Customer Overview

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is one of the largest electricity companies in North America with a generating capacity of over 16,000 megawatts (MW) in 2013. OPG approached Prolucid in 2011 after facing a large number of power control hardware failures & breakdowns in one of the company’s facilities. At that point they had very little insight into why these failures were happening. Prolucid was asked to develop an advanced power quality monitoring system that would meet power analysis standards for measuring power quality and had the capability to log data on detection of abnormal signals.

Customer Challenge

OPG’s existing system monitored the power being generated and only logged data when abnormal activities were detected. However, the existing system was unable to detect all abnormal activities due to the resolution of input signals and speed of the data logging capability. Therefore, OPG was unable to determine all causes leading to the hardware breakdowns and failures.

Prolucid Solution

    • Prolucid developed a software application that interfaced with CompactRIO hardware and power probes: six voltage probes and six current Hall effect probes. The application included embedded RT and FPGA software and an HMI touch panel.
    • The processing power of the CompactRIO allowed Prolucid to create an application that performed real-time analysis of the power signals in the time and frequency domain. Thresholds were set on a number of metrics such as phase imbalance, harmonic frequency levels, voltage levels, voltage step changes, and total harmonic distortion.
    • A touch panel interface as well as wireless network connectivity allowed the user to view the system live and set the threshold limits from within the substation, or from a remote location avoiding additional trips into a restricted work space.
    • As a National Instruments Alliance partner, Prolucid was able to use the team’s National Instruments hardware and software expertise of to accelerate the development process.

Conclusion

Using the CompactRIO platform, NI LabVIEW for FPGA, RT and Windows, Prolucid developed a system that met the power analysis standards for measuring power quality and had the capability to log data on detection of abnormal transient signals at a rate fast enough to first detect and then save information from 20 different power quality metrics. This system allowed OPG to capture very detailed information on power signals and correlate that information to equipment failure.

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Prolucid is a National Instruments Gold Alliance Partner