With Invero’s help, Neptune Bulk Terminals made their asset performance and reliability reports visual and interactive using Microsoft Power BI.
Neptune Bulk Terminals is a bulk shipping terminal and a critical link in the supply chain transporting Canada's commodities to world markets for over 50 years.
Headquarters:  North Vancouver, Canada
What they ship:  Neptune handles potash from Saskatchewan and steelmaking coal from British Columbia and Alberta.

THE CHALLENGE

Identify and Manage Asset Reliability Risks to Maintain Neptune’s Operations

Neptune, like many modern organizations, manages vast amounts of complex data. Their 71-acre facility in North Vancouver operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with three shifts daily and can handle over 23.5 million tonnes of bulk products a year—with a planned $800-million upgrade in progress. These operations produce 19,000+ data points per second. Some of this data is needed to visualize and identify assets that need attention or improvement. Managing uptime and failures correctly can help significantly reduce the negative impact on operations.

Neptune needed a digital solution to enable them to:

  • Gather and analyze complex data to make informed decisions. Manually compiling key performance indicators was incredibly inefficient for their reliability engineering team due to the volume of data points. Reliability engineers spent weeks poring over spreadsheets or manually creating reports related to their equipment availability and reliability.
  • Automate data aggregation and present it visually. Without an automated data aggregation and presentation solution, it was too onerous to efficiently process site reliability data.
  • Implement a data analytics solution in the cloud to draw insights quicker, achieve scalability and agility, and keep their data secure. Using Microsoft Power BI, they transformed their data into real-time insights, key performance indicators and dashboards.

THE SOLUTION

Visualize Complex Data and Manage Uptime of Assets

Our Approach
  • Through a unique and trusted partnership, Invero and QCA Systems—an industrial systems integrator and long-standing Neptune partner (20 years)—helped the organization identify and manage asset reliability risks that could adversely affect business operations.
  • QCA Systems, with its industrial domain expertise, helped collect, ingest, and analyze data from multiple industrial sources in an integrated and secure way. Invero brought the Microsoft Azure platform expertise to the table—together, QCA and Invero leveraged their knowledge of cloud-based infrastructure and industrial systems to develop the solution collaboratively.
  • Using an iterative process, the team built various dashboards designed to securely show key reliability metrics such as Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), Availability, and reliability.
  • The primary value of the reliability dashboards was to visually identify equipment with low performing KPIs that would target site improvements and improve valuable equipment uptime.
  • The synergy of the team helped deliver remarkable outcomes for Neptune within four short months.
Technology Used
  • Rockwell Automation Historian and Alarm and Events
  • Azure Analytics Services
  • Azure DevOps
  • Azure Data Factory
  • Azure Service Bus
  • Advanced Message Queueing Protocol (AMQP)
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Power BI

THE RESULTS

Targeted Site Improvements and Increased Equipment Uptime

Real-Time, Instantaneous Reporting

Manual reliability reporting that used to take weeks is now available instantaneously, and visual dashboards are easily shared across the enterprise. Moving the data to the cloud reduced data latency—or the time between data capture and visualization—dramatically.

Team Efficiency



The reliability engineering team can identify troubled equipment immediately and know exactly where to focus their efforts. The process saves substantial time and costs and minimizes equipment downtime.

Scalable, Extensible and Secure Solution

Neptune has an analytics environment that is scalable, extensible and in the cloud—and more secure than their on-premises systems. Neptune is encouraged with the project’s outcome and plans to expand this capability to other areas at its site.

Logistics worker benefits from Azure migration & cloud optimization