How the Industrial Internet of Things Enhances Compressed Air Systems
Also commonly referred to as the IoT for short, the Internet of Things is a term referring to a series of sensors and other objects that are embedded in everyday objects, all creating and sharing data with one another at all times.
The most obvious example of this idea takes the form of the common smart home – something that is growing in popularity all the time. The IoT is an essential part of how you can use your smartphone to adjust the temperature in your home even while you’re away, or how your automated shades know to raise or lower based on the time of day or whether or not someone is occupying a room. All told, there are expected to be roughly 64 billion IoT devices deployed all over the world by as soon as 2025 – which will generate between $4 trillion and $11 trillion in economic value by roughly the same period of time.
The Industrial Internet of Things, by extension, refers to the use of those same smart sensors and actuators in a way that enhances manufacturing and other industrial processes. It’s been referred to by many different terms over the years, including most prominently Industry 4.0. All told, the Industrial Internet of Things is empowering innovation nearly everywhere – including in terms of compressed air systems – and is certainly worth a closer look.
The Industrial Internet of Things and Compressed Air Systems: An Overview
By far, one of the biggest benefits that the IIoT is bringing with it to compressed air systems has to do with increased visibility across the board.
The sensors embedded in compressed air systems are constantly monitoring the status of those units. That information is also available in real-time using any device with an active Internet connection. Because of that, operators can track nearly every aspect of their air compressors – including but not limited to the status of the motor, the amount of pressure being generated, the air flow, the dryer speed and more.
Because so much data is being generated, operators are also able to use historical information to uncover certain trends and patterns that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. You can compare the performance of one air compressor to another when working on the same task, for example. You can see which production facilities have greater demands, thus making adjustments to optimize the use of resources. All of this goes a long way towards dramatically improving the efficiency of those air compressors, helping businesses realize a larger return on investment in a shorter amount of time.
But one of the biggest benefits of the IIoT with regard to air compressors has to do with the predictive maintenance it unlocks. In the past, most manufacturing and industrial environments were forced to contend with the “break/fix” method of maintenance – meaning you were essentially waiting for something to break so you could fix it. Not only was this inherently frustrating, but it virtually guaranteed periods of unexpected downtime – something that could cost an enormous amount of money in lost productivity alone.
With the Industrial Internet of Things, however, this is all totally different. Operational data is constantly being fed in the cloud which can be once again analyzed in real-time. This gives operators an almost constant look into the health of compressors and other equipment. If conditions deviate outside what is defined as “normal” and problems are suspected, they can be addressed early before they have a chance to become much bigger and more expensive ones later on. This can dramatically prolong the lifespan of air compressors and other equipment.
At the very least, maintenance can be prioritized for those periods when taking an air compressor offline would cause the least amount of disruption – which again is a perfect opportunity to maximize resources across the board.
In the end, a massive $1 trillion is expected to be spent on the Internet of Things worldwide in 2021 – and with benefits like those outlined above, it’s easy to see why. Not only does the type of analytical data generated by Industrial Internet of Things sensors increase visibility into the status and allocation of critical resources, but it also helps organizational leaders make more informed decisions regarding maintenance and other applications. It’s easy to see why it’s a concept that has been embraced by so many in recent memory – and it’s truly exciting to think about what the next five to ten years have in store for us all.
If you’d like to find out more information about how the Industrial Internet of Things is enhancing compressed air systems, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to speak to someone about in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact JHFOSTER today.