Published on 24 Sep 2013
"Because Informix TimeSeries stores data far more efficiently than traditional relational databases, we can access almost two-and-a-half times the active data than we could before—from three years of active data to seven years—and improve the data resolution nearly 900 times—from up to 15 minutes to one second." - —Mr. Bong Choon Fatt, Chief Executive Officer, Chronos Process Integration Sdn Bhd
Energy & Utilities
Big Data, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Operations/Fraud, Smarter Planet
IBM Business Partner:
Chronos Process Integration Sdn Bhd
For Ranhill Powertron, the largest primary independent power producer in Sabah, Malaysia, maintaining high availability of its production equipment is critical to meeting regional energy needs. But to do so, the organization must capture, store and analyze massive amounts of operational data from equipment sensors. By implementing an advanced plant operation and management system capable of rapidly processing time-series data, Ranhill Powertron staff can easily observe subtle operational changes in its equipment before a failure occurs and address maintenance issues proactively.
Malaysian power producer Ranhill Powertron sought to reduce unplanned plant outages. To do so, the company had to capture, store and analyze massive amounts of operational data from equipment sensors
Using Chronos software with IBM Informix TimeSeries database software, the company can monitor the health of plant equipment in near-real time so staff can respond to problems before failures occur.
Using advanced plant operation and management system capable of rapidly processing time-series data, Ranhill has consistently exceeded availability targets and reduced maintenance costs; Can access almost two-and-a-half times the active data than we could before—from three years of active data to seven years—and improve the data resolution nearly 900 times—from up to 15 minutes to one second
Analyzing equipment operations in near-real time to increase plant availability and production.
For power producers like Ranhill Powertron, the largest primary independent power producer in Sabah, Malaysia, maintaining high availability of its production equipment is critical to meeting regional energy needs. But to do so, the organization must capture, store and analyze massive amounts of operational data from equipment sensors. By implementing an advanced plant operation and management system capable of rapidly processing time-series data, Ranhill Powertron staff can easily observe subtle operational changes in its equipment before a failure occurs and address maintenance issues proactively.
|Smarter Energy:||Increasing uptime with near-real time monitoring|
|Instrumented||Captures and tracks the status of facility equipment in near-real time.|
|Interconnected||Consolidates operational, performance and maintenance data into a single system for use by management, operation and maintenance staff.|
|Intelligent||Enables staff to monitor the health of plant equipment in near-real time and perform preventive maintenance to avoid equipment failures that can impact energy production.|
Several years ago, Ranhill Powertron, the largest primary independent power producer in Sabah, Malaysia, updated its facility from an open cycle plant to a combined cycle facility. It was a strategic move for the company. Since its founding in 1995, Ranhill Powertron has grown to provide more than 22 percent of energy to the state’s three million residents.
Open cycle plants depend on a single energy source, such as gas turbines, for power generation. Combined cycle plants use several energy sources, such as gas and steam, in the production of electricity and are typically 45 percent more efficient, enabling Ranhill Powertron to produce energy at a lower cost for the region. However, while more efficient, combined cycle facilities are also harder to manage given the volume of data that must be captured and analyzed.
“Our main goal is to ensure that the power plant can dispatch power whenever required,” says Mr. Ahmad Jaafar, senior general manager, Ranhill Powertron. “In a combined cycle operation, we have a lot more equipment—boilers or HRSGs [Heat Recovery Steam Generators], ACCs [Air Cooled Condensers], steam turbines, water treatment plants, etc. We also have many more operational procedures that we need to track. We capture more than 5,000 readings per second from equipment sensors and our previous facility management system couldn’t analyze this data effectively.”
Preventing plant outages
The ability to observe subtle operational changes over time, such as an increase in equipment temperature, pressure, flow or vibration, can help staff identify emerging problems and proactively take action before operations are affected.
In 2012, after speaking with executives at Chronos Process Integration (Chronos) and another utility in Malaysia, Mr. Ahmad Jaafar found that the Chronos Plant Operation & Management System (POMS) with IBM® Informix® TimeSeries database software could provide his staff with the intelligence needed to predict and prevent equipment failures.
“We spoke with colleagues at another facility and were impressed with their POMS performance and ability to analyze data from their distributed control systems,” says Mr. Ahmad Jaafar. “We chose the Chronos Plant Operation & Management System embedded with IBM Informix TimeSeries because of its excellent performance, local support and technology leadership.”
