Continuous Listening for More Sustainable Manufacturing

by , | May 4, 2021 | Industrial IoT, Sustainability

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

I caught wind of a great story about a global manufacturer specializing in nutrition, health, and sustainable living. Emerson’s Tamara Tursijan explained that this company has aggressive corporate goals lowering their carbon footprint, enabling low-carbon energy solutions and advocating for climate action.

One area in which they identified an opportunity was in their manufacturing processes that had numerous steam traps. As steam is distributed throughout the plant, heat is lost and some of this steam condenses and collects in low points. These steam traps are automatic valves which discharge condensates and non-condensable gas with a negligible consumption or loss of live steam. When they fail or leak, they waste energy and increase load on the boilers.

The traditional approach has been to inspect these steam traps manually, typically on an annual basis. Any leaks or failures in between inspections can result in the loss of thousands of tons of steam per year. To lower their carbon footprint, this manufacturer worked with the Emerson team to use wireless acoustic sensors to “listen” to each of the steam traps for leaks and failure conditions.

These Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based Rosemount 708 wireless acoustic transmitters provide continuous monitoring of these steam traps, as well as pressure relief valves (PRVs).

Communicating through a WirelessHART network, the data from these sensors flows to the Plantweb Insight Steam Trap Health Monitoring application.

This application continuously monitors all the steam traps for blow through, flooded, and plugged failure conditions. It also offers analysis of economic and environmental impact, which enables the facility to improve maintenance prioritization and energy efficiency.

After installing these sensors and analytic software application and tracking performance at one facility for a year, this manufacturer decided to scale the solution to 6 facilities worldwide.

Tamara noted that for four European facilities with a combined total of 2500 steam traps, this company will save several thousand tons of CO2 on their path to more sustainable operations. Furthermore they will be saving on constantly increasing carbon cost, that has recently soared in the EU to 45EUR / ton and is predicted to rise even to 3 digits. They are also planning to expand the current project scope and implement the solution to more facilities worldwide as a part of their corporate sustainability and digital transformation strategy.

Visit the Wireless Acoustic Transmitter and Plantweb Insight sections on Emerson.com for more on these solutions to help you drive more sustainable operations. You can also connect and interact with other wireless monitoring experts in the IIoT & Digital Transformation group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.