Turn Real-Time IoT Data Into Smarter Operations
Renewable energy companies have experienced strong growth, but face pressure to improve profitability and output levels as the industry scales globally. Companies seek better ways to manage much larger capacities, with many more physical assets, located in widely distributed and remote areas. Efficiency gain is key to the growth of the market. Comparison of costs for renewable sources against other options, have shown that the cost per Kilowatt hour of power has decreased significantly over the last 5 years. This is partly related to new technologies, but also due to efficiencies and process optimisation in the management and maintenance of renewable assets.
There is a growing need to be able to monitor and maintain high performance over time and decrease the cost per kilowatt hour. This is just as applicable to grid resources as utility scale deployments, where on cost to clients is part of the commercial model.
An increasing number of renewable energy assets are now equipped with sensors that can continually assess output efficiency, machinery state, and key health indicators such as temperature and vibration. This growth in real time data has offered an opportunity to provide new and insightful information during day to day operations.
Extracting data from these sensors and operational systems, allows you to, act on failure more quickly, see trends, and even predict outcomes and maintenance requirements based on historical or industry models. Process automation and improved maintenance management help to increase productivity and minimise downtime.
By immediately analysing real-time sensor data from renewable energy assets you are able to quickly identify actionable insights with significant business benefits.
XMPro’s Agile IoT application suite allows you to “Sense, Decide and Act” on real-time, high volume data streams.
Use Cases for IoT in Renewable Energy
There are of course many ways in which the performance of renewable assets can be improved. Historically this was driven by advances in hardware and support systems. These systems, however, are relatively universal across the industry, and it is actually in the smallest percentage increase in performance at the operational level where organisations can gain an edge and ROI over the competition.
Management of performance through monitoring output levels and efficiency of components has historically been addressed through operational systems that are typically deployed universally with the hardware. These can provide data feeds and analytical insight into the current performance and hardware configuration. What these systems do not typically deliver, is a more powerful and holistic solution that allows for monitoring, visualisation and comparison to historical or predictive models, and then the call to action for intervention or update of configuration in a single platform.
The XMPro Agile IOT Suite can offer organisations a single platform that can be layered over their existing operational systems in order to provide a single Sense – Decide- Act solution that is customised to your business. A solution that can allow for real, or semi-real-time update of configuration based on analysis of data, or the triggering of people based processes to ensure that your renewable assets are always working at the efficiency level required for your business model.
An example Use Case in the solar industry could be alerts generated by the monitoring of PV inverter efficiency over time. Real-time analysis could indicate a reduction in output compared to historical or predictive models. Why is this? Data and contextual aggregation of information in XMPro, could indicate that the weather is good in the area based on external feeds. The maintenance schedule links in the system show that the panels were cleaned recently and hence we need to either adjust configuration directly, or perhaps trigger a maintenance process. All this can be done through XMPro in a single platform.
XMPro can identify any irregularities in operational performance for renewable energy assets, which allows you to predict potential failures before they happen. XMPro matches real-time data against historical data to determine which parts need adjustments or replacements, significantly reducing downtime.
Typical maintenance cycles rely on either a scheduled operating life approach, or a criticality approach whereby the maintenance occurs after failure. These methods can lead to either unnecessary asset downtime and service/component costs, or unpredictable downtime where failures have to be rectified.
The XMPro IOT Suite offers an alternative approach, through the way in which it can provide easy access to powerful analytical and machine learning capabilities, in systems such as Microsoft Azure, SAP HANA and more. These systems offer the capability to develop, or deploy, predictive algorithms based on industry or historical data. These models can be trained to provide a comparison between the current operational data and the predicted outcomes and generate alerts based on the true likelihood of failure at any moment in time. In this
In this way the system can assist in moving towards a predictive maintenance cycle at sub-criticality time frames. The ability of XMPro to provide the real-time data in conjunction with the predictive models ensures that there is no need for separate and costly deployment of predictive systems and the development of standalone technology stacks. The powerful Business Process management component then ensures a smooth and well-managed process for deploying the most efficient maintenance cycles. Connecting hardware, process and people in a single cost-effective platform.
