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Early fault detection for air conditioning systems

IoT Use Case Lackmann, 02 Telefónica
3 minutes Reading time
3 minutes Reading time

At the height of summer, air conditioning systems in commercial buildings are in continuous operation during the day and are therefore heavily loaded. An air conditioning service provider was looking for better maintenance forecasting for all the systems it manages.

The challenge: Heavily loaded air conditioning systems in commercial buildings

Many office buildings have large glass facades. They provide bright rooms, but must be strongly air-conditioned in midsummer. A similar situation applies to other commercial properties. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) systems are under heavy load during this time. As a result, systems malfunction and failures occur more frequently.

Often the refrigerant compressors become defective or refrigerant leaks occur. As a result, the performance of the systems decrease or they fail completely. In most cases, this does not happen suddenly, but it is a gradual development over time. At some point, the temperatures in the building rise significantly and a service technician has to check the equipment and spend a long time looking for faults.

Faced with these difficulties, a supplier and service provider for HVAC systems was looking for a solution to detect the faults early on. In addition, they would like to have more and better information about the condition of the plants in order to be able to better plan the service technicians’ assignments and to provide them with the right spare parts as soon as they leave.

The solution: Monitoring the systems in the Industrial IoT

The existing air conditioning systems cannot be monitored remotely. To develop the solution, the company is working together with the Codestryke GmbH.  The provider of Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) solutions for mechanical engineering and production technology developed a monitoring application that works with the iCOMOX Sensor Box from Arrow.  

This sensor box is designed as an open development platform for IIoT-based plant monitoring and is particularly suitable for retrofitting existing plants. Their sensors detect the vibration of the compressor in the air conditioners. This is because when there is no coolant left, the unit vibrates differently than when it is completely full. In this way, the sensor box detects whether there is sufficient coolant and the compressor is working correctly.

Data is sent to the cloud via an edge device for filtering and compression. Depending on the situation on site and the customer’s requirements, connections are established via Narrow Band IoT (mobile radio), via cable(Power over Ethernet, PoE) or via SmartMesh IP wireless network.  Through a cloud-based analytics solution, the service manager gains access to the data and is notified of the devices that need to be serviced.

The result: Easy maintenance and rapid troubleshooting

Codestryke’s solution enables optimal planning of service technicians’ routes. They also receive in advance all the necessary information about the work of maintenance and repair. The overall maintenance of the air conditioning systems is more efficient, and time-consuming troubleshooting is also avoided. Since the running times of the air conditioning systems are optimized at the same time, cooling in office buildings is guaranteed even during periods of intensive use of the air conditioning.

In application

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