National Grid uses IBM to add predictive maintenance capabilities

National Grid is using cloud-based analytics powered by IBM SoftLayer to provide preventative maintenance

National Grid is using cloud-based analytics powered by IBM SoftLayer to provide preventative maintenance.

National Grid is using IBM Insights Foundation for Energy to improve decision-making around asset health and maintenance policies.

David Wright, director of electricity transmission asset management, National Grid, said: "We needed the ability to sweep up all the data on our assets across 350 different sites and bring that together into a single portal to then do further analysis and deliver value for customers moving forward."

The system allows National Grid to use condition-based preventive maintenance without having to replace existing enterprise asset management system. And as part of a regulatory commitment to reduce costs, National Grid is benefiting from analytics-based asset management, reducing operating expenditure while maintaining grid reliability and availability, IBM said.

Jon Fenn, head of network engineering, National Grid, said: "We have a place you go where you can see everything you want to know about the assets. We are also getting the ability to see asset conditions."

According to IBM, using analytics and visualisation to improve situational awareness, utilities can better understand factors affecting asset performance and more accurately project how much useful life remains or what other points in the grid could be affected by an outage.

National Grid is one of the first customers of IBM's cloud-based analytics platform for energy and utility companies. IBM claims the product helps utilities remove the financial barriers to using analytics across energy generation, transmission and distribution while delivering improved situational awareness from large volumes of data.

While the National Grid has deployed IBM Insights Foundation for Energy to improve maintenance, analytics can also be used directly by utilities to drive internet-connected machinery. For instance, as Computer Weekly reported in 2014, some utilities are deploying big data projects in the cloud to manage demand. i20, a company that provides smart technology to water companies, has linked intelligent water valves to cloud-based learning algorithms to ensure its customers give the right volumes of water to consumers when it is needed.

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