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Silicon Valley Power adds operational intelligence

Utility will work with OSIsoft and Petasense

Silicon Valley Power, the municipal electric utility owned by the city of Santa Clara, is adding operational intelligence to its connected predictive maintenance system. The utility has been working with Petasense for predictive maintenance, and now will leverage Petasense’s new partnership with OSIsoft. OSIsoft, which recently attracted SoftBank as an investor, makes a suite of software products that are used for data collection and analysis, and markets them as an enterprise infrastructure for management of real-time data and events.

“The first step in IIoT for many industrial companies and utilities is capturing data from their legacy equipment,” said Pat Kennedy, CEO of OSIsoft. “Many of these systems – while they work fine – are years, if not decades, old and weren’t created with digital in mind. Our partnership with Petasense will help lay the foundation for digital transformation.”

The companies said the integration of the Petasense and the OSIsoft systems will enable SVP to correlate asset and process data and create predictive models that leverage vibration along with other process parameters.

The Petasense system uses machine learning and cloud software to analyze the output of its wireless vibration sensors, which can track millions of vibrations per day. The company says that by analyzing vibration characteristics, Petasense software is able to predict common defects like pump cavitation, bearing wear and misalignment. Machine learning algorithms calculate a numerical health score of the machine in real-time to help plant managers to make better maintenance decisions.

“Vibration analysis is the equivalent of fingerprinting in the industrial world,” explained Michael Kanellos, technology analyst at OSIsoft. “If you can drill down on the signals, you can tell whether a machine is slightly out of alignment or in need of immediate repairs. That can save individual manufacturers millions a year.”

Kanellos said one pump maker was able to avoid $600,000 worth of potential damage to its equipment by using OSIsoft to analyze vibration signals, and intervening before the equipment malfunctioned.

“To understand those signals, the system needs to absorb and sift through thousands of signals per second,” Kanellos said. “The volume, variety and velocity can be off the charts. People have the data, but they can’t access or analyze it quickly or easily. This is what we’re trying to overcome with partners like Petasense.”

The integration of Petasense and OSIsoft will increase operational efficiency, according to Silicon Valley Power. The company said it has already rolled out the Petasense solution to cover all its mission critical rotating machinery, and will now integrate Petasense with OSIsoft’s PI solution.

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