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Yallourn Energy and Silcar embrace a world–first in wireless virtual diagnostics

  • 30 April, 2004 17:26

<p>Yallourn Energy has adopted new technology for remote maintenance of its specialised equipment at its 1,480 megawatt power station in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria.</p>
<p>The technology enables expert consultants in Australia, Japan, Europe and the UK to logon remotely via the internet to examine live video footage of the plant’s condition.</p>
<p>Using this technology, the consultants are able to provide immediate feedback on the condition and maintenance requirements of the plant’s critical machinery, such as turbines, chimneys and boilers.</p>
<p>The savings to the power station are huge, ranging from tens of thousands of dollars in reduced maintenance costs to potentially millions of dollars from reduced downtime.</p>
<p>Silcar, a joint venture between Siemens and Thiess that specialises in operations, maintenance and asset management, brought the technology to Yallourn Energy for use in the power station and open cut mine.</p>
<p>“We’re very excited about this new technology and what it’s going to mean to our business. We conduct regular inspections of critical machinery during maintenance opportunities at Yallourn and now we can get an immediate expert opinion within half an hour of finding a potential problem. That’s a powerful application for us,” said Steve Pascoe, Senior Asset Engineer at Silcar.</p>
<p>“In the past we may have had to wait days for experts to fly in, and given our downtime costs are around $250,000 per day, that can cost us millions. This new technology provides significant positive operational and safety benefits for us.”</p>
<p>The solution itself is an award-winning video-streaming product called SquizBiz, which was developed by Momentum Technologies Group in Melbourne. SquizBiz is a hardware and software package that attaches to a standard video camera and allows the broadcaster to send live video over the internet.</p>
<p>This system has been coupled with Telstra’s wireless broadband network 1xRTT, giving Yallourn a totally wireless and mobile solution. Yallourn staff can send video from anywhere on the 55 square kilometre site.</p>
<p>During its first run, a chimney stack expert from Power Technology, the technology centre of PowerGen UK plc, logged on and inspected the condition of the chimney stack from his UK office. As one of only 30 experts in the world, Yallourn would previously have had to wait until the expert was available to fly to Australia.</p>
<p>Now, staff can walk around the machines and chimney stacks, zooming in as necessary, while experts watch the video footage. The broadcaster and viewer can also take high quality stills of intricate detail to enable a complete and thorough virtual diagnosis. In addition, sessions are recorded so Yallourn has a visual record of all maintenance inspections.</p>
<p>Yallourn intends to use SquizBiz for routine maintenance at both the station and the mine, and for an instant expert opinion as part of its risk management.</p>
<p>SquizBiz has many applications including remote diagnoses (e-health and vet consultations), virtual communications and collaboration, emergency services response and e-training. The solution has won three awards: an Australian Design Award — Business, the CommsWorld Award for Innovation, and a BlackBox Award. SquizBiz also received an honourable mention in the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG) Awards, and was one of four finalists for the AIMIA Best E-business Product or Service.</p>
About Yallourn Power Station
Yallourn Power Station in Victoria, is owned by Yallourn Energy and produces 23% of Victoria’s electricity.</p>
<p>Maintenance is provided through Yallourn Energy’s alliance with Silcar, a joint venture between Siemens and Thiess that specialises in operations, maintenance and asset management of technically complex assets across a variety of industries.</p>
<p>About Momentum Technologies Group (MTG)
Momentum Technologies Group is a privately held streaming media company that develops and distributes high-performance wireless video streaming solutions. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Momentum provides the software, hardware and hosting services that enable businesses to communicate visually over the Internet and Intranets, saving them time and money. More information can be found at or</p>
<p>Further information:
Phillipa Martin
Communications Manager
Momentum Technologies Group
(03) 9533 2077</p>

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