Remote control20 December 1999
Cost cutting is the name of the power game, especialy in service and support functions. Siemens has developed a control monitoring and I&C system that deals with exactly this issue, allowing expert teams to be maintained at a central location rather than at each site.
In a deregulated power market, only those players who cut costs continually will survive. That is a statement that has become a standard cliché in the industry. It is something that manufacturers have to concentrate on.
Siemens KWU has developed Televisio with exactly this aim. Televisio was developed for services in support of the Teleperm XP power plant I&C systems. ISDN communication links gives the Televisio tool access to Teleperm XP at the user level. This give the service centre in Karlsruhe the capability to directly access the operation and monitoring equipment, the automation systems, and the engineering and diagnostics systems at the plant.
Televisio can give remote support to power plants worldwide for I&C analyses and for process engineering issues.
The Karlsruhe service centre became fully operational on 1 October, 1999. This is the centre around which Televisio is based. The objective is to reduce overall generation costs, and to enable Siemens to offer cost-cutting options. Siemens is claiming to offer the now traditional 'one-stop shop'. The company estimates that it currently makes DM 150 million in I&C services, and that this figure will double over the next five years.
The three level service concept
Siemens has implemented a three-level service concept. Level 1 services are provided close to the customer by the regional service units of the regional offices. In level 2, regional service units are assisted by the central support centre. Level 3 covers involvement of system developers on complex issues.
Televisio is essentially a simple concept. Systems are monitored and operated from one central location. Televisio uses direct and graphic visualisation and remote control of all subsystems via ISDN telephone lines or satellite connections. The images captured at the operation centre are transmitted directly to the support centre. Process data and process conditions, charts, and alarm signals are continuously updated in real-time.
The implementation and maintenance of automation systems in industrial and power supply plants is more and more often performed by personnel on site. The complexity of systems increasingly requires highly specialised engineers who need a good knowledge of industry technologies and automation systems.
This is where the problem starts. There are very few specialists with this range of expertise. It is very cost-intensive to maintain a full team of experts at every location. Televisio allows concentration of these specialists at the support centre, maximising their use.
The economic benefits of using Televisio include the following:
- Faster commissioning. Project changes are preformed in real-time straight from a "Centre of Competence".
- Decrease of operating costs. Because of the Siemens control centre, plant operators need fewer employees per shift.
- Increased system availability. Faster response and reduced error removal times ensures reduced downtime.
- Better productivity. Experienced technology specialists can optimise power plant processes.
A precise failure analysis through remote diagnosis is possible with Televisio. The system ensures that all information on the instrumentation and control system, messages and alarms, is available to the support centre. As a result, errors can be removed faster and more precisely and efficiently than with conventional teleservice systems.
In addition, maintenance work may be supported and coordinated via a multimedia connection.
The system may be completely controlled remotely.
The 'See-through' power plant
Siemens has said that it plans to develop the 'see-through' power plant, in which knowledge of the technical and commercial operational situation is available at all times at the push of a button.
The focus of attention has been to develop an intelligent linking of information from all areas of operation.
In the fiercely contested and dynamic market, the management of the power plant needs a tool which provides an adequately detailed overview of the current and future operational data.
Data from the enormous amount of information that is required for fast, accurate and reliable decision-making must be filtered, validated, financially-evaluated and then conditioned to a comprehensible form. This computer tool enables process conditions to be presented both as physical data and evaluated financially. Maintenance measures are displayed not only as planned work processes, but are also displayed immediately with their impact on available capacity. The objective is that 'learning systems' will calculate fuel costs, repair, spare parts and maintenance costs for all possible operating modes. It will then link these with achievable revenues and formulate recommendations.
Linking this tool with the remote capability of Televisio has great potential.
Another advantage offered by Televisio is that it provides an extensive archive. This enables an improved comparison of problems, and assists in troubleshooting.
Siemens is offering a variety of service packages with Televisio, with varying levels of outsourcing available to the customer.
- I&C servicing totally in-house.
- Package 1. Spare parts services.
- Package 2. Remote support + package 1.
- Package 3. Inspection/maintenance + all elements of package 2.
- Package 4. Repair + all elements of package 3.
- Package 5. Economy plus: Siemens handles 100 per cent of services, giving a price guarantee to the customer.
Everything is centred around the principle of cutting costs to the customer, and reducing the customer's cost risk exposure.
Included in the I&C service are: troubleshooting; system support; system administration; system upgrade; repair of electrical equipment (such as replacing worn contacts); and checking instrument operability.