Condition monitoring at Hope Valley Mini Hydro Plant
Innovative smart maintenance is making our business more responsive to wear and tear on our major pumping assets, as we extend our use of smart technology.
In the first stage of this initiative we introduced portable smart analysers that sense the condition of large assets, rather than relying on external visual or audible inspections. Traditional external inspections make it virtually impossible to identify small changes to the condition of the asset, and on these large pieces of equipment, small changes can have large and costly consequences.
A prime example is the Mini Hydro Plant at our Hope Valley Terminal Storage Reservoir. This major asset began its service in 2003 and has been maintained using the traditional, external, fixed-time inspection technique. Recently we inspected it using new smart maintenance equipment - the portable analyser.
The analyser is a new piece of kit that uses vibration sensing equipment to locate faults. It helped us find an inner race bearing fault which, if left to the traditional time-based maintenance, would have resulted in a major breakdown. The bearing will now be closely monitored while we prepare its replacement.
Our Condition Monitoring team has already picked up ten similar faults on assets across the state in the four weeks since our new smart maintenance strategy began. We're already seeing the benefits of this innovation by avoiding up to ten unplanned service interruptions.
Some of the exciting next steps for this project include implementing on-asset condition monitoring sensors which together with reliability engineering techniques and machine learning, will see us become a future leader in condition-based and predictive smart maintenance globally.