Compressed air drives mechanical motion in many manufacturing operations. There is a cost to compress the air for pneumatic power and any leakages waste energy and decrease operational performance. In a Plant Engineering article, Two ways smart pneumatics maximize energy savings, the authors describe how smart pneumatics can help save large amounts of energy and reduce emissions.
They open noting how manufacturers:
…more and more are discovering the energy-saving benefits of smart pneumatics to collect flow, pressure and temperature data and better understand equipment energy consumption.
Performance gains are possible when operators:
…capture and process data from pneumatic and other machine elements to unlock actionable, energy-saving insights. Transforming the raw data from a smart pneumatic system into something actionable is the key to lowering energy costs, not to mention reducing downtime, enabling faster cycle times and increasing overall productivity, too.
They highlight a statistic where:
…manufacturing plants typically lose 30% of compressed air just due to leakage alone. Wasted energy leads to machine downtime and, of course, increased energy costs.
To address this inefficiency and reliability challenge, manufacturers:
…can invest in plug-and-play smart pneumatic solutions that keep installation time and costs to a minimum. Manufacturers can take the first step toward digital transformation by taking a closer look at how these smart pneumatics save energy in areas where leakages and losses occur.
Pneumatic leaks result:
…in wasted energy, a bigger carbon footprint and higher operating costs. Some operators can lose more than $50,000 per year, per machine!
Smart pneumatics can:
…continuously monitor airflow. Some sensors can collect and provide real-time insights on flow, while also capturing pressure and temperature data in the feed line, enabling advanced diagnosis of the operating parameters. These solutions can often easily retrofit to existing machines with the use of edge gateways.
They share a story of an automotive industry supplier who:
…took steps in its digital transformation by focusing on energy lost through compressed air leakage and air consumption. The company wanted to reduce energy consumption by using an IIoT-enabled energy management tool on an existing production line.
The solutions included an:
…AVENTICS Series AF2 Sensor, an easy-to-use airflow sensor that measures flow, pressure and temperature and monitors air consumption in pneumatic systems.
This smart pneumatic technology:
…helped the company monitor and measure the amount of energy the line used by temporarily connecting the AVENTICS Smart Pneumatic Analyzer (SPA) to one machine. The SPA, which provides pneumatic system analysis at a glance, recorded, analyzed and visualized the line’s air consumption during the production process. The team was able to read the real-time air consumption, which the SPA displays in norm liters per minute (Nl/min), alongside average and maximum values to quickly identify trends and anomalies.
Read the article for more on how these sensors and analyzers combined with edge computing device, such as PACSystems industrial edge controllers can help drive more sustainable manufacturing through greater energy efficiency, lower emissions, and greater reliability.