Qualitative measurements for quality enterprise management

The chief metrologist of TGC-16 JSC tell about the role of measurement information in the work of thermal power stations

Qualitative measurements for quality enterprise management Photo: photo courtesy of TGC-16

TGC-16 JSC is one of the largest producers of electric and thermal energy in Tatarstan. The company's tasks include the operation of power plants-branches — Nizhnekamsk CHP (PTK-1) and Kazan CHP-3. The results of constant and accurate measurements of thousands of parameters are the basis for safe and effective business activities, technological processes, protection of personnel and the environment, minimizing the risks of management decisions. Andrey Voropaev, the chief metrologist at TGC-16 JSC, told more about the role of measurements in the company's work.

How does it work?

The company's metrology service is small and consists of the company's chief metrologist and two branch metrology laboratories — 11 people in total. Metrology laboratories are modern high-tech units equipped with all the necessary measuring instruments, standards, electronic computers and software. Laboratory staff constantly improves their skills, participates in seminars and exhibitions, train to work with new equipment.

The federal law “On ensuring the uniformity of measurements” and regulatory documents on metrological support covers all stages of operation of power plants. Therefore, the field of responsibility of metrological service includes all measuring processes, measuring instruments, automated measuring systems and measuring subsystems of control systems. In total, there are about 20,000 measuring instruments and several dozens of measuring systems. All of them are provided with periodic verification and calibration, which are carried out by more than a dozen suppliers of metrological services.

The company's metrology laboratories are not accredited for verification for economic reasons, but the laboratory staff are competent organizers and they control the results of the metrology service providers. At the same time, internal expertise on measurement issues is entirely in their power. Approvals by the metrology service pass all technical specifications for the supply of measuring instruments, construction or modernization of capital construction projects, all technical conditions for connection to networks, during which the regulatory and technical requirements for the quality of measurements and measurement subsystems of objects, equipment for transmission, storage and visualization of measurement information are determined. Also, the stages of the design and acceptance of facilities cannot pass by the metrologists, during which the measuring tasks assigned in the technical specification are confirmed. After the acceptance of measuring instruments for metrological service, metrologists enter information about them into an electronic database and thus take all measuring instruments for “life support”.

Quality — through automatization

For accurate control over such a large fleet of measuring instruments, TGC-16 JSC has introduced the automated system 1C-Metrology. It contains a complete electronic database of all operating measuring instruments, automates the performance control of the schedules of verifications and calibrations, automates the planning of works and the costs for metrological services. In the near future, the task is to master the functionality of the system for planning maintenance and repair of measuring instruments.

Andrey Voropaev, the chief metrologist at TGC-16, told about the role of measurements in the company's work. Photo courtesy of TGC-16

Having a small service staff, the chief metrologist initially set the task of maximum automation of processes that require constant monitoring of the quality of measurements. For this reason, the company introduced the automatic out-of-balance control system of the most expensive energy source that the company purchases — natural gas. The systems constantly compare the results of gas measurements at different points, control the permissible error and signal the need for control measures at the measurement nodes. Moreover, the permissible error in this case is set not to the maximum possible in the documents on the hubs, but on the actually achieved values of unbalance at the instrumental control of all hubs included in the system. Therefore, the value of the unbalance really controlled by the system has been reduced by an order of magnitude and is stably maintained. With the help of automatic balance control systems, it was possible to move from the planned control of the metrological characteristics of measuring units to their control in real condition. With their help, it was possible to identify problems with rather old equipment of some measuring units, to justify and carry out modernization and updating of some elements. This, in turn, allowed, without having to replace the entire metering unit, with minimal costs, and using domestic, well-proven equipment, to improve the quality and reliability of natural gas measurements. The implementation of continuous monitoring of the metrological characteristics of gas measurement units by the balance method and the achieved stable indicators of high quality measurements allowed to eliminate unjustified losses of the company and were highly appreciated by the specialists of natural gas suppliers.

Now the work with metering units of other energy resources — water, electric and thermal energy — is going the same way. The centralized measuring and computing systems of accounting of thermal energy of branches, working more than 25 years, are evolutionarily replaced with the distributed measuring system functioning on new calculators of the Russian production.

In general, it should be noted that the quality of measuring instruments produced by Russian enterprises has greatly increased in recent time. Apparently, this was facilitated by the sanctions policy of foreign states. However, the fact remains that even in the construction of completely new facilities such as CCP blocks, the foreign designers, after their assessments, do not oppose the use of Russian measuring equipment.

Symbiosis of professionalism, technologies and automation

Without digitalization, today it is simply impossible to manage large enterprises qualitatively. Therefore, the metrological service acts as the guarantor not only of high-quality measurement data, but also in parallel provides the availability of measurement results for automation systems of a higher level — management of the company — through technical solutions. To do this, they are currently preparing to introduce a comprehensive energy accounting system of the company's branches, which will provide round-the-clock automatic collection, storage, visualization of measurement information from all energy metering units and transfer it to the enterprise management system. The system is selected from the best representatives of the Russian production, providing stable development and support of a wide range of modern measuring equipment.

Of course, the qualitative system of metrological support of modern production is the basis for achieving high-quality measurement results. Without this, it is impossible to build high-quality enterprise management systems, analytics systems and quality forecasting systems. Therefore, the metrological service of TGC-16 JSC focuses on the symbiosis of the factors such as the professionalism of the staff, the possession of modern technologies and automation of routine processes. These factors together create a synergistic effect that enhances the analytical abilities of the service, constantly increasing its readiness to solve complex, non-standard tasks.

Partnership material

By Alina Gubaydullina
Tatarstan