Meet the Best Industrial Project Award finalists in the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards

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Energy optimisation, wastewater blockage detection and digitised safety checks.

Industrial systems are some of the most challenging IT deployments.

The three finalists in the Best Industrial Project Award category of the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards demonstrate how Internet of Things technology and smart mobility systems are being used to deliver significant business benefits. The finalists are:

  • Essential Energy’s digital safety tools for energy distribution (Digital HIRAC)
  • Sydney Water’s large-scale IoT wastewater blockage detection deployment project
  • SA Water’s energy management for a zero cost energy future project

The projects are featured in the latest in our series of mini-documentaries about the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards finalists.

Essential Energy’s digital safety tools for energy distribution (Digital HIRAC)

The NSW state-owned Essential Energy looks after the poles and wires that supply electricity to 95 percent of NSW and some of Queensland.

It sought to shift hazard identification and risk assessment from an exercise in compliance box-ticking to one of greater awareness and dialogue about workplace safety.

Previously, Essential Energy’s field workers had to fill in 12 paper Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control (HIRAC) books each day, explains Matthew Lassau, the organisation's Manager of Frontline Mobility.

“Having 12 paper-based books was quite challenging in regards to any change that needed to take place within those books, but also obtaining any data out of those books post work completion and the submission of those books,” Lassau told iTnews.

“Team members were doing them to meet compliance regulations, not so much because it added any value to what they do out in the field."

Essential Energy wanted a tool to help team members stop and reassess worksite hazards and controls and to promote open dialogue about these issues.

It extended its inhouse iOS field mobility platform by adding a digital HIRAC tool it built using Node.js with a .NET Core backend in the Azure public cloud. Users are provided with as much information as possible in the app to reduce the need for them to type it.

Essential Energy expects significant safety, productivity, decision support, user experience, and team morale and engagement benefits. It also forecasts a benefit from the project related to printing and archiving costs.

SA Water’s energy management for a zero cost energy future project

This project aims to deliver a step-change in how SA Water meets its energy needs.

“We really needed some smart technology to help us manage our assets, and at the basic level, make sure that we could deliver the business case,” said Nicola Murphy, Senior Manager Supply Chain and Zero Cost Energy Future, SA Water.

SA Water wanted to ensure it could get full benefit of its investment in the assets, and integrate with the energy market – selling energy when the price is high and storing it when the price is low, while ensuring it has enough energy for its operations. It also needed to maintain those assets.

“At the time the program commenced there was actually no one system on the market anywhere in the world to do everything we needed,” Murphy said.

SA Water looked to integrate best-of-breed applications, commissioning an auto-bidding system which involved integration of the Tesla energy bidding solution with the Australian Energy Market Operator system.

Solutions also included the Australian company Energy Exemplar’s PLEXOS optimisation and scheduling tool. SA Water's wholly-owned subsidiary Enerven handled physical installation of solar panels, batteries and solar farm infrastructure.

SA Water designed an IT architecture program to procure and integrate available technology and developed additional software internally, including new platforms capable of real-time operation, monitoring, maintenance and performance optimisation of the energy generation asset infrastructure.

In 2020-21, 25 sites were energised and connected to the grid. SA Water expects annual savings of up to $50 million once all sites are energised, with the Energy Management System expected to contribute more than $5 million by optimising generation, storage, usage and selling of energy.

SA Water expects the entire program will reduce carbon emissions to the equivalent of planting seven million trees or taking 32,000 cars off the road every year.

Sydney Water’s large-scale IoT wastewater blockage detection deployment

For 25 years, Sydney Water has run a monitoring and control system for its large assets, such as treatment, pumping stations and reservoirs. But it had little visibility of other parts of the network such as smaller pipes.

Instead of deploying SCADA and monitoring systems that rely on mains power and a lot of hardware in sealed enclosures, it chose to roll out Internet of Things (IoT) systems with small batteries that Sydney Water IoT Technical Analyst, Operational Technology, Adam Drenoyanis estimates will last anywhere from five to 10 years.

With half a million excess chambers at risk of overflowing, the first step was to identify those most at risk - 26,000 chambers fell into that category.

As Sydney Water Internet of Things Manager, Christoph Prackwieser, explains, that was just the start of the challenges, which also included finding suitable network connectivity and devices built for harsh environments. 

A machine learning based site selection tool was developed to identify sites at the highest risk of overflowing. An IoT platform was developed and processes implemented so that operations receive alarms and assess them in a spatial system.

Sydney Water has installed more than 4800 devices and continues to add more. The solution has detected an average of 20 blockages in the gravity sewer network per month and 290 blockages at environmentally high-risk sites have been identified and cleared.

Watch the mini-documentary series

Thank you to every organisation that entered the Best Industrial Project Award category. 

Watch the rest of the mini-documentaries about the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards finalists’ projects here .

On June 15, the award winners will be announced at a ceremony and dinner hosted by KPMG in Barangaroo, Sydney.

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