It is in the operation and maintenance phase of a process where managers encounter some of the most pertinent challenges related to asset integrity management.
As with any industrial process, the electrical industry also requires well-designed plans to reduce risks to operators, reduce downtime, and improve operational efficiency.
In this article, we will address some of the challenges in maintenance and inspection routines commonly faced by the electrical industry, and demonstrate how efficient maintenance plans can be crucial in optimizing energy efficiency in this industry.
How maintenance is done
In more traditional practices, maintenance crews are sent out into the field to visually inspect installations. This activity can take many days to be complete, depending on the size of the area to be inspected. Another important factor is the geolocation of the structure, places of difficult access, such as offshore grids or very high-altitude installations, for example, can bring risks to the operators responsible for the activity.
All documentation is done manually in checklists or forms, and not rarely depends on additional information available in different systems so that a work order can be generated with the necessary information and business rules for the execution of the inspections.
This process, besides being susceptible to long execution times and higher costs, can also be subject to inaccuracies.
Digital twin for operation and maintenance
The digital twin has become popular in many industrial processes thanks to its benefits. The application of this technology to the energy sector has been notable for high-value optimizations.
A true Digital Twin enables maintenance and inspection routines to be performed faster and much more assertively.
The information synchronized in the model can be accessed remotely, so there is no need for teams to travel to the field.
From camera captures made on-site and using several technologies such as computer vision and image analytics, teams can perform hybrid inspections within the digital twin platform itself.
The digital twin allows the integration and centralization of numerous pre-used systems within industries to locate and easily access crucial information.
Inspections and maintenance based on a digital twin allow for increased operational efficiency and reduced manpower in the field.
Identification of the highest priority areas can be done quickly and in a fully intuitive and visual way through a digital twin platform.
Energy efficiency gains through digital twin
Optimizing energy efficiency is one of the biggest challenges in the energy industry. According to EIA data, at least 66% of electrical energy is lost right after production due to inefficiencies in operation.
An optimized maintenance and inspection routine will undoubtedly have an influence on optimizing energy production, especially in renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Through the maintenance and inspection routines, managers can have an expanded operational view.
With integrity plans executed through digital twin technology, these managers can quickly identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in their operations.
In addition, Digital Twin is a technology that can be enhanced with artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms. And in this way, simulations and tests to gain production efficiency can easily be performed.
Although industries share common problems, each operation has its own particularities and challenges. In this scenario, the digital twin is a great alternative for problem-solving, given the flexible application capacity of the technology.
Although maintenance and inspection routines are performed manually and not optimized, the digital twin is a great alternative for industries seeking to optimize their integrity management processes with gains in energy efficiency, agility, and greater safety for their operators.
Although each industry has its unique way of operating, the digital twin can be applied in different scenarios, for different functionalities. By implementing this technology in the operation and maintenance phase, industries in the energy sector have the opportunity to obtain gains in energy efficiency through the optimization of asset integrity management activities.
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