Thermotec GmbH, based in Bornheim in the Rhineland, is a specialist in heating technology and plant services that, among other things, rents out site dryers for large construction sites. This equipment works around the clock and must be reliable so that contractors do not lose valuable time. That’s why Thermotec uses an IIoT solution to remotely monitor the dryers.
The challenge: Reliable condition monitoring sought
In order to meet all the requirements of its customers, Thermotec needs information about the condition of the site dryers. This mainly concerns the temperatures of the heating circuit, the burner cycles and the fuel tank level. This data is used within the framework of condition monitoring to be able to react quickly in the event of problems. Otherwise, the company is in danger of losing dissatisfied customers.
The devices are equipped with a manufacturer’s solution that uses sensors to determine some of the desired values. Unfortunately, the included SIM card for the cellular connection to the IIoT does not work reliably. Frequent connectivity problems due to poor network availability cause avoidable outages.
In addition, many customers want to check their devices themselves and ask for a corresponding cloud solution. The fill level is particularly important here, so that they can top up or reorder fuel in good time. Manual inspection of the dryers installed on numerous large construction sites would be too costly.
The solution: High network availability with io-Key
Thermotec GmbH opted for a solution from IFM electronic that uses the io-key IoT gateway. The device establishes the connection to the sensors industrial protocol IO-Link. This standardization makes io-key compatible with about 10,000 sensors from many manufacturers. Another advantage is that it uses the NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) network, which is optimized for IIoT connections, in addition to conventional mobile communications (2G).
Thermotec GmbH decided to use retrofitted sensors to obtain additional data, such as the switching cycles of the heating burner and the temperatures at different measuring points. The sensors are networked with the io-key via IO-Link and use the network connection to send their data to the cloud.
The solution also includes a connection to the IFM Cloud, which receives all data. The data is visualized in real time and displayed in a dashboard. The frequency of the data query can be flexibly determined: from once every 10 seconds to once per day. By defining alarm messages, users are informed by push message, SMS or e-mail when certain limits are exceeded.
The result: Fast response to faults
The combination of io-key as a gateway, compatible sensors and the standard protocol IO-Link enables fast and cost-effective solutions in practice. IFM electronic has developed a solution for the condition monitoring of construction site dryers for Thermotec GmbH that works reliably and automatically. Faults are reported in real time and can be quickly rectified by service staff. In addition, the IFM Cloud gives contractors insight into important parameters such as fuel tank levels. Here, too, the IIoT allows an early response.