Condition monitoring for nuclear power industry enters the cloud

PORTLAND, Maine – Aware Technology has announced the licensing of its Process Data Monitor (PDM) solution to ChemStaff, an engineering services firm that focuses on the needs of the nuclear power industry. The license allows ChemStaff to remotely monitor conditions within its portfolio of nuclear power customers using a cloud-based delivery model. ChemStaff has been piloting PDM to identify production-related anomalies and to implement corrective actions at numerous client facilities since early 2011.

PDM was officially released in September 2011 as a solution for condition monitoring and anomaly detection. Based on technology licensed from NASA, PDM applies both patented and patent-pending capabilities that facilitate the identification of both unique and negative behavior. Unlike typical monitoring technologies deployed in production environments, PDM is not limited to monitoring the performance of either individual variables or individual systems. Rather, the technology actively monitors the data streams from numerous, interacting sources, and it applies a clustering algorithm to recognize patterns that represent the fingerprints of unusual and/or troubling trends.

PDM leverages a powerful data clustering and pattern recognition algorithm first introduced by NASA and more recently enhanced by Aware Technology. The original NASA algorithm has been used extensively in the monitoring of complex systems ranging from the launch of the space shuttle to the control and maintenance of the International Space Station. With the release of PDM, Aware Technology has broadened the technology's market applicability, enabling companies such as ChemStaff to employ PDM in specialized applications such as the monitoring of water chemistry at a nuclear power generation facility.

"PDM has become an essential component in our solution portfolio as it is clearly increases the value of our remote service offering," says Joe Bates, founder and principal of ChemStaff. "Using PDM's pattern recognition capabilities we can see the relationships between numerous interacting systems and provide timely analysis of a plant's dynamic water chemistry. Once a pattern has been characterized, we're able to actively look for the same 'fingerprint' and keep a pre-approved remediation strategy at the ready. In the nuclear power arena, that's a major step forward."

Pattern recognition is particularly useful at nuclear plants because they operate at steady levels and have extensive instrumentation and sensors installed throughout the plant. Any deviation from a normal pattern is an early indication that something is wrong. PDM alerts ChemStaff engineers, and they can, in turn, work with plant staff to correct the underlying issue before it results in an unplanned shutdown or damage to the plant.

PDM is licensed either as an enterprise application or as a cloud-based application. ChemStaff is the first customer to leverage the cloud-based model, and they will be using it to monitor the performance of over 25% of the nuclear power facilities located in the United States by the end of the year. Earlier in 2011 Aware Technology entered into a reseller relationship with Control Station where PDM has been bundled with their PlantESP application. Control Station targets the needs of the process automation market.

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