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Jacklin Altman14 Jan, 2020

Easy as PI: ORCA & the layers of notification

One of the main uses of the PI System is real-time awareness. But how do you do that in a huge organization with thousands of devices and millions of data streams? Real time data can be employed to both reduce operational costs like repairs or boost power output by increasing the so-called capacity factor. Turbines are also data-rich devices: an individual turbine can have 300 to 1000 data streams and generate close to 100,000 data points a day.

EDF Group, through its subsidiaries in North America, operates in the utilities, commercial, industrial, and corporate space, working with firms on the procurement of renewable energy. EDF Renewables is the global renewable affiliate of the group, present in 20 countries. EDF Renewables has 2845 owned turbines in addition to 487 ones owned by third parties, and the company sought to develop a tool to track, provide updates, and measure KPI's for the Return to Service of Long-Term Down Turbines. Alarms were set if a turbine's state changed to not ready/running, if active power was less than or equal to 0, or if a fault's duration exceeded 72 hours. Combining event frames for analysis with notifications from the PI System, ORCA was born. ORCA - Operational Readiness and Contextual Awareness- is an intuitive interface that allows for users to quickly view KPI's in an intuitive dashboard using real-time data. 

EDF Renewables uses ORCA to make KPI's readily available to all, and fault codes are created through Event Frames, which are a PI System component that capture important events with related data and context in near real time. To minimize additional work, EDF built out an Auto-Open/Close service, and Event Frames were also used to track updates/changes. Metrics were reported via a KPI engine, and Notifications, which can be customized based on rules set up by the end user, proved crucial for providing awareness to stakeholders. 


Beyond showing high-level KPI's, through ORCA, users can see details about individual turbines as well. If there's an issue, a user can drill down to find the specific turbine causing problems, and they'll be able to see the cause of the issue as well as various parameters such as time out, energy lost, etc. Users can see both business-related and engineering parameters, so information can be shared across all facets of the business.

These parameters can then roll up into a KPI dashboard, which will show the impact that various events have on overall performance (and what you can do next).


Event Frames were initially conceived as a way to replace PI Batch, which enabled users who were doing batch processing to monitor the various stages of that process and capture the relevant data. Nowadays, Event Frames have a much broader use, with customers using them to capture important events, even if they're not working in batches. Event Frames allow users to index their time series data, marking segments of data streams that represent important events. Notifications are then the perfect complement to Event Frames, as users can set parameters in which they wish to be notified so that they can take immediate action.

ORCA has proven a crucial part of EDF Renewables operation, allowing them to identify improvement opportunities and provide transparency to stakeholders through the use of Event Frames and Notifications. EDF has been able to reduce the manual effort required by site managers to diagnose and fix problems while improving issue escalation and quantifying the cost of delays all through the use of intuitive dashboards and user-friendly, customizable notifications.

Learn more about PI System Event Frames and Notifications.

Jacklin AltmanDigital Media ManagerJacklin is the Digital Media Manager and local food critic at OSIsoft. With over 7 years of experience in marketing, software, and social media, she writes about all things tech, marketing, and the PI System.
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