Lumber and building material supplier, Bethel Mills, is the oldest continually operating business in Vermont. Since its opening in 1781, it has run equipment using water power from the White River near Bethel. Over its 237-year tenure, the business has expanded and employed an array of technology solutions to power mill operations. In 1941, the company transitioned their power from mechanical systems to electrical generation.
Complicated Setup Required Remote Monitoring
Today, Bethel Mills’ power generation site features an unmanned hydroelectric plant overseeing two independent turbines and generators. Several interconnected, supporting pieces of equipment such as pumps, gates, compressors, backup generation, automatic flashboards and a hydraulic intake rake also operate at the generation plant.
Because the hydropower site is unmanned, they needed an alarm notification system that would alert them to potential safety hazards and potential maintenance requirements. This way they could ensure the power and related equipment would not go down without having to send people to site to check on it all the time. Over the years, Bethel Mills has integrated modern equipment, protection systems and performed many environmental upgrades. Currently, they have one of the most modern hydroelectric setups in the industry. However, the immensity of their operation poses unique challenges in keeping up with current technology.
Modern Hydroelectric Plant with a Rudimentary Alarm System
They had a very rudimentary alarm notification system that used a phone and recorded messages. The system was limited to alerts based on a single scenario, and ill-equipped to enable maintenance alerts. After a referral by Casco, who provides their operations software, Bethel Mills contacted Win-911 alarm notification for a more versatile, integrated solution to alert operators to potential dangers, like flooding from the river or uncontained electrical fires and to proactively alert maintenance personnel to fix problems before trouble occurs.
New Alert System Handles Over 50 Different Scenarios
Initially, Bethel Mills opted for a basic text notification system, but soon decided they needed something more comprehensive – able to handle scores of alerts and create complex escalation paths. This posed a challenge, because their existing hardware, which while advanced for their industry conflicted with WIN-911’s most up to date version. WIN-911 provided Bethel Mills a prior version of the software that runs on their legacy hardware, with a guarantee to upgrade the software when they upgrade their hardware.
Where once a single critical system was monitored, Bethel Mills is now able to receive information from many sensors on multiple pieces of equipment. This allows them to gain more insight into plant operations and to arrange for the right maintenance personnel without having to visit the site.
Win-911 has reduced station checks by 75%, affording plant supervisors more time to better manage the daily workflow and focus on pressing lumber mill matters.
“I have confidence in the WIN-911 alarm notification system It allows me to efficiently oversee my remote power generation plant,” says Daniel Perry, information technology manager, Bethel Mills. “The system generates alarm notifications that allow us to respond to critical safety challenges and to proactively maintain equipment. We rely on it to keep the power plant up and running so that the mill operates smoothly.”