User group conferences are a tremendous source of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. What’s learned at these conferences can be invaluable as a shortcut to learning what works well, what to avoid, and who has similar interests with whom you can connect.
Combined Cycle Journal editor, Bob Schwieger, shared his experiences in an article, Users push tomorrow’s automation technology into today’s plants. He highlights some experiences shared at the Ovation Users Group meeting including virtualization, connectivity outside of the Ovation system, wireless applications, enhanced situational awareness, and embedded advanced control capabilities.
The article highlights a session where a presenter described a virtualization pilot program for a coal-fired plant. Virtualization is applicable to applicable not only to Windows-based workstations, but also:
…Ovation controllers, valve-position modules, and Ethernet link controllers used for simulation.
For the coal-fired plant, the use of virtualization resulted in:
…added several operator screens in the control room with minimum investment in added computer infrastructure…Easier to recover from upsets using software rather than rebuilding workstations. The plant is considering extending the virtualization to domain controllers, database servers, and historian, as well as adding virtual simulation.
A representative from one of the largest global powerplant owner/operators shared experiences in control room design ergonomics and operator graphic design in order to combat “data fog”. Adjacency analysis was used to:
…determine how the main elements of the control room should be positioned relative to each other; and a sight analysis, how things should be positioned relative to the operator’s eyes.
For the human machine interface (HMI), it was important:
…(1) to give information to the operator about the state of the equipment, not explain to them how a powerplant works, and (2) to develop their own standards and conventions for mimic displays, relative attention, and value/priority ranking, navigation, and linkage to Ovation graphics.
…for a typical boiler or HRSG 300 meters from a control room, wireless can reduce capital costs for instrumentation by 42%.
They cited another example where the use of wireless temperature transmitters measuring for turbine compartment hot air leaks, wireless pressure transmitters measuring cooling air leaks from forced-draft fans, and wireless DP transmitters detecting air filter plugging:
…a West Coast utility reportedly cut maintenance on the turbine compartment by 50%, improved turbine efficiency, lengthened cooling fan life, and reduced parasitic power consumption.
Bob notes that “Emerson has completed over 600 retrofits for gas-turbine control systems, and continues to acquire new references on legacy automation systems provided by OEMs.” He specifically mentions the development program for LM6000 retrofits and the alliances with “PSM/Alstom and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas to provide a complementary suite of support services.” Bob writes, “when you consider the presentations as a whole, perhaps the greatest revelation is that the promise of a fully integrated automation and plant knowledge management platform is now being realized.”
Check out the article to see the experiences shared the use of advanced control for prediction and optimization and integration between the Ovation system and other plant knowledge systems.