Transparency is becoming increasingly important in our digital world, and sustainable decisions can only be made with the right data. Manufacturing companies are therefore faced with the challenge of obtaining an accurate overview of the energy consumption of their machinery and detecting losses at an early stage. Based on these analyses, appropriate measures can be taken to achieve savings or avoid peak loads.
The challenge: Unrecognized compressed air losses
For engineers, compressed air is such an important resource that it is often cited as one of the most important supply media in industry – after electricity, water and gas. Studies estimate that ten percent of all industrial energy is used to produce compressed air alone.
In industrial plants, for example, countless liters of compressed air flow through pneumatic systems every day, and the compressors used for this purpose measure the amount of compressed air produced very precisely. However, the situation is completely different for the consumption, because it is unknown in most cases. However, this means that through leakages in the compressed air system significant quantities can be lost undetected – and this is a critical problem in times of sustainable production, because the potential savings in production are enormous.
However, consumption is often not measured on the machines themselves. If the compressed air is not sufficient, another compressor is often installed rather than checking where compressed air is lost and how much compressed air can be saved where.
To increase efficiency and minimize costs, no great effort is required – all the relevant data is already available, you just have to lift the treasure trove of data. This can be done very well with the help of powerful technical solutions and the Internet of Things.
The solution: A combination of hardware, software and services
SMC Germany GmbH is a leading manufacturer, partner and solution provider for pneumatic and electric automation technology based in Egelsbach near Frankfurt am Main. The company has been active on the German market since 1978. SMC uses its product range of more than 12,000 basic models with over 700,000 variants for individual customer solutions in a wide variety of industries such as the automotive, electrical, medical, packaging and food industries as well as machine tool manufacturing. More than 700 employees work for SMC throughout Germany. This means that all customers have access to a comprehensive, competent support team which, thanks to its proximity to customers and experience, is constantly working on further and new developments.
As a leading manufacturer, partner and solution provider for pneumatic and electric automation technology, SMC Germany always focuses on the optimal customer solution. This was also the case in this instance, where SMC has developed an all-round package for energy transparency, which consists of a compact, ready-to-plug-in assembly “as a service”. It provides exactly the deep insights into the compressed air stream that are needed for a sustainable energy strategy.
The complete Hardware is mounted on a plate and ready for installation. The plate is attached to the desired measuring point by simply cutting the existing hose line, e.g. from the maintenance unit, and integrating it into the assembly. Afterwards, only the mains plug has to be plugged into the socket. An integrated mobile communications gateway delivers the data via a SIM card to the IoT platform, where you can log in via a standard browser with user name and freely selectable password – and within a maximum of 10 minutes (including installation) the consumption data is visible.
The IoT platform independently evaluates all collected data and at the same time takes care of reporting, providing users with a detailed report and all raw data on a monthly basis. Those who want to monitor their plants in real time can do so from anywhere via online access. The data is stored securely on German servers. In this way, changes to the pneumatics can be evaluated directly according to their influence on the consumption values and leakages can be identified.
The result: An all-round package for energy transparency
SMC provides deep insight into the compressed air stream and enables sustainable energy strategies. The effect of changes to the pneumatic system is displayed in real time, and with the help of secure, web-based access, an overview can be obtained at any time and from anywhere. All that is needed is a compact assembly. Supplied by SMC as a plug-and-use component , it sends pressure and flow values to an IoT platform every minute. Hardware, cloud service and reporting, everything from a single source: from SMC, the reliable partner for sustainable production.