FirstEnergy, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, includes one of the United States’ largest investor-owned electric systems with more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines and a diverse generation fleet with a capacity of nearly 17,000 MW. Its 10 regulated distribution companies serve six million customers in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.
FirstEnergy set a goal to migrate from its traditional, retroactive operational reporting and time-based maintenance to a predictive maintenance and prescriptive analytics strategy driven by field data. FirstEnergy realized the migration would require collecting and compiling relevant data in near-real time to determine the health of their assets. The first step: Create the required data streams to feed its asset performance management (APM) solution, ABB Ability Ellipse APM.
As with all analytical solutions, Ellipse APM requires the data entering the solution be timely, accurate, relevant and appropriately formatted to provide meaningful results. So the first step was for FirstEnergy engineers, IT professionals and field personnel to collaborate with the ABB Ability Ellipse APM team to define the data requirements. With years of data, FirstEnergy understood it was best to take incremental steps in the implementation process by identifying only the data that would lead to valid results.
Once the data acquisition team knew what data was needed and available, the team conducted a gap analysis to scope the necessary effort to create the required data streams. As the team began establishing data streams, they also established layered checkpoints to ensure that only quality data would be passed into Ellipse APM. The first two checkpoints occurred prior to each data transfer into Ellipse APM, with the third occurring after all data was input. The checkpoints were designed to ensure structural, data, and output integrity.
With the initial data obtained and validated, FirstEnergy was able to feed ongoing streams of properly-formatted data from a variety of sources into the new Ellipse APM solution. And as with any analytical decision process, the more data flowing in, the more refined the output becomes, meaning FirstEnergy can expect continuous improvement in Ellipse APM’s ability to identify potential risk in advance of it becoming a significant problem.
“Prioritizing the assets or functions that were best prepared for migration created a foundation that we can now scale for future success,” says Dana Parshall, FirstEnergy’s Director of Asset Management & Records Control. “Knowing the data integrity issues within our systems before embarking on the APM journey, we knew it would not be easy. Dedicating separate teams to the project apart from the resources for sustaining operations was a win for us.”