Located 25 miles north of Birmingham, England, Rugeley Power Station joined International Power's (IP) power generating portfolio in 2001. The coal-fired plant was originally commissioned in 1970 and today produces approximately 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough power output to meet the needs of approximately 500,000 homes. Ensuring optimal performance at an aging energy converter plant, however, has required a proactive operations approach. Key to minimizing the cost of production and maximizing efficiency was Rugeley's ability to capitalize on the data generated from various disparate but related operations functions.
IP recently reviewed forced outage incidents that had caused lost availability at the Rugeley plant. They discovered that some incidents had been caused by operational error or oversight resulting from a lack of, or proper utilization of, operational data. The resulting improvement initiatives identified new operational requirements to capture additional information—including a broader variety of data—and maximize utilization of this data to effect productivity and efficiency gains in core operational functions. The objectives of these initiatives were straightforward:
- Improve productivity and efficiency in the workflow requirements of the business
- Improve compliance with mandatory site inspections and checks
- Provide an audit trail
- Reduce operational errors which contribute to forced outage conditions
To meet these objectives, Rugeley evaluated leading industry trends in mobile data capture, storage and reporting technologies. It also sought an architecture that in the future could expand into other areas of the business as well as interface with other IT enterprise systems. Finally, the winning solution needed to provide a tracking and audit tool to ensure that appropriate checks and inspections were performed in line with management policy and requirements.
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The Ventyx eSOMS Suite, designed over a period of 20+ years, provided a consistent and integrated approach to those activities which affect equipment configuration, system status and hence, plant operation. eSOMS, a proven solution, is the Ventyx software designed for plant operations management. Ventyx installed and configured the eSOMS solution with specific modules that provided the tools needed to meet the specified requirements. Acknowledging the critical importance of routine equipment and facilities inspections to detecting and preventing costly maintenance problems, optimizing the plant inspection process was vital to operations improvement.
The Operator Rounds module automated the task of collecting, computing, storing and managing data generated from operator rounds. The module empowered operators and engineers-both at the desktop and in the field-with a powerful and easy-to-use tool for capturing and analyzing data quickly and efficiently. It additionally provided plant personnel with mobile access to key reference documents such as work specifications and process instructions, driving consistency in the application of work processes.
In Rugeley's case, several of the largest and most work intensive rounds were incorporated into the eSOMS Operator Rounds module, including the General Duty (GD) round, Units 6 & 7 Boiler rounds, Units 6 & 7 Turbine rounds, the Flue - gas desulfurization (FGD) round and the Assistant Unit Team Leader (AUTL) round.
An interface was also created between the Ventyx Operator Rounds module and Rugeley's own electronic journal application, Operations Shift Log (OSL). Ventyx configured the module so that any data captured in the eSOMS Operator Rounds module would automatically be passed through to Rugeley's OSL application.
Rounding out conformance to Rugeley's operational and compliance requirements, Ventyx installed and configured the eSOMS data historian interface. This interface pushes critical data (hydrogen, nitrogen and diesel levels, for example) from eSOMS to Rugeley's data historian, OSISoft PI, which is used to monitor and maintain operational data such as that collected by the Operator Rounds module.
In concert with the IT Group at Rugeley, the Ventyx Professional Services Organization (PSO) played a key role in the deployment and launch of the solution. To ensure the Ventyx solution met Rugeley's defined requirements, PSO personnel spent six weeks on site configuring the existing Rugeley procedures to be performed within eSOMS.
To facilitate training of the operators on the use of the mobile devices, PSO personnel escorted each operator during their rounds. This on-site hands-on training helped further refine the configuration of the system. During implementation, bar-coded labels were created and placed throughout the plant to ensure that data was taken at the right location. Finally, PSO conducted "Train the Trainer" sessions to accelerate knowledge transfer and ensure that Rugeley personnel could manage the system from the beginning, including administrating several handhelds devices purchased to capture data throughout the facility.
Broad Scope of Adoption
In addition to International Power personnel, Rugeley also recently deployed eSOMS on six Motorola MC9590 handhelds for use by NOREC, one of their contractors that handle coal and ash for the site. Rugeley also conducts safety inspections for their plant to make sure they are clean, safe and have no fire hazards.
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