7 May, 2021

Mastering fluid power efficiency with industrial IoT

22 April, 2021

By Jeremy Drury , vice president, IoT Diagnostics


Peak efficiency is gained by not just knowing the performance characteristics of one component, but how that component works in an entire fluid power ecosystem. While seeing a standalone case pressure reading in real-time from a pump can be helpful, when that is layered with a real-time flow reading, the information has more context. Should you then also have real-time fluid characteristics being monitored like contamination, your overall insights gain more credibility. Layer on real-time filtration monitoring and you have a digital fluid power efficiency hub at your fingertips. I’ll walk through each of these pieces of the ecosystem in more detail.

Pump efficiency monitoring using industrial IoT

Traditionally, if you wanted to see how a pump is working or not, you would grab a bucket, a hose and a stopwatch. This was one way to check flow rates and overall efficiency. There is an opportunity to get beyond that world and have a more harmonious, connected interface. Imagine now that instead of just a traditional pump, you have a smart pump or a smart device connected to a pump. That smart device is generating information for you in real time about that pump, down to the pump’s volumetric efficiency (VE).

The manufacturer recommends that at any given time, you should be at an 85% VE or higher coming out of the case drain but suddenly, one of your pumps starts to trend at a 78% VE out of a case drain. So now, you’re operating at seven points below what the manufacturer recommends. With today’s IoT, you’re going to get an alarm or a notification about that.

Now that you understand that it’s operating below efficiency, you’ve got to start thinking about some decisions that you need to make. Are you still satisfied with the level of production? You can start to change production decisions in real time. But you have this piece of information here now, and what do you do with it? What’s really important to take away from this is how you use the data. You could start asking many questions about your oil condition and take action to clean and filter the oil. Then you can start making operational decisions for your production. You can then look across the entire manufacturing plant or plants to see if this same product is having the same 78% VE – determine if it’s plant-wide or fleet wide.

Now you’ve gone from an asset specific, to a systemic look at the pump and its fluid quality. You can use this data globally if you have fleets or plants all over the world, instead of individuals in each plant monitoring and gathering and sharing data. This can be used to now make company-wide decisions. All this started from a singular piece of efficiency data at this point. And then we ultimately get to the very top of the pyramid, which gets us to an interesting piece of monetisation as well. Because inside the organisation may not be the only people that care or want to see that data. What if it’s actually the pump – the pump itself? Shouldn’t the OEM of that pump know that it’s just not quite working as it should be in the application environment that it’s in?




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