Contributor: KSB, Inc.
The advancement of global networking means that the digitalisation of production is also taking on a whole new quality in the pump industry.
The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communication and increasingly intelligent production facilities have long since hailed the fourth industrial revolution. Here, real production and digital processes combine to create so-called cyber-physical systems. If these encompass the entire system and all processes, we refer to this as a smart factory.
The aim of Industry 4.0 and the smart factory is to maximise productivity and the ability to adapt production and its various processes quickly and efficiently in response to changing conditions and new orders – even for lot size 1. To achieve this, the systems of the future require maximum resource efficiency, availability, operating reliability, flexibility and a shorter time-to-market.
Individual products need to be able to communicate with each other decentrally and respond autonomously to changes in the system condition. This is made possible by smart products and services, whose digitalisation capabilities create a strong foundation for developing the smart factory.
Basic features of smart products and services
Smart products are characterised by a number of basic features. They firstly differ in their networkability: they are either static and passive through a QR code on the product, which is read by mobile devices, or dynamic and active through the provision of process data in real time via network connections.
In addition, all smart products used in Industry 4.0 can be uniquely identified digitally and can be captured, for example, using their serial number. The amount of relevant product information available depends on the type of networking and level of digitalisation.
Smart products independently contribute to sustainably optimising the operations of a company through decentralised intelligence in the long term. They do this, for example, by autonomously carrying out functions, such as independently adjusting their operation or reporting errors.
Smart, networked products enable a multitude of smart services. Every work step and every change to the product is recorded and provided digitally. This makes it possible, for instance, to create electronic history files or perform mobile condition monitoring, which help to increase efficiency during servicing and maintenance. As the smart service information is also available on various platforms and mobile devices, this enables greater flexibility in many work steps.
The smart pump set
Thanks to digitalisation and intelligent networking, pump systems are also becoming more flexible, more efficient and more reliable in their operation. Smart pumps designed for Industry 4.0 enable operators to call up current and relevant information relating to condition, operation and history at any time. To ensure that different applications and users always work on the same correct data basis, this information is provided by the digital twin – a virtual image of the real pump set. The real and digital twins can then exchange status data being continuously recorded by sensors. When combined with standardised interfaces, the digital twin serves as a basis for networking the pump set with other devices and systems.
Different users and functions from different divisions of the company can access the digital twin during every process step, either via the cloud or through a direct connection to the device. In this way, details of the operating condition or history files are easily and quickly accessible also on mobile devices. At the same time, all data is protected against unauthorised access and data loss, making the digital twin in the cloud the core element of the smart factory.
These smart products and services are available
A variety of smart products and services are now available to increase the efficiency of your pump sets in a targeted manner. The principle behind the smart pump set is relatively simple: sensors and control systems are integrated directly into the product. The devices are connected quickly and easily via a cable or wirelessly, which makes retrofitting on site easy. Operation can then be adjusted locally, automatically and autonomously, and information is available via network interfaces.
This enables the smart pumps to carry out specific functions in which they monitor themselves and independently adjust their settings to the actual value of the respective process. The human employee can easily check the smart pump’s operation with a pump app on his or her smartphone or tablet. This digital networking creates more transparency, raising the level of occupational health and safety as well as process reliability.
KSB: A strong partner for Industry 4.0
As a founding member of the technology initiative SmartFactoryKL, KSB has many years of experience in developing Industry 4.0 solutions and offers a whole range of smart products and services designed to increase the productivity of pump sets.
One of KSB’s most successful smart factory solutions is KSB Guard, a comprehensive cloud solution for remote monitoring of pump populations. At the heart of KSB Guard is the KSB Guard sensor unit, which is directly fitted to the pump set and records the vibration and temperature data of the pump. The KSB Guard transmission and battery unit supplies power to the sensor unit and transfers measurement data to the KSB Guard gateway. Maintaining the highest security standards, the gateway transfers data to the KSB Cloud via the mobile phone network. Data and additional information on the pump can be evaluated conveniently and easily using the KSB Guard web portal or KSB Guard app. This makes it easier to schedule maintenance jobs and to use resources in a more targeted manner.
Another smart product is the autonomous PumpDrive variable speed system which continuously matches the speed of the pump and thus the pump’s output to actual system demand, ensuring that pump operation is as energy-efficient and reliable as possible. Thanks to the integrated wireless module, PumpDrive can be controlled via Bluetooth. This turns a smartphone into a “remote control” for PumpDrive, while all data and information is available in the app.
When realising the vision of Industry 4.0, KSB contributes not only by providing smart products and services, but by continuously further developing solutions in product development, in pilot projects and in cooperation with partners, helping to drive digitalisation in industry. Proactive research and development are therefore vital at KSB. Teams of KSB experts worldwide are working, for instance, on digital networking of hydraulic systems. Partly in cooperation with universities, research institutes and partner companies, KSB is analysing trends, adapting technologies and developing future-oriented business models in start-up projects.