ARC Advisory Group recently released a new market research study on smart control and monitoring solutions for legacy turbines, and, surprise, there’s “low-hanging” fruit for companies. Slight kidding aside, turbines have been around for some time and so have their legacy control platforms — mostly proprietary.
The research study from ARC suggests that power plants and self-powered factories could keep their turbines but upgrade their control (and monitoring) platforms solutions to achieve better uptime. As an industry analyst recently said to me, “It’s hard to calculate an ROI for turbine projects, but a legacy control system will eventually fail and, due to missing spare parts, cause extended downtime.
Due to so many open industrial networking protocols, a new control and monitoring platform can integrate pretty easily into current turbine equipment. And, more importantly, it allows for better visibility into a turbine’s compressors and pumps, for example. The ability to monitor 18 different sensors in the combustion chamber and see it clearly on a computer screen in the control room is hugely valuable and hard to put into dollar terms.
However, many companies are starting too.
Back in September, Maintenance Technology’s IIoT section reported on Mitsubishi’s HiTec Paper mill IIoT program. The company added 26 smartcheck vibration sensors to better monitor a cooling system for its four-story coated thermo-sensitive paper system. After installing the vibration sensors at the cost of €25,500, the paper manufacturer reported a €10,500 ROI due to the avoidance of three failures, service-loss, and machine damage.
Plus, Tim Shea reported in a recent blog post that this might kick-in a service component for automation suppliers:
In addition, IIoT offers opportunities to apply new kinds of business models that will promote growth. Turbine monitoring & controls suppliers may start selling energy or mechanical drive for compression services if they also offer turbines or they could partner with turbine manufacturers to offer remote monitoring and control services for a monthly or yearly fee.
The ARC market research study is for 2017 and reports a sluggish year for this market, but this could change as the political winds have shifted towards the oil and gas market (via this overview link).