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Remote asset management: supporting the water sector in times of crisis

  • Remote asset management: supporting the water sector in times of crisis

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Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries.

We often take essential services for granted, like water, without stopping to think about all the work and the infrastructure necessary to ensure water supply services. We are talking about such basic services that, without them, our lives would be seriously affected. Moreover, in the current situation, the responsibility of the water sector is even greater, and so are the challenges.

It is not just about financial or work-related challenges, but also about health challenges. Having clean water is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, companies must avoid potential interruptions or cuts in the labour force, for instance, in order not to affect the water supply. To do that, they need to monitor constantly water quality, maintenance operations, and asset health, even if access to the physical plant is limited. We must not forget that the pandemic has modified the working dynamics; teleworking had to replace work on site, revealing a lack of preparation both in terms of the digital world, and the management of a crisis of this magnitude.

In addition, water companies are expected to see a decline in revenue — up to 20% of their turnover — and more limitations in CapEX and OpEx, something that can affect the maintenance and upgrade of equipment in plants and networks.

Digital services, key to ensure service continuity

Digital services that facilitate asset management from remote locations can provide an answer to these challenges. The demand for this type of services based on results had grown a lot lately, since they share project risks more evenly between clients and service providers, and offer greater data safety.

As well, when combined with an appropriate technological platform, technicians can move from a reactive approach to network problems, to proactive maintenance and monitoring, regardless of where they are or the type of electrical infrastructure.

For example, through the use of EcoStruxure Asset Advisor and its Service Bureau, Schneider Electric can monitor closely its clients' assets and plan their maintenance taking into account both their use and their environment. Moreover, it is possible to recommend when to upgrade old equipment or replace it for newer one. And with EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor, data and virtual objects can be overlaid on electrical equipment, opening the doors virtually, from any mobile device such as a Smartphone or a tablet. The solution provides step-by-step guidance to operators until maintenance processes are completed, and offers immediate access to data, manuals, instructions, diagrams, etc., in real time, any time and from anywhere.

Another solution for remote asset management is EcoStruxure Secure Connect Advisor; incorporating cybersafety, it is integrated and ready to use with all the Harmony HMI solutions, enabling experts to access the facilities remotely to program, diagnose problems, control and repair the machinery.

Reducing costs with better planning

With indicators and alerts on the state of equipment it is possible to determine remotely the real service life of equipment, improve the response time, reduce inventories and carry out a smarter maintenance. It is not only about extending the service life of the machinery or reducing the number of unnecessary visits to the facilities, but also about enabling all the human capital of the company to focus on those areas that add more value.

In addition, digital services enable a holistic view of networks with different equipment, providing end-to-end transparency to reduce unplanned downtime, and thus the economic losses involved.

Remote asset management allows water plant operators to continue adjusting processes, carry out maintenance and make operational decisions based on data, in order to ensure network efficiency, any time and from anywhere. This way both the facilities and the staff are protected, something essential at the present time.

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