Balancing operating costs with availability

Balancing operating costs with availability

Many power plant facilities buy computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) software but not all achieve the full benefits from their investment. However, today`s new breed of IPP, such as Paiton I in Indonesia, is using the latest CMMS technology and achieving excellent results.

Ronald Hunt,

Thermal Power Consulting Engineer,

Kenneth Huskisson,

Engica Technology Systems International, UK

Every engineer charged with the care of a power generation facility will agree on the vital importance of good maintenance management and the recording of plant maintenance history.

Managing a successful power generation business in the complex and highly competitive power generation industry requires both the achievement of facility targets and making the right choice in the balance between operating cost and plant availability.

A modern computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) will play an important role in how best to achieve and manage this balance. The efficient and effective management of maintenance and materials will therefore make a major difference to the competitive position of the plant during its lifetime. It is therefore crucial that the software selection and implementation process is recognised as one of the first key choices in the power facility development process. Making the wrong choice is easy; success demands a planned solution.

Seeking a solution

It is widely recognised that the quality of the implementation process is just as important as the functionality of the software. An experienced CMMS provider should be able to deliver a solution appropriate to specific needs, requirements or problems.

A software product may be demonstrated that has a well presented front-end, performs key functions and can preview several key reports. However, it is the people who produce and deliver the software to a specific requirement who are the key to success. Thus, the solution is a multi-faceted one. As a prime requisite, the basic software must be able to work in a power plant environment and then it must be made to work for you by a dedicated implementation team.

A solution provider will normally recommend a phased implementation plan and a definitive start point. However, before taking any irrevocable decisions by embarking upon implementation, there is an overriding need to establish project objectives and overall direction. Often through this process, an “in-house” approach to implementation will be dismissed in favour of an objective professional methodology. Table 1 outlines various approaches to implementation which will depend on whether an organisation has the necessary skills and resources to undertake the implementation work itself.

Facility owners all fully appreciate that experience is needed to pave the way for excellence in any power plant project. CMMS is no different. Obviously, many specialist solution providers have already climbed the `experience curve` and are able to complete an efficient and cost-effective implementation to a specific time scale.

Classic approaches

There are several classical approaches to CMMS implementation. These may be described as “scaleable” because they can be selected according to the degree of outside help employed. They are illustrated by Table 1 and Figure 3, and described below.

à‚-A is an `in-house` project with assistance

à‚-B is an `in-house` project linked to a pilot project, often termed an `assisted project`

à‚-C is the total implementation package.

Under approaches A and B, the owner will provide the bulk of the resources, whereas approach C will largely utilise external resources. A clear grasp of the implementation methodology and its associated practicalities is crucial to the success of the project.

Power plant operators do not usually debate the necessity or otherwise of a CMMS and rightly so. However, from the outset there is a need to understand how the benefits of the system can be fully realised at each stage of the project implementation. Many projects are started without taking this fully into consideration, often resulting in major delays and the non-fulfilment of core objectives in specific time frames. All too often a lot of money and station personnel time is invested without getting the proper results.

The total implementation approach is the best method for ensuring maximum benefit from the CMMS investment in line with business objectives.

Experience has shown that good results will be achieved by:

à‚-Undertaking the implementation process as a `project`

à‚-Good planning, project management and scheduling

à‚-Using a dedicated and skilled implementation team who will not be distracted by other responsibilities

à‚-Ensuring trained personnel establish your database and coding systems

à‚-An intensive programme of structured training for all facility staff following system activation

à‚-Access to IT, operation and maintenance (O&M) and reliability centred maintenance (RCM) consultant support.

The major benefit of the total approach is that the implementation process can be completed without having personnel distracted by other activities, for example during the demanding start-up phase.

From the outset, the foundations of the total approach need to be laid by establishing a multi-skilled project team of CMMS specialists and operation and maintenance professionals who are all well experienced in project management, power facility O&M requirements and the provision of IT support.

The total package also provides the opportunity to introduce the tenets of RCM. This can greatly enhance the process of maintenance scheduling by identifying and classifying potential failure according to its consequences. RCM experts will explain the RCM features of the CMMS and guide users in preparing the system for its application.

As well as understanding the far reaching benefits of CMMS technology and methodology, it is vital that the solution provider applies knowledge of improvement indices used in the industry and comprehends the real-life expectations of owners and operators alike. This knowledge will be used to support the implementation team and can facilitate the optimisation of maintenance routines.

Project organisation

CMMS software and IT expertise alone cannot deliver a complete system. An important range of skills and expertise are needed to successfully implement the integrated CMMS. It is normal practice for an implementation manager to lead a team that has the right blend of skills to ensure the implementation is carried out using both local knowledge and objective experience. In addition, it will be necessary to promote close working relationships between the implementation team and facility personnel to achieve the full benefit of technology transfer.

