27 September 2016 year Proactive play
Internet of Things technologies (Internet of Things, IoT) and Industrial Internet (Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT) become the basis of a new industrial revolution. In order not to miss these tectonic changes and benefit from them, one must act quickly. This fully pertains to the electric power industry.

Analysts (Gartner, IBM, Cisco) believe that in 2020-2025 there will be from 20 to 50 bln "connected devices" in the world, the economic impact of the IoT industry development according to McKinsey data will amount to $6.2 ton by 2025. However many people still perceive the events as a set of fashionable, expensive and not particularly necessary gadgets. Hence, they are likely to get stuck in the past. 

The world has changed

No doubt, «smart" refrigerators, cars and even homes could unlikely revolutionize the industry on their own. But the rapid development of "cloud technologies", storage systems and "big data" (Big Data) processing, computation power growth, number of sensors and intelligent digital platforms give all the grounds to speak about a real transition to the economy, the basis of which will come to devices, combined in the software-controlled clusters (machine tools and industrial equipment, vehicles, engineering systems). This will radically change the production principles and multiply increase in its efficiency.

Due to the particular requirements for reliability and safety, the power facilities today, of course, are the leaders by the level of equipment with modern APCS, SCADA, DCS systems and others. Almost all the main equipment of major power plants is furnished with regular monitoring and diagnostic systems.

It would seem that the operating systems could almost completely ensure the safety and efficiency of power facilities. Unfortunately, it is not the case.

Incidents and accidents statistics shows that the built-in APCS monitoring and diagnostic systems have not ensured the equipment safety yet. In Russia, the number of incidents at the generation facilities remains stable around 4.5 thousand incidents per year, half of them is accounted for the main turbine and boiler equipment. APCS currently employed by their nature cannot analyze the changes of the technical condition of facilities, they only capture a set of events and accumulate relevant data. Their "reaction" to events is often described by four words: "too late" and "very expensive."

The accident at Surgutskaya GRES-2 in early 2015 resulted in the repair expenses of the affected unit in the amount of more than 1 bln rubles, and the total amount of insurance payments amounted to only about 600 mln. Failure of new CCGT at Nevinnomysskaya GRES at the beginning of 2016 reduce by 4% the company's half-year electricity and power sales revenue. Fire at the power unit at Berezovskaya GRES resulted in the unscheduled repair works, which will take at least 20 months and cost at least 15 bln rubles. According to analysts, in case of such new power unit down time the company may not receive up to 40 mln rubles a day, or 1.2 bln rubles a month. As they say, there is nothing to add.

How to monitor changes in the technical equipment condition in order to predict and prevent accidents in advance? Is it possible to help the monitoring system "get smarter"?

The Russian response

Russian system "PRANA", developed by "ROTEC" company experts addresses this problem. Its main difference from the already operating monitoring systems lies in the fact that it is not only detected deviations of parameters from the norm, but automatically determines and predicts the changes development in the technical equipment condition.

In fact, national experts have created the operating predictive analytics system. "PRANA" is based on the evaluation method of multidimensional conditions, which help analyze the operation of specific equipment under specific conditions by models developed on the basis of similarity.

How it works?

Technically, the system is "low maintenance", it receives information from the standard APCS, i.e., there is no need to change the equipment configuration. However, the received information "PRANA" uses in its own way.

With the help of unique mathematical algorithms, the system determines the benchmarks of plant units and parts operation, relationships between them and how their changes affect the equipment reliability. In analyzing about 300 such parameters, "PRANA" is able to build a trend of the technical condition changes and predict the future incident, that is, prevent an accident. It is important that this process remains uninfluenced by the human factor - decisions depends on the persistent machine logic and mathematical precision of algorithms.

What are the advantages?

Generating company receives the warning of possible incident on average two-three months before it occurs. In this case, it is possible to localize the defect precisely, supply spare parts, stop and repair equipment in the most appropriate period of time. Therefore, it is not just about the reliability and safety; - any unpredictable shutdown of generation equipment results in tremendous losses and penalties. Ideally, the system allows for the maintenance of any kind of main equipment "on condition".

"PRANA" addresses another problem, which is not common to say loud. The fact is that foreign companies - equipment manufacturers receive all the information about its work in a closed mode and store it on the servers located abroad. The results obtained from an analysis of these data are practically unavailable for turbine operators, although are essential for them to ensure efficient equipment operation. "PRANA" availability for the customer is much higher: provided remote access via a web browser to mnemonic diagrams of forecast and process monitoring, high-speed click and drop process parameters trends analyzing tool, detailed analytical reports and specific recommendations for the online equipment control. High availability, control and own information protection for infrastructure facilities becomes a critical factor today.

Four gas-turbine power units of GTE-160 type (Siemens V94.2) with a capacity of 160 MW each are already connected to "PRANA". The system has been operating for over a year and shown good results: identified and prevented 46 deviations in the equipment operation; six non-compliance with the requirements of operating instructions; one accident at the power unit is prevented. Thus, it has still modest, but already quite "digitized" references.

In many respects, the Russian system has all the features of the so-called Kalashnikov effect - a relatively low cost, reliability and ease of adaptation. Compatibility with the standard APCS make it impossible to significantly expand the list of compatible equipment even today: steam turbines, turbo-generators, boiler equipment, hydraulic units, gas pumping units and, in principle, any rotary equipment. But they are still perspectives, although quite real.

What to do now?

Usually, big industrial and infrastructure companies are traditionally conservative in the introduction of new technologies. They are characterized by their own approach to the efficiency and risks assessment. It is for this reason almost in all countries the creation and primary breakthrough technologies of the market development have always depended on the degree of a state participation. In this regard, a new industrial revolution is not an exception.

Thus, the European Union develops the IoT systems based on the special program, including 14 directions. According to the Chinese government program, it was planned to implement 149 projects already in 2015. Developments in UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea and other countries are in progress as well.

Our government seriously takes care of the development of this sector. The Ministry of Industry and Trade believes that by 2020, 320 million devices must be connected to IoT in Russia (now it is 16 mln). The appropriate road map draft for the development of this field has been already developed. Such development institutions as FRII and FRP have already included in their budgets funding for the developments of IoT and IIoT fields.

Developments support, for sure, is a good thing, but it is very important to take into account that not only and not so much the financial support for the technologies development is important for the State. In fact, this is about the participation in the new technologies and systems market development. The State, in addition to the regulatory activities, can motivate market participants to direct implementation of these systems. And first of all those on whom the infrastructure operation depends, and hence health and safety assurance. The accident at an electric power plant and gas-pumping unit can result in not only problems and financial losses of the owner, but also significant losses for enterprises and citizens, depending on the operation of these facilities.

The State has enough tools for this market development: from the development of public infrastructure companies to reasonable modification of regulatory mechanisms in relation to the energy security system improvement. The main thing is not to traditionally leave it to chance.


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