The Chronos solution integrates operational alarms and sensor data, such as temperature, pressure and flow rate, from the company’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system with inspection data captured by maintenance staff via personal digital assistants (PDAs). Powerful charting, monitoring and reporting tools enable Ranhill Powertron staff to proactively identify trends, such as deteriorating equipment, in near-real time and proactively procure the necessary material, spare parts, and manpower—without having to incur rush or overtime changes and without unplanned disruptions.
“Every unplanned failure or breakdown involves extra shipping costs and work, and every shutdown means no revenue,” says Mr. Ahmad Jaafar. “With Chronos and IBM, we can predict a machine’s or equipment’s operating condition more accurately, which helps us plan preventive and corrective measures to maintain high availability, shorten outage duration and reduce our costs.”
Improved forecasting also enables the organization to reduce the impact of planned outages.
“Before, besides the recommended scheduled maintenance by the OEM [original equipment manufacturer], it was difficult to know the best time to stop the plant to carry out a preventive maintenance due to the deterioration of equipment performance,” Mr. Ahmad Jaafar adds. “Now with clearer analytical information in place, we can schedule our work and coordinate with our customers to avoid any impact on their operations and the community.”
Tackling big data with Informix TimeSeries
One of the challenges companies face when working with sensor data is the volume of data that they must store and query. Consider that machine sensors often capture thousands of “pulse” signals every second. Managing this data in traditional relational database systems can require huge amounts of storage space—which can quickly become very costly.
At the same time, querying this immense data can often slow database performance, making it difficult for staff to gain the answers they need in time to make a difference. Up-to-the-second insight regarding equipment operations is vital in helping staff to immediately detect when a problem emerges so that steps can be taken early to fix it. Small issues that go undetected can eventually lead to a failure that can halt power generation and impact the company’s revenue. Because of this challenge, Chronos embeds IBM Informix TimeSeries software within its Plant Operation & Management System.
According to Mr. Boon Choon Fatt, chief executive officer of Chronos, Informix TimeSeries enables the efficient storage and retrieval of time-series data so companies can perform the near-real-time queries that are required. Additionally, Informix TimeSeries requires significantly less storage space than traditional relational databases, helping users reduce technology costs.
“We previously used other SQL RDBMS [relational database management systems] for our database software, but once we were introduced to Informix TimeSeries, we could handle larger volumes of high definition data without any difficulty, which is critical for supporting big data,” says Mr. Bong Choon Fatt. “Because Informix TimeSeries stores data far more efficiently than traditional relational databases, we can access almost two-and-a-half times the active data than we could before—from three years of active data to seven years—and improve the data resolution nearly 900 times—from up to 15 minutes to one second.”
For Ranhill Powertron, these are important capabilities.
“As part of our selection, we saw how Chronos POMS with Informix TimeSeries would enable us to capture, store, and retrieve large volumes of data for analysis in a very fast and efficient manner,” says Mr. Ahmad Jaafar. “Additionally, the database storage capacity is relatively small compared with other database systems, which provides us with significant savings.”
Beating availability targets
In calculating the price of electricity, utilities use several formulas, and production availability is a key variable. As a result, as plant availability increases, so does the organization’s revenue.
According to Mr. Ahmad Jaafar, the company must maintain high availability to meet its revenue targets—a goal that was challenging to meet with its previous management system.
“The fewer shutdowns or failures we have, the higher our availability, which helps to increase our income,” says Mr. Ahmad Jaafar. “Since we’ve deployed the Chronos system with Informix TimeSeries, we consistently exceed our availability targets.”
It’s an improvement that is very visible to Mr. Ahmad Jaafar.
“When there’s a breakdown, we cannot generate power or produce revenue, and everyone is in trouble,” he says. “This approach has helped me do the proper planning and preventive maintenance so we can avoid problems. My advice to others is: If you want to minimize shutdowns, this solution can help.”
● Exceeded availability targets
● Reduced maintenance costs through improved planning
● Increased ratio of preventive-to-corrective maintenance
● Chronos Plant Operation & Management System with IBM® Informix® TimeSeries
IBM Business Partner
● Chronos Process Integration Sdn Bhd
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For more information about Chronos, visit: www.chronos.com.my
For more information about Ranhill Powertron, visit: www.ranhill.com.my
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM CorporationSoftware GroupRoute 100Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of AmericaSeptember 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Informix are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Chronos Plant Operation & Management System is not an IBM product or offering. Chronos Plant Operation & Management System is sold or licensed, as the case may be, to users under Chronos Process Integration’s terms and conditions, which are provided with the product or offering. Availability, and any and all warranties, services and support for Chronos Plant Operation & Management System is the direct responsibility of, and is provided directly to users by, Chronos Process Integration. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation. IMC14830-USEN-00