Updated flow metering of installed compressors finds new energy savings

Manufacturers ensure the optimisation of newly installed compressor equipment for energy monitoring and management. But what if your installed compressor base is not new? It means users are missing an opportunity for big energy savings at times of high energy costs. Retrofitting flow monitoring provides a simple solution.

Retrofit compressed air monitoring

To address this, SICK has launched their FTMg (Flow Thermal Meters for inert gases) and Monitoring App. It is a connected solution for retrofitting into existing installations helping users to reduce energy consumption by better control of compressed air. It allows production and maintenance teams to monitor compressed air, helping to reduce leaks, improve operating efficiency, and cut costs.

Compressed air is the ‘fourth utility’ of manufacturing according to the British Compressed Air Society. Moreover, it accounts for 10% of energy use in a typical operation and rising to 30% in heavy use industries.

FTMg Flow Metering

Data from strategically placed FTMg flow metering, lets users visualise real-time and historic data about their compressed air usage. It allows continuous energy management, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of compressed air systems from any internet-enabled device.

The FTMg’s on-board algorithm uses the flow, pressure, and temperature values to calculate the volume of gas passing in kWh. By comparing it to the electrical power demand of the compressor, it accurately detects changes in the pneumatic system efficiency.

It comes in three pipe diameters and various process connections. On each, the easy-to-read OLED colour display shows measured values, together with a simple trend graphic, enabling quick and accurate interpretation of measured data.

Targeted Energy Reduction

The FTMg is a scalable system monitoring compressed air energy use from individual machine cells through to entire production or logistic halls. It needs no programming, and quickly starts collating compressed air data in an accessible and easy to use manner. As well as enabling more sustainable use of resources, the data insights support better operational efficiency.

Furthermore, they help achieve reduced carbon targets, contributing towards ISO50001 Energy Management certification. They also help with compliance to the UK Government’s Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) for large undertakings.

Darren Pratt, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Industrial Instrumentation explains. “Compressed air is one of the biggest consumers of energy in manufacturing and logistics, and costs are skyrocketing. Many production teams are currently restricted to conducting periodic spot checks, and all too-often, not enough is known about where leaks are, or which machines are the biggest consumers.

New energy savings

“We are already seeing how users of the FTMg Monitoring App are gaining remarkable, and sometimes unexpected, insights. They have been able, for example, to make start-up and shutdown management of processes and machines more efficient, improve compressor control and manage peak loads.”

FTMgs monitor values such as pressure, temperature, flow velocity, mass flow rate and volumetric flow rate in real time. They also provide totals for energy use, volume and mass over a predefined period.

Their user-friendly dashboard makes it easy to interpret data to detect leaks and overconsumption and to look for changes and trends. Setting up email alerts affords maintenance reminders and giving predefined warnings with job recommendations. For example, when data moves beyond pre-defined limits, users identify costs for individual production centres or by shift.

Integrated option

Users can also integrate FTMg flow metering into their own IT system without using the App through an IIoT gateway. FTMg also features an onboard web server and a variety of industrial communication outputs and PLC connectivity. This flexibility in communication technology enables easy integration into existing control or data acquisition architectures.

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