Powering operational efficiency with IBM Informix TimeSeries

Product Marketing Manager – IBM Decision Optimization, IBM

How do you streamline operations of a combined cycle power plant consisting of boilers, ACCs, gas and steam turbines, water treatment plants and more that supplies power to 22 percent of a state in Malaysia?

Ensuring that the power plant can dispatch power whenever required is the goal of Ranhill Powertron, the largest primary independent power producer in Sabah, Malaysia. Ranhill is a combined cycle power plant that uses several energy sources to improve production efficiency.

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Ranhill’s quest for reduced downtime

Maintaining a combined cycle power plant, however, poses the operational challenge of managing a large equipment portfolio and preventing unanticipated plant outages. Ranhill needed a management system that could analyze data from equipment sensors to the tune of 5000 readings per second. This would enable them to observe subtle changes in parameters like temperature, pressure, flow or vibration over time so that the staff could proactively take action before operations were impacted

The company chose to deploy the Chronos Plan Operation and Management System (POMS) with IBM Informix TimeSeries database. With Chronos and IBM, the company was able to predict equipment’s operating condition more accurately and plan corrective measures for high availability and thereby reduce costs

The problem with the status-quo

Traditional relational databases require large storage space to manage thousands of readings per second from the equipment at the facility. Also the storage method employed by traditional databases would not lend itself to quick retrieval of information, which was critical to enable Ranhill staff to immediately detect issues. Delays in predicting potential failure points could lead to the halt of power generation and large impact on revenue.

The Informix Timeseries advantage

Informix TimeSeries software consolidates and organizes time-stamped data much more efficiently than traditional, relational databases. Thus, Informix TimeSeries enables the efficient storage and retrieval of time-series data so companies can perform the near-real-time queries that are required. Additionally, Informix TimeSeries requires significantly less storage space than traditional relational databases, helping users reduce technology costs.

Also Informix offers 99.999 percent data availability with automatic failover in the case of server (or even network) failure, which is increasingly critical as sensor data relies on frequent, two-way network communications. Informix can also replicate TimeSeries data throughout a distributed, clustered environment.

The dual benefit of savings arising from reduced storage costs and improved ability to capture, store and analyze large volumes of data for analysis in a fast and efficient manner convinced Ranhill to choose the Chronos solution with Informix Timeseries embedded.

As the CEO of Chronos states: “Because Informix TimeSeries stores data far more efficiently than traditional relational databases, we can access almost two-and-a-half times the active data than we could before—from three years of active data to seven years—and improve the data resolution nearly 900 times—from up to 15 minutes to one second.”

Visible results

The Chronos system with Informix TimeSeries has helped Ranhill consistently exceed availability targets by minimizing shutdowns. It has allowed the Ranhill management to plan properly and conduct preventive maintenance. Also the ratio of preventive to corrective maintenance increased.

Learn more about Informix TimeSeries today