The incorporation of compressor connectivity has emerged as a crucial element in modern air compressors, utilised in industrial plants and other settings. In circumstances where a production line relies on particular air quality, pressure or flow rate from compressed air, unobserved fluctuations from standard levels can result in line shutdowns.
By promptly informing plant managers of such issues, they can swiftly take remedial action. Sophisticated, interconnected air compressors now enable this increased level of manager awareness, a feature that was not consistently attainable previously.
Internet of Things (IoT) in the Workplace
The Internet of Things (IoT) as a buzzword for connected technology provides a fresh perspective on how related devices might communicate together.
Initially, it was a fanciful idea. However, global spending on IoT-compatible technologies is growing rapidly, and we expect this to continue. Now businesses readily expect their machines to communicate intelligently with one another.
Newer air compressors are now packed with sensors. These pick up on operating errors, unexpected deviations from the norm, and faulty part issues too. Rather than sit on this information, smart components and sensors relay it to a central plant management system. This allows the plant manager to respond in real-time, to up to date information, as needed.
A Few of the Benefits of Connected Air Compressors
Whether there’s a single air compressor installed in the plant, or several machines situated in a compressor room, it’s necessary to know how they’re functioning without constant manual intervention.
Here are a few of the benefits of connected air compressors:
Automated Mobile Alerts for Critical Issues
Due to the connected compressors relaying information to a central control system, plant managers use cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi connections to receive alerts.
Whether they’re temporarily offsite or in a meeting, they’re no longer in the dark. This permits more freedom as to when, where, and how they perform their role.
Prevent Downtime of Essential Equipment
Unexpected downtime is often avoided through reliable alerts and notifications made across a secure network to the monitoring equipment. These suggest when a compressor is overheating (perhaps because of an improperly ventilated compressor room) or a component producing a variable performance (suggesting a poor fit or a wear and tear issue).
Predictive maintenance is more consistent this way too, because of fewer unexpected breakdowns between maintenance sessions. Emerging issues aren’t immediately pressing, but sophisticated Atlas Copco air compressors flag them to be included in the next maintenance cycle. This approach reduces the time lost to costly machine downtime.
Gain Meaningful Insights
Meaningful insights are obtained through centralised monitoring software. It gathers information received continually from numerous sensors and smart components, filters it, and displays what’s relevant to the manager in a logical, organised manner.
Detailed analysis and actionable intelligence about compressor performance are now possible from the big-picture view down to the granular aspects. Operations are better optimised when managers are presented with the latest, most accurate information on how the plant and its machinery are functioning.
Make Changes to Compressor Setups
Rather than configuring a compressor manually, IoT makes it possible to configure pressure levels, flow rates, and other aspects, on-the-fly.
Connectivity between the compressors and the control system avoids errors through bad assumptions previously made about a compressor setup. Instead, setup mistakes are spotted sooner, due to the access to real-time information. Expensive equipment reliant on compressed air isn’t potentially damaged due to the wrong pressure levels.
Also, by adjusting settings sooner, energy consumption isn’t wasteful because of an incorrect pressure or flow setting that went unnoticed for too long.
Maintain Stronger Adherence to Production Schedules
As a plant manager, you’ll have schedules to maintain. While compressors are expensive pieces of equipment, it’s often true that downtime is far more costly. Also, as the plant manager, to borrow a phrase from the Americans, “The buck stops with you”.
Managing your compressors centrally allows for the use of weekly timers to set basic parameters around what’s required. Pressure band controls are also useful to ensure proper PSI pressure management.
In a multi-compressor environment, it’s prudent to be extra careful with pressure levels across several compressors to ensure the minimum required pressure is constantly met. Setting alerts to notify when this level is breached allows for a rapid response and adjustment to resolve the matter before production is unduly affected.
Particularly in a multi-compressor installation scenario, the advantages of improved connectivity with centralised control systems cannot be overstated.
Manage Pressure Drops Quicker, Avoid Production Foul-ups
Sudden pressure drops, where there’s now a difference between the pressure level required and what the air compressor is producing, are a major concern.
Before connected devices, a flashing alert on a small screen near the compressor, along with an audible alert, was the best employees could hope for. If a knowledgeable technician or the plant manager wasn’t on-hand to decipher what the alert meant, frantic phone calls to an on-call staff member were needed. Also, explaining what to do, from a distance, was easier said than done.
Production line shutdowns due to loss of air pressure are now easier to remotely monitor and manage. Immediate pressure level adjustments compensate in the short term until the matter is later reviewed in detail to determine the root cause.
Improve Energy Efficiency Through Precise Configurations
Energy costs make up most of the operating costs of air compressors. While production downtime is costly, so are non-optimal configurations, too.
Every reduction to the pressure used on site is a saving, however minimal. Air-based tools or other uses for compressed air don’t usually operate more efficiently as a result of the wrong or higher pressure. Therefore, there is no upside potential to excessive pressure levels. More energy is ultimately used as the pressure rate is raised, so it’s best to configure the air compressors conservatively and to track results using the system’s data flow.
Need Help with Compressor Connectivity?
The industry globally has embraced connectivity in plants and factories to save money, better manage resources, and get the most from their technology. If your UK business is unsure how to reap the full benefits of compressor connectivity, Anglian Compressors are here to help.
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