Jul 27, 2021
By Kate Camerlin

How the Connected Workplace Helps with Energy and Power Infrastructure Management

Managing all power plant equipment, assets, and machinery is a complex and critical task. Power plant maintenance engineers need to ensure the safety of employees and workers and also make sure the infrastructure is in working order so the community it serves has reliable access to power.

Additionally, energy infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex. For example, the American Society of Civil Engineering’s annual infrastructure report card states that yearly spending on the “last mile” of the electricity network grew 54% over the past two decades—meaning a growing number of areas are being served.

The report also notes that utilities companies are taking steps to strengthen the electric grid, and in the coming years, “additional transmission and distribution infrastructure, smart planning, and improved reliability are needed to accommodate the changing energy landscape, as delivery becomes distributed, and renewables grow.”

So, what does this changing landscape mean for maintaining and tracking power plant equipment and infrastructure?

A service this vital, complex, and expensive should have a robust asset management program running on a powerful, modern software platform.

The Connected Workplace is a software solution that takes your asset management program to the next level. You can easily see how your assets are performing, develop dashboards, schedule maintenance, submit work orders, and easily create reports.

Five Reasons You Should Upgrade Your Equipment and Maintenance Management Software 

1. Capturing All Equipment Data for Easier Reporting and Inspections

Power plant facilities need a vast number of assets to keep their distribution networks running. There are meters, generators, heavy equipment and machinery, monitoring systems, and much, much more.

Tracking and managing equipment on spreadsheets or disparate software solutions is daunting—especially when reporting out to stakeholders and inspectors.

The Connected Workplace tracks each asset, keeps them secure, manages existing inventory, tracks all work orders, and shares the platform with IT for comprehensive equipment management.

You can then easily create dashboards to spot trends, identify problem equipment, accurately forecast new equipment purchases, and efficiently manage resources.

This means you have better insights into how all your equipment is performing and can better report out on this data.

2. Facility Condition Assessments in the Same Solution

Facility condition assessments (FCAs) analyze the physical condition of your plant and equipment. If you’re using spreadsheets, or worse, doing manual assessments, this process is complex and labor-intensive.

The Nuvolo Connected Workplace condition assessment functionality helps simplify the process.

FCAs are integral to your ability to identify problems before they happen and to forecast upcoming costs. They uncover the condition of your assets, plants, and facilities–empowering you to find immediate risks, determine equipment lifespans, prioritize repair and replacement projects, and prevent emergencies.

Tracking your FCA data, asset information, and preventive and corrective work orders on a single platform gives you unprecedented data accuracy.

3. Faster Corrective Maintenance Using a Mobile Application

When assets, people, and work data are captured on one platform, you can create smart dispatching. Smart dispatching uses workflows and business rules to automatically route work orders to the right person at the right time.

There’s even an asset onboarding workflow. You can use digital forms to input new devices, which triggers a workflow to deliver the devices to their respective areas while creating device inspection work orders.

Integrations with unmanned sensor alarms can be designed to prompt smart dispatching and automatically assign the work to the nearest specialist in the field with the right certification.

Once assigned, engineers can use a mobile application. They have instant access to service manuals, knowledge bases, spare parts inventory, training videos, and more.

They complete the assigned work and track their performance. As they update their work orders on the mobile app, they capture the equipment service history you would otherwise be missing. This provides real-time equipment updates.

4. Automated Preventive Maintenance

Preventive work orders can be designed to auto-route based on date, location, certifications, asset performance, etc. All the intelligence captured with each work order is used to understand equipment maintenance better and create more efficient timelines.

In addition, your teams can utilize checklists when performing periodic inspection tasks, such as safety equipment inspection. If a checklist item fails, a work order is automatically created.

The Connected Workplace helps streamline and optimize your preventive maintenance system.

5. Cybersecurity for Network-Connected Non-IT Devices

Although cybersecurity is typically associated with protecting IT network infrastructures, it is becoming increasingly important to secure operational technology (OT) devices and equipment. For example, the industry is taking advantage of building and pipeline sensors and other technology—but, because they’re connected to the network, they can be hacked. There have been several high-profile examples of critical infrastructure being attacked in which the disruption to fuel supplies was felt across many regions.

Protecting your mission-critical non-IT devices is a coordinated effort and requires expertise from facilities, IT, and security.

The Connected Workplace overlays IT cybersecurity with non-IT assets and helps ensure you’re protected from cyber breaches.

Learn more about our OT Security capabilities.

Beyond Equipment and Asset Management

The Connected Workplace goes beyond asset management, and it enables you to track your space usage, so you get better insights into how your plants and facilities are being used. You can manage layouts, see how buildings are being utilized, and more. These additional insights help you monitor and make decisions about:

  • Capital project management for plant renovations and new building projects.​
  • Vendor and contractor management.
  • Sustainability tracking, so you can understand energy, water, and waste consumption by property.​

All this data enables you to create reports for equipment, assets, and operating expense savings.

You can then build your operations and capital improvement plans with accurate business intelligence, and make cost-effective decisions about your power plant and equipment longevity.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to our team today for information about the Connected Workplace.