IIoT based condition monitoring system is gaining popularity
Published on : Friday 07-10-2022
Jasbir Singh, Automation Expert, Consultant & Implementation Strategist.
Condition monitoring is commonly understood to apply to rotating machinery. What other assets in the plant can benefit from condition monitoring?
Way back in 1960 heavy industries were using condition monitoring by hearing the sound with hollow pipe and measurement of vibration by keeping coins on the rotating equipment. The technician made rounds the plant on a daily basis with a hollow pipe to hear the knocking sound of the rotating machine by touching it one side on the machine bearing housing area and at times by keeping the coin vertically on the machine housing to capture the vibration data of machine’s health status, which we call condition monitoring. Coins can’t stand vertically if the vibration is high on the machine but show stability if there is no vibration. Plant maintenance teams were all dependent on their reports to plan machine/plant shutdown for maintenance. In the same way the plant condition monitoring was extensively dependent on visual observation of other equipment. It was considered that the failure of inline rotating equipment critical in the running unit, causing major losses to the plant performance if it suddenly fails.
As the automation level increased and plant sophistication improved, remote measurement was considered for vibration monitoring and tripping. In my early days of industrial experience in plants we saw major changes happen in heavy industries. A urea fertilizer unit was seen with high pressure and high-speed equipment. Plant synthesis gas compressor was running at the speed of 14,500 rpm and rated output synthesis gas pressure was 250 kg/cm². The vibration, axial displacement and speed measurement/control were done by Bently Nevada monitoring and control system. Donald Bently was the first to manufacture eddy-current proximity probes to measure vibration of high-speed turbo machinery by fixing the sensor to the body of the external housing of the turbine to target the rotating shaft from two sides at 90-degree angle for the direct measurement of the rotating shaft vibration. It was considered as the highly reliable system of that time.
The IIoT based condition monitoring system is gaining popularity across the world and so in India. Many Indian companies have developed their own IIoT based condition monitoring solutions in India. Wireless IoT sensors are being developed for long measurement life.
What is an estimate of the size of the market? How much of this market is accessible to Indian companies?
The Global IoT based Asset Tracking and Monitoring Market size (based on KBV Research data) is expected to reach $6.7 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 10.7% CAGR during the forecast period. Today, most businesses provide extremely easy-to-configure cloud-based video management platforms.
Goldstein Research analyst forecast the India IoT market size is set to reach USD 20 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 17.1% over the forecast years. In India, the digital economy is poised to reach USD 1 trillion in the next 5-7 years and new technologies like IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, etc., will play an important role in the growth. There are over 971 start-ups of IoT in India and Bangalore the hotbed for IoT holds 51% of total IoT start-ups. The major part of this IoT business is condition monitoring and cloud computation.
Condition monitoring and prescriptive analytics is a business activity different from legacy sales and services activities. Do you think MSMEs and start-ups have an inherent advantage in getting market share?
The predictive maintenance provides information about the single decision with no options or choice to consider, such as perform the maintenance or take conscious decision for the maintenance, whereas the prescriptive maintenance offers a number of options and its possible outcomes from which the engineer can select the most suited suggestion. As such the complete stopping of the production line can be avoided by running the machine at a lower speed, if upstream and downstream processes allow it with the sacrifice of productivity. Or, the plant may desire to run the machine at lower speed, in order to delay the planned downtime to coincide with the delivery of high inventory finished products which is delayed to ship out due to reasons beyond control.
Prescriptive maintenance models can also identify the capital budget requirements time before it would become understood to engineers/operators. Prescriptive maintenance systems can be used as a model testing tool to understand the results of adding new equipment in process and simulate the overall impact before making an acquisition plan. This allows time for an enterprise or organisation to make economical purchases.
Are there real studies done to establish proof of concept using simulation and digital twin techniques? This needs an intensive collaboration between prospective buyers and vendors. Is it happening in India? With what success?
Not many SMEs or start-ups have access to test the scheme as digital twin techniques as they need advanced software but many have offline testing facilities for checking its performance by the trigger of faults or test outputs by pushing required test inputs (analog or digital). This gives sometimes a fair idea about the output when put in service. There are some cases where collaborations are happening with the potential buyers but the cost of development goes high. Developers are even happy to test if they have found/identified the future market of the similar products/solutions/applications.
Is the appetite for such systems bigger at large plant operators like power plants and refineries?
Measurement of parameters like vibration, temperature for troubleshooting of failure require the most reliable system and are being widely used for condition monitoring for industrial plants rotating equipment. The IoT based sensors and system analyser monitor the mechanical condition of rotating equipment being used in large number industries like oil and gas production, refineries, fertilizers, electric power generation, hydroelectric, pulp and paper, mining and so on.
Can the government play a role in accelerating deployment of such systems? Are there any schemes for promoting better maintenance using data technologies?
The government can ensure fair policies through the following ways:
1. Making policies, which must protect the interests of product developers, not only of the product development but also give free access to the govt organisation for implementation of it as proof of concept.
2. The government can ensure a collaborative team with public sector organisations to support proper implementation and issue a certificate once PoC is successful for the others to accept.
3. The government can support small developers to improve their performance till the time they become strong enough to compete with international products.
Does engineering education prepare graduates/post graduates to design, specify, evaluate, and implement such new age solutions?
The pattern or scope of condition monitoring of rotating equipment has further been increased from critical to semi critical services also by using IoT sensors to avoid unplanned downtime. Machines are equipped with IoT sensors, which collect the data like vibration (frequency), temperature, pressure that determine its health and performance in operation. The collected data is being sent to the cloud using the IoT gateway. The advanced diagnostic software at cloud consolidates the data available from machine sensors and applies analytics tools to visualise the informative insights about equipment’s health on a real time basis. A condition monitoring tool communicates the findings to the users on its dashboard in form of numbers, charts or diagrams. If the output deviates from the set standard norms, it sends an alert to the engineer, maintenance manager, indicating the deterioration of equipment’s condition. It also captures the deterioration pattern in real time for operators to plan shut down for maintenance. Academic institutions are aligning the educational curriculum to teach on these subjects and trying to establish collaboration with Industry for developing and installing these products as Proof of Concept in plants.
Jasbir Singh is an Automation Expert having long experience in Factory Automation, Line Automation, Implementation Strategist, Business Coach, Regular writer on automation, Artificial Intelligence, Robots/Cobots, Digital Technology, Network Communication, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Wireless Communication, Block Chain and use of advance digital technologies. He has established a long association with Business Houses/large production houses to improve factory automation in their production lines as well as productivity improvement in factories in India and overseas; and in advising and designing the units to transform into digital platforms by use of Artificial Intelligence. Email: email@example.com
(The views expressed in interviews are personal, not necessarily of the organisations represented)