3 May 2019

How APM as a Service accelerates the benefits of a digital transformation

APM is a phrase much bandied about within the power generation sector. What it is really about is reliability. That seemingly simple word can have slightly different connotations within sectors, but in essence it means that a piece of equipment needs to be trusted to be able to perform its expected function. How to achieve this asset optimization has been core to the drive to improve operational efficiency. At its heart is the maintenance regime and that has been undergoing some interesting changes amidst the digital transformation that the sector is undergoing.

Climbing the maintenance ladder

For a power plant, the scenario was traditionally routine planned maintenance at intervals stipulated by the equipment manufacturer. At worst, it was reactive, a fire-fighting operation when a piece of equipment failed, while at best it was preventative maintenance scheduled by time operated or some other performance trigger. But as our pool of available information, or data, grew through the use of sensors and we were able to access that information through improved connectivity, plant operators were able to utilize both the information provided by the control systems along with feedback from individual assets.

That changed the landscape of maintenance. Armed with better information regarding the actual state of equipment they were able to schedule maintenance operations in a more efficient manner, moving from a preventative maintenance schedule to condition-based maintenance. Instead of maintaining equipment based on a predefined schedule, this type of maintenance looks at an asset’s actual condition to determine the need for maintenance.

Moving on even further: when actual data is available, it is possible to apply advanced analytics to identify the risks to an asset’s reliability where it could impact the business. Then in the next step, machine learning and analytics can deliver a better understanding of the asset’s performance that can feed into a continuous loop of predictive operations.

The ‘Holy Grail’ for maintenance is to move on to a prescriptive maintenance strategy. Here, much like predictive maintenance, advanced analytics is used to direct maintenance operations, but in this instance, it can act on the information and not just advise. Not just can it tell that a pump is struggling because of flow readings but it can assign a technician to address this and order any parts required. For this to succeed requires all the asset condition and real-time data to be consolidated.

Driven by an integrated model

The move up the ladder towards this future for maintenance requires a fully integrated asset management system. While power plants collect information from their control system, many assets are monitored independently, often on legacy or proprietary systems. Bringing these together to create one version of the truth for power plant assets is what is behind Omnivise Availability. Our collaboration with Bentley Systems for AssetWise Reliability provides Asset Reliability Management to strategize maintenance activities according criticality. Our knowledge gained from operating and maintaining over 40 power plants worldwide is captured into asset models. Using IoT, data can be incorporated into the system to deliver an integrated backbone for identified upcoming malfunctions. These indicators trigger work order requests through AssetWise Reliability request at the Maintenance Management system power plants. Inspections, lockout and tagout can be managed proactively – often before the asset impacts the production.

APM is not only utilized by managers seeking to optimize maintenance strategy but also by power plant asset managers and dispatchers who all want a complete picture of the health of the power plants itself as well as its systems and components. Omnivise Availability uses
standardized visualization templates that are prearranged to conform to the power plants designated asset hierarchy.

More than just a software package

At Siemens Gas and Power, we provide operations and maintenance assessments for power plants that cover reliability management that conforms to ISO 55000. By applying a maturity index, an APM strategy can be tailored to individual needs that will help to increase uptime and efficiency while reducing spares and operating expenses.

Introducing an APM strategy to a plant can often be a daunting project. That is where we can help. To date we have delivered hundreds of IT projects for both individual power plants and fleets that enables the advantages of Omnivise Availability to be enjoyed. However, it is not all about the technology itself: bringing APM to a power plant will change the working practices, many of which will be ingrained into workers’ daily routines. Even apparently simple changes in moving to a tablet based rather than a paper-based recording system require careful change management.

Managing that transition is crucial to the success of the project and our Management Consultants have a rich track record on change management within Siemens but also outside. Talking of workers, ensuring that they are able to make full use of the system’s myriad of benefits requires upgrading their skill sets. Within the Siemens Power Academy there are training courses that coach how to get the best out of Omnivise Availability.

At the core of APM are the asset models and these need to be regularly updated. Within Omnivise Availability these asset models grow with the number of plants feeding into the process. Information on performance and failures is all analyzed to improve the understanding and these enhanced asset models are made available regularly within the system.

APM as a Service…the future is now

Software as a service is a growing trend amongst organizations that do not want the hassle of managing and owning the product. The emergence of secure cloud infrastructure has hastened this trend, so it is no real surprise that Siemens offers Omnivise Availability as a service. In this scenario, the operators will simply pay for the value of analytics and reliability management instead of infrastructure.

The true value in Omnivise Availability is the ongoing process of capturing domain expertise from the plans we monitor and operate. Not just the raw data, the facts and figures, but how that applied knowledge affects the performance of the plant as well as the crucial business indicators.

APM as a Service will enable the ongoing digitization of power plants and provide intelligent analytics with innovative offerings and managed service solutions for a wide range from individual systems to complete fleets of power plants. While I have described our broad vision for APM, it will be interesting to see how APM as a Service meets your requirements in power generation.

BTW, Siemens will be attending the Reliability Conference in Seattle, Washington on May 6-10 2019 – so if you are interested to discuss APM as a Service with one of our experienced experts, drop by our joint Siemens/Bentley booth no. 34!

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