Integrated Control and Machinery Health Monitoring for Power Producers

The power industry is facing many challenges today with cycling demands from a growing renewable energy mix on the grid, employee retirements, and cost cutting. Despite these challenges, consumers expect a reliable supply of electricity.

Emerson's Jason King


At the July 29 – August 2, 2018 Ovation Users’ Group Conference in Pittsburgh, Emerson’s Jason King and an Ovation customer will present, Ovation Machinery Health Monitor Update & Case Presentation: Modernizing Peaker Controls.

Integrated machinery health monitoring can help keep the plant operating reliably by helping to avoid forced outages and runbacks, and limiting outage durations if they occur.

Plant staff is also being challenged to start up as quickly as possible, which means overstressing the equipment trying to shave a few minutes or seconds off the startup time. Forced outages are becoming more common every year.

Many experienced power plant personnel are retiring, which means their experience and knowledge is leaving with them. These retirements include people with advanced knowledge of vibration analysis. The people replacing these folks are smart but not always trained in vibration analysis, and are being asked to do more in the same amount of time, so they don’t have time for collection and analysis of data.

This means assets go unmonitored, except maybe for protection, but protection doesn’t give us any warning that problems are developing in the equipment – it just shuts the equipment down at the last minute, forcing us to react to damaged equipment, in a forced outage or derate situation, putting employees in danger and increasing maintenance costs.

Protection systems don’t offer condition monitoring technology built in without requiring separate software, which is often expensive, and usually has limited access. This means even the assets where these condition monitoring investments are made go mostly unmonitored, causing the same issues.

Ovation Machinery Health Monitor (MHM)Changes are typically not often made to protection logic, so many are unfamiliar with the logic set up process in rack-based systems. For these traditional protection systems, changes often require the help from suppliers.

Another effect of unmonitored assets, or assets with protection-only systems, is not knowing their true health. This means maintenance teams tend to either over-maintain them or under-maintain them during outages. Over-maintaining means spending money unnecessarily and can potentially induce failures into equipment. Under-maintaining means leaving issues on the table to be discovered during outages, or worse, after an outage, causing additional forced outage time.

Jason will discuss how these challenges are addressed in the Ovation control solution‘s integrated machinery protection and condition monitoring module. Traditional machinery protection system racks are replaced with Ovation Machinery Health Monitor (MHM) modules. Integration and associated wiring from separate systems is eliminated and the information is fully integrated with the rest of the control logic in the Ovation system.

If you’re an Ovation system user and not yet registered, register and come join us at this year’s Ovation Users’ Group conference taking place in Pittsburgh a few short weeks!

Posted Thursday, July 12th, 2018 under Power.