Success Story

National Lab Sensor Technology Attracts Major Market Player

The success of modern industries – especially those that are electricity-intensive – depends on complex engineering systems to ensure safe, productive and efficient operations. System breakdowns can result in millions of dollars in lost time and productivity – and even the loss of life and property. For example, in the utilities industry, where the continuous operation of coolant pumps is essential, the breakdown of a single pump can result in a loss of as much as $10 million in revenue.

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory devised a unique early-warning system, called the Multivariate State Estimation Technique (MSET) that monitors the performance of sensors, equipment and plant processes in an industrial environment. A highly sensitive, highly accurate tool, MSET monitors the operations of any process that uses multiple sensors, detecting and alerting users of potential danger long before it occurs.

MSET has been used for light water reactor signal validation applications at the Florida Power Corporation Cystal River 3 nuclear power station. During the initial testing, MSET detected and identified a number of sensor problems. Other applications outside the power industry include improved manufacturing, enhanced energy use for co-generation technology, sensor validation for commercial jet engines, improved pharmaceutical quality assurance and aerospace applications.