Table of contents:
- Focus on leaks
- On virtual paths against the corona crisis
- Learn to understand leaks
- Knowledge is a competitive advantage
- Experience the consequences of a leak
Video: Compressed Air Leaks For Research
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
The top premise is: avoid leaks in the system because they are responsible for a large part of the losses in a compressed air system. Up to 30% of the energy is “blown” on average through leaks. With 60,000 compressed air systems in Germany and an electricity consumption of 16.6 terawatt hours per year, the elimination of compressed air leakages alone could save as much electricity as Hamburg and Munich consume together per year.
Focus on leaks
For Professor Sauer, Head of Resource Efficient Production at Fraunhofer IPA and Head of the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP) at the University of Stuttgart, this is reason enough to focus on compressed air leaks. Together with the researchers at Fraunhofer IPA, he wants to use artificial intelligence to quickly and specifically identify leaks in compressed air systems. The compressed air demonstrator, which the Fraunhofer IPA then constructed in collaboration with Mader, is to provide the data basis for this. "The demonstrator creates the basis for our data driven production research, for example by training self-learning algorithms," explain Christian Dierolf and Christian Schneider from the IPA.
On virtual paths against the corona crisis
In view of the latest developments relating to the corona virus, events are being canceled or postponed in a row. The future can belong to digital platforms that can compensate for this development. With the "Industrial Generation Network", the Vogel Communications Group presents a solution for professionals in the industry. As a digital supplement, the platform enables extensive networking: the focus is on digital encounters and establishing contacts, as well as product presentation and thematic exchange. Tools such as making appointments and video conferences enable professionals to network, make appointments and do research close to the respective branch. The platform thus replaces the currently severely restricted face-to-face communication, especially at trade fairs.
How can the platform help me?
Learn to understand leaks
First of all, however, it was necessary to understand how a leak in the system is noticeable. For this purpose, a handling system was set up that simulates automated production. At a total of four stations - pressing, swiveling, picking up by means of vacuum and transport - a maximum of four different scenarios can be selected: everything tight, kink in the hose, hole in the hose and mechanical leakage.
All measurement and sensor data are also automatically transferred to the Industry 4.0 platform "Virtual Fort Knox" using OPC UA. There they are processed for further analysis. "However, such IIoT projects rarely have a completely uncomplicated starting position - that is, sensors and measuring devices that all use the same interfaces and transmission protocols," explains Balachtsis, responsible for innovation management at Mader. "It was the same in this case. We have used both analog and digital sensors with IO-Link connection. The particular challenge was to synchronize the transmission speeds to ensure smooth data transmission,”explains Balachtsis.
He mastered the challenge together with Thomas Lang, Pneumatics Project Manager at Mader, and a control technician. “The result is a demonstrator that generates and provides extensive data for the automated detection of compressed air leaks. The Fraunhofer IPA also uses it in seminars for demonstration purposes,”reports Balachtsis.
Knowledge is a competitive advantage
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Experience the consequences of a leak
From his daily work at Mader, he knows how important transparency is when it comes to compressed air. “If seminar participants see live what direct consequences a kinked hose or even a leak in the system will be, they will be more willing to deal with the topic,” says Balachtsis. Then, he says, the willingness to detect and eliminate leaks also increases.
Today, leaks in the compressed air system are still located using ultrasound technology as standard. “Ultrasound makes the 'whistle' of the smallest leak audible. This is possible while production is running, but it requires a corresponding effort because you have to carry out the localization on site,”says Marina Griesinger, Head of Energy Efficiency Management at Mader. "The profitability of such a location and subsequent removal is still very high - both economically and in terms of saving CO 2."
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The Fraunhofer IPA has set itself the goal of further optimizing the process. The demonstrator creates the basis for data driven production research, for example by training self-learning algorithms, the Fraunhofer researchers explain. In future, leaks will not only be used to determine and localize them. The designation and order number of the affected component should also be played out via the app. In this way, the person responsible for compressed air can save time and in particular minimize downtimes, the researchers are convinced.
There is still a lot to do for Marina Griesinger and her colleagues until these ideas become reality: “Thanks to the leakage app and the compressed air software LOOXR, we have already significantly optimized the location and elimination process. Our mission is to make compressed air processes as efficient as possible - energetically and economically. Digitization puts us on the cards with every advance and every knowledge.”