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Customer Story

Good vibrations: How REG and Allied Reliability used OCS to enable real-time external analysis on its units

gas tanks and pipes on an industrial site
  • Challenge
    Biodiesel equipment can have many recurring faults, and maintenance costs can also be high. If this led to unplanned downtime, it could halt production, costing valuable revenue in addition to repairs.
  • Goals
    Reduce unplanned downtime of equipment by enabling smart, real-time maintenance strategies to prevent equipment failures. Securely share data with trusted partners for deeper insights.
  • Results
    Enabled simple, secure sharing of PI System data using OCS. Gave Allied Reliability access to real-time and historical data to predict failures. This solution can potentially reduce equipment downtime by up to 90%.

Every oil and gas company depends on its critical assets to keep production moving at the speed of demand. Internal teams of process engineers, subject matter experts, and other key stakeholders constantly analyze operations data to detect performance anomalies and ensure assets are running at optimal levels. In addition to internal resources, many oil and gas companies also use trusted partners and consultants to optimize asset performance and maintenance strategies while preventing failures. These trusted partners rely on vibration data located within the dedicated systems to offer key insights. While external data sharing is critical, doing so quickly and securely is incredibly complex.

Renewable Energy Group (REG) uses an external vendor, Allied Reliability, and its SmartCBM® solution to detect performance anomalies in its equipment and make maintenance recommendations to prevent unplanned downtime. For an AVEVA System user, it is important for REG to be able to quickly share its real-time and historical system data with Allied Reliability. Allied Reliability can analyze that data to predict disruptions and make proactive maintenance recommendations. To securely enable external data sharing, REG and Allied Reliability used OSIsoft Cloud Services’ (OCS) cloud data sharing capabilities to open up a bi directional, real-time data highway of information to mitigate centrifuge failures.

Utilizing OCS, we now will have the ability to securely share our machine data with our partners, in a real-time setting, so that we can reduce downtime. The process is efficient, secure, and enables us to react quickly.
Simon Duster
Project Integrator, Renewable Energy Group

Spinning out biodiesel

For REG, an Iowa-based biodiesel producer, and one of the largest producers of biodiesel in North America, certain types of equipment enable REG to produce cleaner, higher quality, environmentally-friendly fuel. Similar to washing machines, separating equipment compartments hinge on a central axis that spins to separate and clean materials.

The separating equipment vibrates during the spinning process, and vibration data is collected and monitored. Excessive vibration can indicate a potential for a failure or fault. Such equipment not only can have a high number of recurring vibration faults, but maintenance costs can also be extremely high. Unplanned downtime may halt production, costing REG valuable revenue in addition to repairs.

REG uses the PI System as its operations data system of record, enabling teams to analyze real-time and historical data. PI System data isn’t just valuable internally. Allied Reliability SmartCBM solution relies on REG’s PI System vibration data to perform analyses to predict future centrifuge downtime and reduce unplanned disruptions. However, REG was unable to create an automated data connection, which meant PI System data was sent manually. By the time Allied Reliability analyzed the data, resulting recommendations were outdated before they could be implemented.

Illustration of PI System data flowREG’s real-time and historical system data is sent to Allied Reliability using OCS. Allied Reliability SmartCBM® solution performs data analyses and sends recommendations back to the system using the OCS REST API.

Simplified, secure data sharing

REG needed to make system data available to Allied Reliability in near real time. REG and Allied Reliability embarked on a Lighthouse project to deploy OCS and enable rapid, secure data sharing. Starting with four analysis points, REG was able to send data to the cloud in real time using the PI System to OCS Agent. Process and vibration data was immediately sent to SmartCBM for analysis via the bi-directional OCS REST API. The combination of real-time and historical process and vibration data allowed Allied Reliability to perform root cause analysis and identify the reason for the vibration anomalies.

After analysis in SmartCBM, Allied Reliability uses the OCS REST API to securely provide predictive analytic results directly back to the system via OCS. These predictions can help accurately pinpoint downtime, when it will occur, and make recommendations, enabling REG teams to take preventative action.

Thanks to OCS, REG and Allied Reliability now have access to real-time data that automates the flow of operations data between systems. Not only is data sharing secure even outside of the REG organization, but Allied Reliability can also identify anomalies and detect issues faster than ever before. These insights enable REG to plan downtime and subsequent maintenance rather than halting production completely during an unplanned outage or equipment failure.

Secure, SmartCBM®

Overall, OCS helped to decrease diagnostic time while enabling a secure, scalable method to share real-time and historical system data with external stakeholders. The solution maintains data integrity without exposing any unwanted access, and all results are stored in a system of record for future analyses. By creating a closed-loop, two-way data-sharing process in OCS, REG leveraged Allied Reliability instruments and capabilities for vibration analysis and receives recommendations directly in the system. The OCS setup not only reduces reactivity, it has the potential to reduce equipment downtime by as much as 90%.

REG’s Lighthouse program started with one unit. In addition to this single case, OCS enables Allied Reliability to gain secure access to its customers’ system data. This opens up opportunities for connected services agreements as well as accelerates market opportunities for various products.

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