Reduce time to action and increase auditability of maintenance processes
Time is money, and ensuring that your renewable assets are working at maximum efficiency requires a timely and effective response to alerts and issues that may arise. Typical maintenance activities require both an effective and immediate call to action, but also a streamlined, and well-managed business process, for deployment of maintenance teams and auditability of the required activities.
The XMPro Agile IOT platform incorporates a comprehensive business process management solution, which allows organisations to develop their own custom application to manage maintenance processes, as a result of operator decisions or predictive analysis alerts. Organisations are able develop their own business applications within the platform that incorporate interactive forms and activities that can be passed between individuals and teams as required. Workflow alerts, activities and mobile deployment mean that your engineering teams can be notified of issues as they occur and then act in a defined or flexible fashion, logging updates regarding on-site activity that will constitute a high-quality response.
The social collaboration functionality within the system allows for engineers to call upon other teams or individuals for advice or confirmation at any time, in a fully auditable fashion. Data accrued from such activities can then be re-incorporated into the underlying XMPro data set and form part of future analysis, maintenance logs, and contextual understanding around asset performance and history.
How does XMPro differ from my asset monitoring systems?
There are many asset monitoring systems available claiming they do the same things which can make it quite confusing and hard to understand what does what and where the differences lie. Many of these are operational technologies (OT) that have varying capabilities including being able to connect to sensors and collect data which is then stored in a historian database.
The OT software then allows you to query this information via the creation of reports and dashboards. This then requires someone to manually analyse these reports and take actions based on what they see. XMPro is different in that as well as being able to digest data and provide visualization in a similar way to OT systems it offers a number of additional benefits in a single platform.
The system allows easy access to powerful predictive analytics and machine learning tools allowing you to lever your industry knowledge and capabilities into models that can increase your ROI. It also provides a comprehensive business process management component that can assist in automating and streamlining your human-based processes such as engineering and maintenance activity. This custom application capability is beyond that normally found in OT systems. A platform such as XMPro allows you to scale in your IoT maturity over time without having to implement costly application stacks.
XMPro does not have to a standalone application and could work in conjunction with your existing operational technology, extracting data from historian databases and other systems where needed.
The key differences between OT technologies and XMPro include:
Unlike most OT systems, XMPro is heterogeneous in that it is not aligned with any make or model of sensor or asset so it can canvass many different sites or installations even if the type or make of asset may vary.
XMPro also offers extensive and flexible API integration capability to connect with other systems, databases or external feeds that may be required in order to embellish or complement the data set.
Along with the ability to deploy visualisations, graphs and analytics within XMPro you can also integrate and leverage machine learning and predictive models from powerful applications such as MS Azure, SAP HANA and AWS.
These tools are usually regarded as having a high barrier of entry in terms of complexity and knowledge can be easily accessed within the XMPro platform by an engineer or business user.
Managing the “action” via advanced business process management
Within XMPro you can build and deploy best-in-class integrated forms, workflows and process applications on mobile and desktop as IoT event data is only useful if it can be acted on through machines, agents, applications or people.
Typically, OT systems provide effective data visualisation and analytics, however, do not provide the ability to take alerts and events on through a system-based process to elsewhere within the organisation.
Rapid time to market for innovative IoT applications
Lengthy, complex IT projects to address the need to make sense of data often come up short and have a questionable ROI. XMPro enables application development in weeks.
Provides an intuitive run-time environment
The XMPro action console provides a simple to use, intuitive and rich run time environment for operations managers.
Within a single environment all aspects of the solution can be accessed including analytics, customised workflow applications and predictive models. The system is inherently mobile and can be deployed easily to individuals in the field across a variety of mobile platforms.
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