22 September, 2019

Smart Pneumatic Grid with OPC UA

08 December, 2017

A lower energy consumption for compressed air applications, actuators under control at all times, and adaptability to new conditions: At the Motek 2017 Aventics and Boge Kompressoren have shown how these requirements can be met. The two companies have intelligently networked compressed air generators and compressed air consumers with their joint project, the Smart Pneumatic Grid.

In automation, horizontal and vertical networking to the Internet of Things is currently the most discussed topic. Many offers include comprehensive IT solutions that require a great amount of effort to implement. However, most manufacturers only want to gradually introduce vertical networking to gain experience and verify its efficiency.

“Users look for solutions that are easy to implement, that help them cut operating costs, and increase the availability of their machines,” commented Wolf Gerecke, responsible for strategic product management at Aventics.

This is where the Smart Pneumatics Grid, developed in collaboration between Boge Kompressoren and Aventics, comes into play. The Smart Pneumatics Grid is based on the machine-to-machine communication protocol OPC UA, which is accepted across manufacturers.

Optimising control

Intelligently networking compressed air generators and compressed air consumers unlocks a variety of potentials for monitoring, controlling, and optimising entire system topologies. “By knowing the current and upcoming air consumption, we can optimise control of the compressor performance, allowing users to significantly decrease energy consumption,” said Peter Boldt, head of research & development at Boge.

The Smart Pneumatic Grid identifies the energy need down to the individual consumer level and visualises it clearly. With minimal effort, this information can be used to derive needs-based control rules for the Boge compressors. The Smart Pneumatic Grid also indicates an increase in air consumption that is, a leak, specific to the consumer. “As a result, maintenance can act in good time before a machine standstill can even occur,” said Gerecke.

The OPC UA communication protocol is currently the top standard for horizontal and vertical networking in the automation sector. It transfers data and statuses from devices to other components, machines, or superior instances, independent of fieldbus communication with the control.

Boge and Aventics established the technological basis for this intelligent system networking within the ‘it’s OWL’ cluster promoted by the German government. Boge Kompressoren Otto Boge GmbH & Co. KG is a supplier of compressors and compressed air systems headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany.


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