Industry 4.0 and other technological advances are seeing a new generation of compressed air energy management systems become available that are more intelligent, reliable and efficient. Kaeser Compressors explains.
Most compressed air systems will consist of a number of components, from the compressors themselves to filters, dryers and so on. The range of components to efficiently and reliably manage can therefore be considerable. In order to operate an energy optimised compressed air system it has long since been common practice to integrate a master control system.
Also known as an energy management system, in essence a master control system is responsible for managing and orchestrating the components within a compressed air system for optimum reliability and efficiency. Master controllers are nothing new. They have been on the market for many years. However with advances in technology and the advent of Industry 4.0, they are becoming even smarter and more intuitive, ultimately assisting the end user in effortlessly optimising the lifetime, reliability, operating costs and energy efficiency of compressed air equipment.
Tomorrow’s technology today
The Sigma Air Manager 4.0 (SAM 4.0) compressed air management system from Kaeser Compressors is an example of how master control system technology has progressed with the dawn of Industry 4.0. This advanced controller monitors and controls all components within a compressed air supply system for maximum cost savings. By utilising adaptive 3-Dadvanced Control, it is able to make generation and treatment even more intelligent, reliable and energy efficient.
The innovative 3-Dadvanced Control analyses all operating data on an ongoing basis, simulates alternative actions and calculates the perfect compressor combination. It is the algorithm of the adaptive 3-Dadvanced Control, which orchestrates operation of the compressed air system.
It continuously analyses the relationship between various parameters (for example, switching and control efficiency), and pro- actively calculates the optimum combination. Not only are starts and stops taken into consideration, but so are idling and frequency converter losses, together with pressure flexibility, too. As a result just the right amount of compressed air power is provided to suit the specific needs of the application for maximum energy efficiency. Moreover, the compressed air system’s pressure performance value is optimised and average pressure is reduced.
Aside from the immediate energy efficiencies that users can expect to enjoy by integrating a SAM 4.0 into their compressed air system, there are also future benefits to be realised.
Identify, analyse, react – in real-time
The SAM 4.0 is a key technology where end users want to take advantage of the benefits that Industrie 4.0 has to offer. Via the Internet of Things (IoT) the SAM 4.0 will be responsible for data streaming in real-time to a centralised application called Kaeser Sigma Smart Air. Continuous analysis is subsequently performed with help from specialised algorithms in order to make use of the gathered data. This will be used for example, for predictive maintenance purposes.
Centralised compressed air system monitoring for predictive maintenance is then carried out in the Kaeser Data Center, together with permanent energy management, to ensure maximum effectiveness of the compressed air supply system throughout its entire life-cycle.
The SAM 4.0 therefore provides the basis for future Industry 4.0-centric services. Together with the use of the Sigma Smart Air service it will be possible to identify the perfect point in the future when a compressed air supply system should be maintained and serviced, preventing costly periods of downtime, increasing energy efficiency and allowing compressed air system performance to be precisely matched according to demand throughout the entire life-cycle of the system.
The combination of remote diagnostics and demand oriented preventative maintenance ensure maximum compressed air supply availability and complete system effectiveness. Through evaluation of operating parameters, such as load operating hours and temperatures, unplanned downtime (malfunctions) are prevented. And, by monitoring key parameters such as screw compressor block discharge temperature, pressure dew point, differential pressures (filters), leakage rates, as well as pressure and flow rate, energy efficiency is increased. In addition by optimising servicing and eliminating unnecessary repairs, service costs can be reduced by up to 30 per cent.
In terms of energy savings that can be realised by integrating a master control system this will of course depend on the specific circumstances of each installation. However, it is possible through pressure reduction with the SAM 4.0 master controller alone, to reduce the associated energy costs by approximately six per cent. And importantly, by integrating an energy management system, the user is ensuring continual optimisation of the compressed air supply system. The end result: on-going energy efficiencies.