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W. Jarrett Campbell, AVEVA
Water utilities and water network operators have a very simple mission: deliver safe and reliable water services to their customers. However, several trends, such as rapid urbanisation, increasing regulatory restrictions and sustainability goals, water source stress, a generational change in the workforce, increased security concerns, and diminishing available capital for improvements are putting significant stress on ageing water and wastewater infrastructure and its operators to fulfil this mission in cost-effective ways.
Luckily, technology triggers like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), big data analytics, mobility and workforce collaboration represent new opportunities for significant reliability, efficiency and safety improvements for water and wastewater utilities, enabling them to extend the useful life of their infrastructure investments.
Water and wastewater utilities are seeking an operations-centric view where proactive and predictive maintenance opportunities empower front-line personnel to act before costly failures occur.
To remain cost-effective in the face of these market trends, water and wastewater utilities are seeking an operations-centric view where proactive and predictive maintenance opportunities empower front-line personnel to act before costly failures occur. With Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions, personnel can exceed safety, reliability and performance goals through data collection and analysis, coupled with actions and optimisation for proactive and optimised maintenance execution.
As a result, water plant and network personnel are empowered to act before equipment failure occurs, maintenance and operations costs are reduced, and the overall maintenance and operations strategy supports key continuous improvement objectives.
Asset performance solutions utilities can implement today
- Condition-based maintenance is one of the most straightforward and effective asset performance applications a water utility can undertake. It is often the first step taken by a public works department looking to move from a preventive maintenance regime into a proactive maintenance approach. Condition-based maintenance solutions collect and analyse real-time diagnostics from all production assets and drive appropriate action to improve overall asset performance, operations, engineering and maintenance.
The system automates the maintenance process through the monitoring of user-defined rules and algorithms that initiate necessary maintenance activities based on measured operating condition. When the equipment is operating out of the normal range, condition-based maintenance raises an alarm to the operator to make them aware of the abnormal conditions and allows them to make an informed decision about what maintenance is required.
- A mobile workforce and decision support system can help water utilities address some major challenges to improving asset performance: standardising operator rounds and connecting stranded assets. Even in today’s digital age, some 40-60 per cent of the equipment in a typical water utility remains digitally disconnected from the automation system. These stranded assets are invisible to operators unless they perform frequent inspection rounds and manually take down readings and condition assessment, traditionally on paper log sheets.
This type of manual data collection is error-prone and often leads to loss of information. The lack of standardisation in these inspection processes can also lead to service issues and safety hazards. Furthermore, knowledge loss can occur as more experienced operators retire and fail to pass along their wisdom to the next-generation operators.
sw.aveva.com/success-stories/pima-county-implements-situational-awareness-strategy-to-improve-operational-effi-ciency-of-wastewater-facilities?utm_campaign=2018%20Infrastructure&utm_source=smart-cities-world&utm_medium=article">Water utilities that have implemented a mobile workforce and decision support system are able to reap the benefits of using configurable software and ruggedised mobile hardware to enable workflow, data collection and general task management for plant operations, maintenance management, processing tracking and compliance applications.
- Mobile-accessible Asset Information Systems can help utilities confront the massive geographical area – from source to plant to consumer – over which its employees must operate. With the proliferation of IIoT-enabled sensors and advanced metering infrastructure, the number of data sources and types of data available to water utilities is constantly increasing. However, this data is often not available in the context that makes the information useful.
In addition, accessing this data outside the control room is often difficult due to data security concerns and the high cost of the significant setup and maintenance requirements of a virtual private network to support employee data access.
By leveraging a secure, managed solution for collecting, storing, visualising and analysing water and wastewater data in the cloud for faster, smarter operational decisions, utilities can consolidate data from disparate systems and put the data in context for complete visibility into how operations are performing. This enables utility employees to access the data anytime, anywhere, and on the mobile device of their choice.
- Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is a comprehensive solution for providing maintenance management, spares and inventory management, and provides complete procurement capabilities for water and wastewater utilities.
EAM increases asset availability by seeing that necessary maintenance is performed and enables maximum output from expensive and complex assets. Through increased visibility into maintenance history, inventory and procurement, sw.aveva.com/success-stories/the-city-of-toronto-implements-best-practices-and-increases-productivity-with-avantis?utm_campaign=2018%20Infrastructure&utm_source=smart-cities-world&utm_medium=article">utilities can implement a preventative maintenance programme that maximises return on asset investment.
- A Risk-Based Maintenance (RBM) approach helps businesses improve asset performance by integrating risk-based maintenance into an overall asset performance management strategy.
The strict budget environment in which most municipalities must operate forces utilities to drive as much cost out of their operations as possible while maximising return on asset investment. The RBM approach generates optimised maintenance and spare parts strategies by first looking at the utilities’ strategy and objectives, and then prioritising actions down to an individual asset level to maximise return on asset investment.