AVEVA Delivers Project During COVID

Posted: November 3, 2020

Weston Unit 4 is a 595-megawatt coal fired power plant in central Wisconsin. Prior to commercial operation in June 2008, the unit used an AVEVA high-fidelity simulator for DCS controls checkout, plant procedures verification and operator training.  After commissioning of Unit 4, the simulator system has continuously been used as an integral component of the plant’s process improvement and quest for operational excellence, both as an operator training platform and a DCS control testbed. Nowadays, all controls changes are tested in the simulator before they are installed in the unit.

To learn how your industry peers use AVEVA’s software solutions to increase their resilience and sustainability, visit our website.

Early this year, Weston was preparing to do a plant controls upgrade, and it planned to use the AVEVA simulator as a control test-bed as previous occasions. However, COVID-19 created additional challenges that threatened project delays.

Project Scope

A summary of the DCS and simulator upgrade is outlined below:

  • Upgrade simulator DCS Suite hardware (Windows 10 and Server class 2016)
  • Upgrade simulator DCS Suite software to latest release (FCS 7.1.1 , Intouch HMI 7.1 and CCS 9.4)
  • Upgrade simulator modeling software (Dynsim 6.0 and SCP 3.1)
  • Upgrade simulator process model to address process changes
  • Test upgraded controls prior to installing in real unit
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COVID Mitigation Plan

In February 2020 and prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, the upgraded simulator hardware and software was setup at the Schneider Electric staging floor in Massachusetts. An initial control test in the simulator was conducted. This test was attended by the client, AVEVA and Schneider-Electric. In addition to communication testing, some preliminary control loop testing was successfully completed.

Once the COVID-19 quarantine began, the following plan was executed to complete the upgrade project:

  1. Simulator engineering activities were performed by the AVEVA engineer working remotely from his home.  Skype and Zoom were used for audio and video communication, while TeamViewer and Remote Desktop applications were used to access the hardware in the Schneider-Electric staging floor.
  2. Remote testing with the customer from Wisconsin and the AVEVA engineer from California. Skype and Zoom were used for audio and video communication, while TeamViewer and Remote Desktop applications were used to access the hardware in the Schneider-Electric staging floor. The remote testing was done over a period of four (4) weeks.
  3. Following the same arrangement as step 2 above, the FAT was conducted remotely.
  4. Once the FAT was completed, the system was shipped to the client facilities in Wisconsin. Note: the intermediate shipping of the system from Massachusetts to California was avoided due to remote testing. 
  5. One week prior to start of Site Acceptance Test, a local field services engineer from Schneider-Electric went to the site to install the upgraded system and perform basic communication tests. 
  6. During SAT, Skype and Zoom were used for audio and video communication, and the client’s secure VPN connection was used by the AVEVA engineer from California.

     

Original Plan

COVID Mitigation Plan

Original Plan

Stage DCS hardware in Massachusetts
Load new software
Load new plant controls.
Perform basic communication testing

COVID Mitigation Plan

Same.
This was performed before lockdown

Original Plan

Hardware stays in Massachusetts
AVEVA engineer works  remotely from California
AVEVA engineer travels to Massachusetts for FAT
Hardware ships directly to client site

COVID Mitigation Plan

Remained mostly the same
More remote testing from AVEVA and client Allocated extra time to fix any discrepancies found during FAT and before shipping

Original Plan

FAT of upgraded simulator:

Client travels to Massachusetts for about 1 week AVEVA engineer travels to Massachusetts for up to 2 weeks

COVID Mitigation Plan

Client stays in Wisconsin and remotely login to system in Massachusetts

Foxboro engineer stays home
AVEVA engineer stays in California, remotely login to system in Massachusetts

Original Plan

Regional Field Services travel to site to install upgraded simulator hardware

COVID Mitigation Plan

Same. Added task to set-up and test communication protocol between AVEVA engineer in California and the client’s secure VPN connection.

Original Plan

SAT: AVEVA engineer travels to plant site for at least 1 week.

COVID Mitigation Plan

AVEVA engineer stays in California, remotely login to simulator system at client’s facility in Wisconsin

Results

At project completion, John C. Pfeiffer, the Wisconsin Public Service Project Manager offered the following summary:


Thank you and congratulations for a job well done on the Simulator FAT and SAT.  Considering the curve ball that the pandemic delivered, this work was completed in budget and on time with no safety incidents.  The risk mitigation plan developed to complete the SAT remotely allowed the work to be completed prior to the DCS upgrade; a real plus for reducing overall project risk.


In the power industry, AVEVA has the most advanced and innovative software tools to help in your journey to sustainability and operational excellence. From design and build to operate and maintain, AVEVA has a software solution to lower the carbon footprint of your power plant. Please visit our website to learn how your power industry peers use our digital solutions. 

 

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