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Sensor-based monitoring of storage refrigerators

IoT Use Case - ifm, refrigerators
3 minutes Reading time
3 minutes Reading time

Industrial adhesives are frequently used in electronics manufacturing. They must be stored refrigerated to maintain their adhesive effect. An Industrial IoT solution with cost-effective sensors based on IO-Link is suitable for efficient monitoring of the temperature.

The challenge: Storage of sensitive industrial adhesives

Industrial adhesives such as acrylic, epoxy, polyurethane or silicone help to join components in many industries. Companies in electronics and automation technology also use them frequently. Many components are temperature-sensitive and are not soldered in, but merely plugged on – which makes gluing necessary. Added to this are the high cycle times during production: applying an adhesive dot is faster than other types of fastening.

A manufacturer of hardware and software for industrial automation uses adhesives with specific storage conditions. They even have a best before date, after which the adhesive effect is no longer guaranteed. For this reason, refrigerators are located in every production area for storing the required adhesives at the optimum temperature.

Typical problems include refrigerator doors that are not closed properly, incorrect settings, or refrigeration compressor malfunctions. A regular inspection of all refrigerators means a considerable investment of time and personnel. Therefore, the manufacturer was looking for a monitoring solution that would detect a drop in temperature and an open door and alert employees.

The solution: Smart Monitoring with io-key

The company opted for a solution from ifm electronic based on the io-key IoT gateway. The device is compatible with the sensors of many manufacturers. It establishes the connection to these sensors using the industrial protocol IO-Link. Another advantage is connectivity: It uses the NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) network, which is optimized for IIoT connections, in addition to conventional mobile communications (2G).

Each refrigerator is equipped with an io-key, which is connected to one IO-Link temperature sensor and one inductive sensor each to detect the door status. The information is transmitted to a central, secure cloud via mobile communications. There, the data is displayed in real time in a dashboard. The frequency of data transmission can be flexibly determined: from 10-second intervals to transmission every 24 hours.

Alarm messages in the event of temperature exceedances or door opening times that are too long are issued immediately by mail or SMS, as well as on site as an acoustic and visual signal, regardless of the selected interval. This allows the responsible employee to react quickly. Thanks to a reporting function, temperature curves can also be traced in retrospect over the long term, for example in the event of quality problems.


The result: Monitoring without personnel costs

The automated plug & play solution with io-key monitors the storage of all adhesives as reliably as efficiently. All necessary information is available centrally and in case of problems there is an alert on site.

The time and personnel required for a manual check is thus reduced to a minimum. Only in the event of an alarm do employees have to check the refrigerator and rectify the faults. The solution also minimizes initial investment, as no physical connection to an IT infrastructure, including costly cabling, is required.

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