The future through the lens of the Industrial Internet of Things
The manufacturing and industrial automation sectors are in the midst of an exciting and unprecedented transformation as we prepare to enter the second decade of the fourth industrial revolution.
The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has resulted from the ubiquity of smart devices merging with the rise of data generation, processing and accessibility. In the consumer sector, this has seen the emergence of the smart home, with users enjoying the convenience of remotely controlling a growing number of household appliances—from lighting and heating to security devices—via computers, smartphones and tablets.
Statistica estimates that, by the end of 2020, the worldwide installed base of internet-connected devices will total more than 30 billion, rising to 75 billion by the middle of the next decade.
In sectors as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare and water treatment, businesses are embracing Industry 4.0—or The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—by embedding technology in physical applications to make significant improvements to operational efficiency.
As a manufacturer of chemical dosing pumps and control systems, SEKO is influencing and witnessing first-hand how this cutting-edge technology is changing what is possible in traditional cleaning and hygiene pump applications, specifically laundry and warewash dosing.
Operators in the food and beverage, hospitality, restaurant and commercial and on-premise laundry sectors are striving for efficacy and sustainability by increasingly specifying web-enabled pump systems for warewash systems and washing machines.
IoT connectivity can be applied from the first moments of a pump’s lifecycle by accelerating installation and setup and commissioning and reducing associated time and costs.
IoT connectivity can be applied from the first moments of a pump’s lifecycle by accelerating installation, setup and commissioning and reducing associated time and costs. This may be achieved by the availability of up-to-date downloadable manuals, intelligent sensors auto-tuning to meet the system’s unique demands or online step-by-step technical support.
Built-in web servers harvest data on multiple pump values, including wash cycle status, chemical consumption and equipment performance, which can then be accessed historically or in real time via a cloud-based platform.
With this vital information at their fingertips, users can set and adjust wash formulas, maximum flow rate, unit of measure and other parameters as well as select pump operating modes such as manual, batch and timed. Common features include the option to view chemical consumption in financial terms, which allows projected savings to be accurately calculated when considering dosing changes.
By reducing chemical and energy consumption in this way, operators benefit from immediate resource efficiency improvements, while being able to budget more accurately and streamline stored chemical volume.
Most of these systems feature an alarm log that enables users to identify and action faults immediately, helping them to improve efficiency in equipment maintenance, repair and upgrade planning and minimize costly and inconvenient unplanned downtime.
The technology allows even specific component performance and status to be assessed, meaning the user can be alerted that a part is due for replacement, which also drives aftermarket sales for suppliers.
The technology allows even specific component performance and status to be assessed, meaning the user can be alerted that a part is due for replacement, which also drives aftermarket sales for suppliers. Meanwhile, manufacturers themselves benefit by monitoring trends, user preferences and common problems in order to refine equipment and improve their product offering.
It’s not only the efficiency of equipment and utilities that can be improved. For businesses running across multiple sites in different countries or even continents, IIoT means operations management can be anywhere in the world and still be as effective as they would be while standing in front of the machine itself. For the $40-billion US laundry industry, it means worldwide control of what has traditionally been a local business.
Plus, wasted journeys by maintenance technicians—who may travel a considerable distance to assess a pump’s condition only to find it in perfect working order—can be eliminated, as they need only be deployed when required.
With a new decade upon us and 5G opening yet more possibilities for high-speed, ultra-reliable IoT, the pump industry is primed to see where technology will take Industry 4.0 in 2020 and beyond.