Accelerate your asset performance management program

July 14, 2022
In this Big Picture Interview, the stage is set for plant teams to more efficiently crowdsource asset management tools and strategy.

Tracy Swartzendruber is VP of Marketing for Power Generation and Oil & Gas at GE Digital, connecting industry with software that solves some of industry’s toughest problems. In her own words, “a better run plant is a more efficient plant, which is actually a more sustainable plant.” At the ARC Industry Forum in June, she presented an update on several GE Digital initiatives including the use of “Accelerators” to help plants scale APM across the enterprise.

PS: One of the things you launched at the June event were GE Digital’s Accelerators, can you introduce them to our readers?

TS: Accelerators are really, if you think about it, they are downloadable content that collapses your time to value with our applications. They might be analytics, it could be a dashboard, can be an asset strategy, that have deep domain expertise because not only as the software developer, but as in many cases, the implementer, within industry. We know the best practices and we have seen time and again, dozens if not hundreds of times, customers needing the same type of configuration. So some smart people within the organization said, “Hey, we keep seeing the same requests. Why don’t we package these? Why don’t we productize these services that we are doing?”

That’s really what an Accelerator is. It’s a way to get faster time to value, so that instead of making 27 different decisions and the work behind setting up an asset strategy, we can give you those prepackaged strategies. Instead of just deploying APM against the most critical assets in your facility or enterprise, you can go ahead and deploy it against all the tier-two and tier-three assets that you always say, “We’ll get to it.” And we all know what happens there, right? You never do get to it. This is a way of really ramping up and bang, you get to now apply it to hundreds of other assets.

The easy way of explaining it to those who still don’t quite understand this, is that APM is like Minecraft. I have a 13-year-old son who, who still plays Minecraft. I know a lot of adults do too. And for those who aren’t familiar with it, Minecraft is a “sandbox” video game. It’s creative, and people create in it. You can be given a world, but you can go into creator mode where you create your world.

Big Picture Interview

This article is part of our monthly Big Picture Interview column. Read more interviews from our monthly Big Picture series.

I like to think of Accelerators as just that: you can go into Minecraft and have a sort of blank canvas, if you will, but there are now all kinds of downloadable content packages from the owners of Minecraft, which I think these days is Microsoft, as well as other creators out there so that you don’t have to spend hours of work building a texture for something – you can just go ahead and download that.

PS: Let me switch over to another announcement that you made at the ARC event, which was that GE Digital has achieved Amazon Web Services or AWS Energy Competency status.

TS: We submitted for it with the basis of our APM solution in the cloud of course, and it was thoroughly vetted and put under a microscope. We believe that APM is this foundational bedrock of energy transition. If you do not have solid foundation in your current operational excellence, right, whether you’re in oil and gas or whether you’re a power generator, for example, you’re not going to be able to take those next steps; you have to have those initial items in order.

And even for a power generator, being able to produce reliable, affordable, and sustainable power has everything to do with reliability. Traditional power plants were designed to run at base load continuously with maybe a ramp-up / ramp-down once or twice a day. That is not the case anymore. As we bring more and more renewables online, those plants are having to more rapidly react, and turn-up / turn-down all over the place. There’s even this notion of the duck curve, where you can really see as the renewables come on and it takes a dip, and then it takes a huge spike up, reliability is everything because they need to know that they can generate when needed and quickly. That’s really the basis for the AWS competency status, and why our APM solution is that foundational piece for us.

Personally, I think sustainability, net-zero, energy transition, however you want to frame it, is the most pressing issue of our generation, and more importantly, of future generations. I think that’s what’s going to keep it at the forefront for the foreseeable future until we do hit that goal, and I think the pressure is on. 

This story originally appeared in the July 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

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