industri 4.0

How Industry 4.0 will impact the process industry

Industry 4.0 is often summarized as the smart factory, where everything in production is connected by means of digital tools, in order to shorten lead times, avoid operational disturbances or optimize operations.

In the process industry, Industry 4.0 looks a bit different from manufacturing industry. There are a number of similarities but the following things differ:

  • Internet or things, i.e. that machines, systems and people can be in completely different parts of the world and still interact, for example data analysis is done outside the factory by external engineers who can support an operation/maintenance technician with direct measures or advice remotely.
  • Utilization of detailed machine data that is usually too costly to log, or to take out of the control systems, for example the power of smaller motor drives, temperatures, etc., detailed error information.
  • Big Data and compilation of large complex information to easy-to-use information, such as If we change the setpoint from 120 to 122 ° C, the operating disturbances will decrease by 50%.

How can I benefit from Industry 4.0 in the process industry today?

The utility with Industry 4.0 grows the more complex the systems are, for example the number of motor drives and sensors that affect each other, and the more details that can affect the system as a whole.

The sootblowing system in a recovery boiler on a paper or pulp mill is a typical such system. There are often 100 motor drives and 200 limit switches, and where sootblowers do not work properly quickly cause blocking of tube bundles or uneven distribution of sootblower starts, sootblowers are focused to wrong areas.

As a specialist company, the Industry 4.0 concept is a good fit since it creates an understanding of working methods based on optimizing a complex system in a variety of ways simultaneously.

HISS one-way sootblowing, is one example of advanced control, which together with an upgrade of the sootblower steam valve doubles the sootblowing capacity without increasing steam consumption. The method allows you to move steplessly from almost half the steam consumption with maintained sootblowing effect or doubling the sootblowing capacity to increase the production without increasing steam consumption.

Another example is the distribution of sootblower starts between different parts of the boiler to maximize boiler availability. An uneven distribution can quickly lead to clogging and needing water washing. You often know where to sootblow more, but never where you can safely decrease.

Combining Technologies in Industry 4.0 creates great opportunities

The combination of different technologies in Industry 4.0 is interesting, and for example HISS sootblowing uses three basic technologies to facilitate the distibution of sootblowing capacity:

Percent sootblowing: A control and visualization tool with a user interface that allows you to easily control and overlook the distribution of sootblower starts without using hard-to-understand program sequences. Seeing, overlooking and being intuitively able to set up a complex system is a foundation for a successful optimization within Industry 4.0.

– Big Data and key ratios: A central challenge in sootblowing is being able to assess where to increase sootblowing, and where you can safely reduce it. The boiler is a closed room where you completely depend on interpreting process data. We use IT to calculate heat absorptions and deposits in different boiler parts, but also calculate static measurements at a level of detail that show the cleaning effect of each individual sootblower, to reduce the risk of wrong decisions when redistributing starts.

– Internet of things, Big Data and remote support: Interpretation of process data is difficult and often becomes a bottleneck, since making a decision is based on 20-50 relevant process variables, 10-30 calculated key ratios, and maybe 100-150 static measurements.

Remote connections and access to process data have made it easy for experts to interpret data remotely, but more importantly, to carry out strong and relevant technical dialogue with operation managers. The technology in Industry 4.0 provides an excellent ability to combine general cutting-edge expertise in sootblowing and heat transfer surfaces from a large number of plants, with the local operator’s detailed knowledge of its own facility, resulting in successful changes in distribution of sootblowing capacity from one heating surface to another.

Industry 4.0 facilitates the creation of new innovative solutions from niche companies

As we can see, Industry 4.0 will facilitate excellence companies in different niches, as Heat Management. These types of companies often need to utilize detailed information and detailed knowledge to create value to the customers, and that the remote success enables being more present in the daily work as a technical partner.

In the future, we will probably see more and more detailed information, from e.g. motor drives, controllers, or advanced sensors, which will go directly to us through the internet. That is, not taking the way through the control system’s usual IO management and 4-20mA conversion, limiting both the amount of information transmitted and in principle eliminating complex information in the form of images, and spectrum analyzes.

Want to know more about HISS sootblowing? You can find information here!

This guest blog post is written by Erik Dahlén, a business driven engineer and entrepreneur with extensive experience in commercialisation of new technology in heavy industry. Dahlén is the founder of Sootech, which is now a part of Wave Impact Heat Management AB.

> Click here to sign up for our upcoming webinar hosted by Dahlén on the theme: Transform your steam soot blowing system with HISS (High Impact Soot System)!