Remote condition monitoring minimises plant power outages

Manufacturers and commercial organisations rely on the availability of their electrical distribution systems to keep operating. Failures are infrequent and difficult to foresee, but when they do happen, the fiscal impact is significant. Schneider Electric is offering business continuity with a Cloud-based 24/7 remote condition monitoring service based on EcoStruxure Asset Advisor.

Rising labour demands and unplanned downtime present significant facility maintenance challenges for owners of large businesses. As plants become more interconnected, downtime costs are likely to increase. The growing demand for maintenance personnel to attend sites also drives up costs.

Moreover, issues like deferred maintenance to reduce operational costs, also cause the plant or facility to run less well. Industry statistics suggest that running equipment to the point of failure could cost up to ten times as much as pre-emptive maintenance. Yet, deploying condition-based maintenance programs supported by analytics addresses these challenges at a lower cost.

Cloud-based EcoStruxure Asset Advisor for secure power and cooling provides remote monitoring service for critical equipment. A 24/7 remote condition monitoring service provides service teams with real-time device data to help investigate and resolve potential issues.

As a result, many manufacturers are re-evaluating their current plant critical infrastructure maintenance plans. One area under close scrutiny is the plant electrical distribution system. Digitisation technology enables critical electrical assets to join in remote, ongoing health checks. They help to forestall problems before suffering from unplanned downtime.

In the case of industrial electrical systems, devices such as low and medium voltage circuit breakers and relays, low and medium voltage panels, medium voltage switchgear cubicles, transformers, Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), drives, and electric motors are subject to wear. By observing changes in the temperature and humidity profiles, vibration etc. of such devices, a condition-based maintenance approach, supported by analytics, can enable facility staff to detect early signs of wear and ageing. This allows maintenance teams to react before any unforeseen system failures occur.

According to a U.S. survey, predictive approaches have proven to be cost-effective, saving between 8% and 12% over regular scheduled preventive maintenance, and up to 40% over reactive run-to-failure maintenance approaches.

Remote condition monitoring

The ability to remotely condition monitor electrical infrastructure devices present several advantages and avoid unexpected downtime. For example, it tracks both short-term (increased temperature or humidity) and long-term (computation of wear and ageing) behavioural anomalies. In response to critical alarms, experts make a remote diagnosis using advanced analytical tools.

Furthermore, they also apply the performance data collected from the power distribution systems to identify issues impacting uptime. This enables plant staff to extend traditional plant shutdown maintenance cycles from every three years to five years on average. This reduces costs and improves safety through fewer business process disruptions.

Learn more about condition-based maintenance and how Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Service Plan Electrical Asset Management can help your organisation reduce maintenance costs while improving safety and sustainability.

See also the Schneider Electric white paper Strategies for Maintaining Electrical Distribution Equipment.