Leveraging Data Hierarchy Across MMS and APM Platforms

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Power Utility

Use Case

Build Asset Framework to support advanced analytics

Nova Scotia Power (NSP) is a fully-integrated power utility serving 500,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across the province. A 1,700 strong team helps manage $4.1 bn worth of generation, transmission and distribution assets producing more than 10,000 gigawatt hours of electricity each year. NSP chose the Element AF Accelerator packaged solution that combines Element’s PI AF experts using a proven industrial data methodology and its Element Unify™ software to build smarter AFs in as little as 30 days.


Nova Scotia Power (NSP) is an industry leader in formalized Asset Management. They recognized that in projects where data is being exchanged between systems, there are always gaps that can impact data quality and trust. NSP’s existing MMS (Maintenance Management Systems) and Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions such as GE Predix APM, have a common equipment hierarchy that are used for diagnosis and analytics work by a broad team representing Operations, Engineering and Management. Aligning these around a single PI Asset Framework (AF) hierarchy to visualize discrepancies and to enable multiple views of the asset, offers users a “one-stop shop” approach that can support advanced analytics with trusted data.

To provide users with all available digital information related to an asset using a browser, NSP needed to upgrade their OSIsoft PI servers and leverage the existing data hierarchies across MMS and APM platforms. NSP had some legacy OSIsoft PI Servers with no PI AF capability and a long history of PI tags that, in some cases, had a reasonable structure, but in all cases, were not associated with physical assets. This required constant attention from subject matter experts. The review of the PI tags was always reliant on either a ProcessBook or Excel workbooks which invariably resided on individual users’ laptops. Unfortunately, many of the more experienced Operations and Engineering personnel are retiring and the transfer of knowledge has been a huge challenge requiring an investment in extra time and resources.


NSP chose the Element AF Accelerator packaged software solution that combines Element’s AF experts using a proven industrial data methodology and its Element Unify software allowing NSP to build smarter AFs in as little as 30 days. Element helped to construct AF templates for all their high fail asset classes. The existing hierarchy for 5 multi-unit Coal generation thermal plants were imported into Element Unify and contextualized using a sophisticated asset data contextualization process to construct a comprehensive AF representing the NSP data hierarchy.


Element Unify was used to construct an AF hierarchy that replicated the hierarchy from NSP’s MMS and APM solutions. The common look of the hierarchy, and the ability to associate previously random tags to physical assets, will enable NSP to start transitioning traditional PI ProcessBook and Microsoft Excel standalone client visualizations to server-based PI Vision. This allowed them to build smarter AFs in as little as 30 days.

Thousands of existing tags and thousands of newly created tags were contextualized with their physical Asset IDs for use with PI Vision and PI Analytics. The unique Asset ID can be used as a URL key to jump users fluidly from one vendor's visualization to another. Being able to present multiple views of the asset in several web panes offers a single software solution for diagnosis and analytics work by Operations, Engineering and Management users.

With the end goal of data transformation in mind, AF Accelerator is helping to construct a future Web Portal where individual views will be consolidated into a single asset view with multiple panes. This will enable any user access to the as-designed, as-operated, and as-maintained view of any asset.

The Element AF Accelerator is helping to align flexible hierarchical views across our maintenance, APM, and operations systems

Mike Greene
Operations Technology Leader, Nova Scotia Power
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