Eka Chemicals plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Canada, to use GE's new asset optimization solution to help reduce transformer-caused downtime

ATLANTA , July 14, 2009 (press release) – GE Energy today announced that the Eka Chemicals Plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Canada, will be the first to demonstrate GE’s new smart grid solution for asset optimization to help reduce transformer-caused downtime in the plant. With this new solution, six of Eka’s electrical transformers will soon be having regular ‘conversations’ with advanced data modeling systems, GE engineers and transformer experts to monitor transformer health and uncover potential problems at the earliest possible stage.

Eka Chemicals Canada, Inc. relies on transformers to produce sodium chlorate crystal, used in the pulp and paper industry. Transformer failure could reduce or halt manufacturing output and revenue stream, making transformer health paramount to their operation.

This first collaborative effort demonstrating GE’s new smart grid Asset Optimization service offering will illustrate how utilities and industrial sites can improve productivity, maximize transformer performance and extend asset life through status-based maintenance and upgrades.

“This asset optimization concept is in line with numerous efforts in place to maintain our world-class manufacturing facility,” said Jean Goyette, Eka’s Valleyfield plant manager. “The transformers are the heart of the process. Any preventive action that helps optimize the life of the equipment represents stability in the supply and helps Eka maintain a low manufacturing cost."

More than 50% of transformers globally are reaching the end of their design life.1 Failure rates are going up with age, making it increasingly challenging and costly to replace failed assets. Asset Optimization is part of GE’s smart grid portfolio of solutions to help customers maximize performance and productivity of their aging assets.

GE’s Asset Optimization sensors monitor several key transformer health indicators throughout the day. Advanced software processes this information to quickly identify developing faults within the monitored assets and even look into the future, providing a prognosis of the transformer’s ongoing health. From here, the system, along with GE transformer experts, can recommend maintenance or upgrades to help prevent the problems from occurring and keep transformers in operation.

“GE’s unique solution continuously evaluates performance and detects developing problems in the transformer at the earliest possible opportunity,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president, transmission and distribution at GE Energy. “GE’s demonstration project at Eka Chemicals will serve as a model for how industrial customers and utilities could improve productivity across the globe.”

Through industry collaborations, GE will deliver one of the broadest portfolio offerings in the industry to modernize electrical systems, from the power plant to the consumer. From smarter appliances to technologies for plug-in hybrid vehicles, to providing renewable technologies and smart meters, GE has the breadth and knowledge needed to increase energy productivity all the way up and down the lines.

Eka Chemicals, with 2,718 employees in 28 countries, is a business unit within AkzoNobel, a leading industrial company based in Amsterdam. AkzoNobel specializes in a wide range of paints, coatings and specialty chemicals, and is passionate about introducing new ideas and developing sustainable answers for their customers.

About GE Energy

GE Energy (http://www.ge.com/energy) is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies, with 2008 revenue of $29.3 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy works in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels. Numerous GE Energy products are certified under ecomagination, GE’s corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.

About GE

GE is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at http://www.ge.com. GE is Imagination at Work.

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