Energy management and energy saving within the temperature regulation in industrial processes. Not sure a new argument, but highly relevant in the field where Tempco operates, which I like to call ‘Second level energy’. What I mean is that we are not into primary power generation, but committed in how energy is converted and employed in process industry, and thus how thermal energy is transferred in thermal processes.
In Tempco’s activities, aimed to temperature control in production processes, energy is employed to power pumps’ motors, chiller compressors, fans drives and heating resistances, in case of heating equipments for diathermic oil and pressurized water.
I was thinking for a long time about solutions enabling a fine monitoring of the energy and efficiency of equipments. Then Industry 4.0 and IoT have become very popular ultimately, and in Tempco we are offering since more than a year a solution, called iTempco, that enables the remote real-time monitoring of our thermoregulating units installed at our customer’s facilities.
To be honest, this is not an easy success solution. Or at least, there is many speaking and curiosity about it, but at the end the application is made only by few customers. That’s because our temperature control machinery are utilities, not directly connected to the core production line of a customer. Therefore, customers are more willing to install condition monitoring on core production lines, while utilities remains in the background.
But from our personal point of view, thermoregulating units and temperature control equipments have power consumptions, thus impacting the final cost of the product. It is then useful to control also the functioning and efficiency of these thermal machines.
The monitoring is achieved thanks to interfaces that today are quite common, able to gather and interpret the signals of the units, transferring them online and storing data on cloud.
The first goal is to monitor the temperature levels, pressure and flow rates, to ensure the overall efficiency of the equipment. It is then possible to control the employ of the thermoregulating unit and to offer predictive maintenance services, or preventive maintenance as well. Or even more simply, when a customer calls to report a problem, the monitoring solution allows to know immediately where the problem is and suddenly make the right intervention, or also to instruct the customer on what to do in order to get the machine back at work.
Usually we implement the monitoring of electrical energy consumes. It is then possibile to have insights on the effective power consumption levels of a thermoregulating unit, as well as the consumption peaks, all related to the different steps of the production process but also to the seasonal conditions. Many times we’ve talked about how performances of machines, such as Cooling towers and Free coolers, vary depending on the different seasons.
Having a clear insight of the power consumption of a thermoregulating unit is very useful not only to optimize the engineering of the machinery, and properly calculating the power capacity to be installed, saving on initial investment and furthermore during its functioning. But it also allows to evaluate if it’s worth or not to implement inverters, thyristors and power modulating systems.
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