As part of the process, the owner will be encouraged to assign a senior person as `system champion`, who should report directly to the facility manager. Once the project is underway there will be a need to mobilise assigned counterpart staff in the process of making key decisions and to provide access to information during the data collection phase.

CMMS and the IPP revolution

In the past few years, as a result of a surge in electricity demand patterns and industry deregulation, many private or independent power projects (IPPs) have been initiated around the world, particularly in countries of SE Asia.

These emerging IPP power generation projects are arguably the future of the power generation industry. They often embody the newest technologies and the latest in operating philosophies. A number of IPP projects have already come on-stream and have provided some outstanding opportunities for the application of CMMS technology.

As a result of these private investments, power plant design and operating philosophies have been revolutionised. This has often resulted in much faster construction times and at the same time, presented new challenges and opportunities for the CMMS implementor.

Among these new-style projects is the expansive Paiton I project located near Surabaya in Indonesia. The CMMS project was started in November 1997 with the primary implementation phases completed by March 1998.

Paiton I, shown in Figure 2, is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by good teamwork and an early project launch. This project highlights the advantage of making an early start to CMMS implementation. The project is recognised as a very successful CMMS implementation by the plant owners and implementation team alike.

The Paiton I power project is a 1230 MW coal fired thermal power plant comprising two 615 MW turbo-generator units and associated steam generation plant. A consortium led by Edison Mission Energy (EME) of California is developing the plant for Paiton Energy Company (PEC), the facility owner. The operator of the plant is Edison Mission Operation and Maintenance. General Electric has supplied the turbo-generators with ABB being the manufacturers of the associated steam generators. Fuel for the plant is indigenous coal that will be extracted from the vast coal resources of Indonesia.

This project is part of a major power generation complex that will eventually see three power plants on the one dedicated site. It is conceived that the complete facility will serve all the needs of the East Java region of Indonesia.

In the summer of 1997, just over twelve months before the commercial operation date, Engica`s Q4 Power was selected as the CMMS for the Paiton I project.

Edison Mission`s decision to award the project to Engica was based on their extensive international power industry client-base, the specific undertakings given to provide a quality implementation support service and the powerful but simple user interface of Q4 Power which has purpose built functionality and processes for power generation.

This decision involved both PEC and EME, with the Paiton project team deciding that the selection of a first class CMMS would be an important and early target in the station O&M mobilisation process. An integrated approach to maintenance management and stock control was seen as an absolutely essential feature of the system.

Meeting Paiton challenges

The selected package comprised the delivery and installation of the Q4 Power CMMS system to the Paiton I plant site in East Java, Indonesia. The list in Table 3 provides a short summary of the project and the services provided by Engica.

Following the award, a joint project team was immediately established by Engica and Edison Mission Energy to effectively meet all objectives set.

The client`s project team was led by Edison Mission`s Peter Scott whilst the on-site team of Engica was led by Roland James. Engica was able to provide the on-site technical support from locally available resources and send out IT consultant support from the UK as needed. Edison Mission provided all the staff needed for the data collection phase. A dedicated team carried out verification and acceptance of data with hands-on support provided by Engica.

In order to satisfy the requirements of both accountants and engineers, the stock system is to be integrated with the Sun Accounts. Q4 Power has been integrated with the station`s local intranet in order to provide O&M staff with ready on-screen access to all the station`s drawings, documentation and procedures.

The Paiton CMMS project is a good example of what can be achieved by strong teamwork and an early project launch. A brisk and timely implementation process has been achieved because of the strong commitment of both parties, and the excellent co-operation built up between the client`s personnel and the Engica support team.

The project has highlighted the advantage of making an early start to CMMS implementation thereby enabling the Paiton I power plant to have the system up and running before plant commissioning. The early system availability allowed the station staff to test proposed processes from the outset and develop their ideas over a long period and make best use of the system at `roll out`.

The project is considered an excellent model for other new power plant projects. The result demonstrates how a well-managed project can successfully deliver a total system implementation on time. It shows how important it is to set the key objectives and establish a dedicated team.

Len Coleman (Edison Mission director operations Asia Pacific) and Ron Landry (Paiton Energy Management team leader) now reflect: “We were impressed with Engica`s specialist expertise in the power generation industry. Their software reflects input from many power generation customers and their staff certainly know how power generation staff work.”

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Figure 1. The Paiton I project in Indonesia embodies the latest technologies and operating philosophies

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Figure 2. Paiton I boiler plant

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Figure 3. Classic approaches to implementing CMMS

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