­nos­tics for be­haviour change of the equip­ment. In sev­eral cases across the en­ergy sec­tor, the so­lu­tion has suc­cess­fully iden­ti­fied var­i­ous plant anom­alies at an in­cip­i­ent stage and helped plant en­gi­neers take timely mit­i­gat­ing ac­tions, thus evad­ing a cat­a­strophic fail­ure or loss of pro­duc­tion. This has re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings and avail­abil­ity im­prove­ments, while in­creas­ing equip­ment health vis­i­bil­ity and op­ti­mis­ing lo­gis­tics of main­te­nance. Using state-of the art an­a­lyt­ics, al­go­rithms, pat­tern­recog­ni­tion, and de­ci­sion mak­ing tools, to­gether with per­for­mance assess­ment tools, gap anal­y­sis and cause-ef­fect sce­nar­ios help in di­ag­nos­tics and re­li­a­bil­ity en­hance­ment.

Con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing of health and per­for­mance of crit­i­cal power plant equip­ment helps to:

Min­imise op­er­a­tional risks of un­ac­cept­able sched­ule in­ter­rup­tions or in­creased main­te­nance

Early iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and ad­vance warn­ings of in­cip­i­ent fail­ure modes and im­pend­ing equip­ment prob­lems to avoid forced out­ages and cat­a­strophic fail­ure.

Iden­tify sub­tle changes in sys­tem and

equip­ment be­haviour based on real-time data, present trends, and his­tor­i­cal data

Pro­vide ex­pert ad­vice to gen­er­at­ing sta­tions on equip­ment per­for­mance and op­er­at­ing regime changes to­wards op­ti­mal as­set life­cy­cle man­age­ment.

Enhancing plant re­li­a­bil­ity

Armed with data gen­er­ated from tech-en­abled mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems, plant en­gi­neers and sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts carry out an in-depth anal­y­sis to clas­sify po­ten­tial find­ings. These per­son­nel then val­i­date the find­ings, seek and an­a­lyse rel­e­vant op­er­a­tional data, main­te­nance data (SAP-PM His­to­rian), equip­ment his­tory/Tests data (like vi­bra­tion, motor cur­rent sig­na­ture, pre­vi­ous test re­sults, off-line di­ag­nos­tic test etc.) be­fore no­ti­fy­ing cor­rec­tive and pre­ven­tive main­te­nance ac­tions to re­spec­tive units or sta­tion.

Data also helps to an­a­lyse po­ten­tial sav­ings that have ac­crued due to early warn­ing and proac­tive main­te­nance ac­tions. This is done by work­ing out a prag­matic sce­nario build­ing cri­te­ria, ex­am­ined through hy­po­thet­i­cal ques­tions such as what would have hap­pened if the mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem was ei­ther not iden­ti­fied or acted upon in var­i­ous stages of sever­ity? What would have been the costs in­curred and the prob­a­bil­ity of each of the sce­nar­ios? These are then tab­u­lated in order to re­duce prob­a­bil­i­ties to ra­tio­nally es­ti­mate the weighted sum of costs that has been potentially saved.

Ad­vance no­ti­fi­ca­tions from a di­ag­nos­tic cen­tre can pre­vent pos­si­ble trou­ble and trip-outs for plant and equip­ment much be­fore the ac­tual alarm is gen­er­ated in the site-con­trol room. Even a sin­gle plant trip thus averted, man­i­fests it­self in a huge po­ten­tial cost-sav­ing for the power com­pany. Fur­ther­more, the re­duced forced out­ages show favourable plant op­er­a­tional KPIs, thus enhancing its re­li­a­bil­ity by pro­vid­ing enough time to plan main­te­nance tasks that can avert im­pend­ing fail­ures.

Go­ing for­ward, recog­nis­ing the mul­ti­di­men­sional ben­e­fits of a healthy mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, power com­pa­nies must adopt the prac­tice to en­able bet­ter func­tion­ing and cost ef­fec­tive­ness of its plants and sta­tions.

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