Salt River Project Uses IIoT to Prevent Losses

Andrew Johnson, Engineering Supervisor, Salt River Project, presented “Performance Monitoring Center” for asset monitoring and diagnostics during the ARC Forum session, “Moving to Predictive Maintenance with Industrial IoT (IIoT).”  Salt River Project (SRP), the oldest multipurpose federal reclamation project in the United States, has been serving central Arizona since 1903.


Today, SRP is based in Phoenix and provides the area’s electric power generation and water delivery. This presentation focuses on the power generation portion of the business.  SRP monitors seven fossil and four hydro power generation sites containing a total of 27 units with more than 500 asset models covering generators, turbines, feed pumps and other assets with over 50,000 available tags.

Business Driver

As is typical in the power industry, SRP’s customers expect very reliable service. SRP’s Performance Monitoring Center helps achieve this goal while controlling costs by identifying issues before they lead to equipment failure with extended unplanned downtime.


The performance monitoring center uses GE Digital’s SmartSignal predictive analytics software. SmartSignal uses machine learning techniques to automate the building of models, in this case, using SRP’s historical data collected from the plants.  The algorithms in these models have been carefully trained by experienced engineers to replicate SRP’s operations.  The software takes readings every 10 minutes.  If the equipment doesn’t perform as expected, the software raises an alert.  From the assets and associated tags, thousands of individual data point streams go into the models continuously.


The SmartSignal software covers steady-state, baseload power generation. Another GE product, CycleWatch, covers assets used for peak loads that often start up and shutdown.  The software compares the data at each point in the cycle to similar expected behavior from reference “golden” starts.  Removing the expected variation provides indications of the subtle changes from cycle to cycle.

SRP uses OSIsoft PI software for collecting and managing the historical data, and SmartSignal is integrated with this historian to obtain historical and current data.

The analysts in the performance monitoring center have decades of experience at SRP. This provides them with a clear understanding of the equipment and how it functions, and helps ensure buy-in from the plants.  When alerts occur, the analysts review them to remove false positive alarms and further train the model.  For the real alerts, meaningful information is added to make them actionable.  These alerts are forwarded to the operating plants who take ownership for the associated activities.


Since starting the SmartSignal program in 2012 and through to 2016, SRP identified more than 1,900 issues, of which 800 were “catches.” A catch is a problem that the plant was not previously aware of and, with the new alerts, was able to take corrective action.  With time and improved training of the algorithms, the rate at which the company identifies true issues and catches has improved.

SuccessFuture plans include expanding the monitoring to other assets, evaluating the value of the related cost savings, and integrating with the enterprise asset management system.

Readers can view a video of Mr. Johnson’s Forum presentation here

“Reprinted with permission, original blog was posted here. You may also visit here for more such insights on the digital transformation of industry.

About ARC Advisory Group ( Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.

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About the Author:

Ralph Rio

Vice President, Enterprise Software, ARC Advisory Group, Boston

Ralph’s focus areas include Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Field Service Management (FSM), Global Service Providers (GSP), and 3D Scanning systems & software.

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