As the utilities industry transitions from an industry defined by a lack of connectivity to one of distributed energy systems connected through networks and sensors, the importance of embracing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) becomes more apparent. Whether coming from legacy systems or newer technologies, critical data exists and has the potential to predict and prevent failure situations so maintenance teams don't have to.
Today, nearly every utilities' operation, whether it be a large-scale electrical plant or a wind turbine, contains sensors that notify cognizant personnel of problem conditions or of failures when they occur, in real-time. These sensors provide the necessary insight into what is happening, what did happen and what might need immediate attention. These sensors are major players in the creation of connected facilities, in which every piece of infrastructure benefits from the same level of monitoring precision and predictive capabilities.
On the other hand, analytical tools also can shed light on what equipment can operate past its lifespan. One North American utility company relied on APM to defer an outage on a major generating unit for two years past the standard maintenance window, saving millions of dollars. The unit performed well for the additional two years and data analytics helped the organization confirm outage deferral was a safe and effective strategy.