ScottishPower is one of the UK’s largest employers and has a generating plant portfolio of 6,400MW. Their Generation Division is organised around key physical assets – coal, gas, windfarm and hydro-electric power stations – essential in providing electricity to over 5.2m customers.
Between 1998 and 2001, Scottish Power embarked on a large scale infrastructure project at Longannet Power Station. This involved a phased upgrade of the systems and processes used to control each of their four Generation Units.
As part of this project, Elite Controls was asked to audit existing change procedures, develop new procedures where necessary and identify the best long-term solution for storing and controlling changes, to this type of equipment.
Elite Controls quickly realised that any system would need the ability to control design, rules and standards; log faults and settings; manage changes as they happen; and control software and hardware settings. The system should also meet the regulatory requirements of external auditors, in this case the British Standard Institute (BSI).
An extensive search of the marketplace suggested that there was no one application that met all or indeed many of these requirements.
With this in mind, Elite Controls set about developing a system that would not only meet the needs of Scottish Power but could also be applied to other organisations and industries, facing similar issues. For ease of use, the system was based on a Microsoft user interface and the industry standard SQL database platform. The solution was called Asset Guardian.
Asset Guardian was implemented at Longannet Power Station in early 2004 and quickly introduced to Cathcart, Cockenzie and Cruachan soon after. Asset Guardian is now resident at all Generation sites.
Asset Guardian provides Scottish Power a number of key benefits:
- Being accessible from remote sites, the system allows central engineering staff the ability to control changes across all sites from one location
- It provides fully auditable records of software backups
- It manages the configuration of process critical systems
- It ensures compliance with a range of quality and safety standards
- It reduces downtime when faults occur and provides an invaluable knowledge base of frequently occurring faults
- The system has minimised previous problems when new versions of software have been introduced, specifically around documentation, review and approval
Scottish Power now consider Asset Guardian a “Must Have” tool for business continuity and audit compliance.
“Asset Guardian more than adequately fulfills our needs. It is an essential, cost effective and reliable solution that has no viable alternative” – John Thompson, Project Manager