How Digital Twins Are Making Hydroelectric Dams Last Longer and Work Better
August 31, 2017
GE Reports Canada
Veerum, a Zone Startups Calgary company, is making it easy to upgrade aging hydroelectric dams. First step: create a Digital Twin.
North American hydroelectric infrastructure is often decades old and many dams need a retrofit. For example, a generator may need a motor replaced. This type of project poses a lot of logistical challenges, especially since these dams are often in remote locations.
Veerum uses many different types of sensors to make Digital Twins of industrial sites, so companies can plan improvements or resolve issues in the virtual world before construction is impacted in the real world. All the data from those sensors is uploaded to the Cloud, where the data processing is powered by GE’s Predix platform.
Hydroelectric dams are perfect candidates for Digital Twins, because they are often hard to access, and so any mistake in planning—like if a part or tool is missing, or if something doesn’t fit—can cause lengthy, costly delays.
Once the Digital Twin has been created, it adds value to every stage of the project: new components can be designed using precise replicas of the existing site, fabricated materials can be vetted for fit right at the source, and logistical questions like shipment routes can be easily optimized. Even bidding is improved with a Digital Twin, as hydroelectric companies can give vendors accurate site information to enable more competitive quoting.
Here’s how it works.