IIoT Technology is making pumps smarter. Smart pumps are intelligent devices which are connected to each other through IoT Technology. Several pumps connected through such a platform can be remotely monitored by interested stakeholders such as support team, manufacturers, rental services and more to track vital parameters of the pump operations. For instance vibrations per minute can be monitored and an increase beyond the threshold can be an indication towards an impending bearing failure. Again the presence of vapor can be an indication towards liquid reaching vapor point which can lead to dry running, overheating and eventual damage of the product. With the help of IIoT Solutions, stakeholders can perform predictive maintenance as well as real-time monitoring to avoid eventual downtime.
The IoT platform for these IIoT integrated smart pumping solutions comprise of three significant parts:
- Sensors, including cables and junction boxes
- Data collection device
- Monitoring/analysis software
Sensors are in fact an integral component of such solutions. The type of sensor you choose will help your technology partner customize the solution to your specific business needs. For instance, centrifugal pumps meant for mining industry will have greater chances of operating in extreme environment and can thus benefit from temperature sensors while pumps for the oil and gas industry might specifically need chemical/gas sensors to rule out the presence of certain unwanted elements effectively. The key advantage here is that because of these sensors the entire monitoring process can be done remotely without any physical inspection thus saving valuable time and resources while also ensuring the safety of personnel.
Since Centrifugal pumps owing to the nature of their operation tend to experience variable flow they have a chance of greater probability of damage due to overheating and dry running among other causes. Due to this these pumps can face long periods of downtime. However, with real-time monitoring, it is possible to provide predictive maintenance to avoid sudden component failure and eventual downtime. Real-time monitoring is possible by attaching relevant sensors to hardware to pick data about vital parameters of pump operation. They serve to collect data, pushing it and sharing it with a whole network of connected devices. All this collected data makes it possible for pumps to function efficiently. By combining a set of sensors and a communication network, devices share information with one another and are improving their effectiveness and functionality.
Centrifugal Pumps Problems
Here are some of the types of sensors that can be attached to centrifugal pumps:
Dry running or low flow can result in rise of internal temperature of the centrifugal pump. Temperature sensors help detect heating in real time as well as analyze operational patterns that lead to increase in temperature. It helps to ensure optimal environment temperature at all times
A pressure sensor is a device that senses pressure and converts it into an electric signal. Here, the amount depends upon the level of pressure applied. Since Centrifugal Pumps rely on liquid for creating flow pressure; these sensors are able to detect any deviation from standard pressure range. The device notifies the system administrator about any problems that should be fixed.
Water quality sensors
If the pump deals in pumping water such as in municipal water quality sensors will help to detect the water quality, chlorine residue, suspended solids, pH-level and Ion monitoring among other requirements.
Chemical sensors are ideal for centrifugal pumps used in Chemical Industry. Their goal is to indicate changes in liquid or air chemical changes. Highly corrosive chemicals are used in many manufacturing processes in the chemical industry. For instance, sulphuric acid which is used in the manufacture of fertilizers and Hydrochloric acid which is often used for process pH balancing are commonly used yet extremely corrosive and dangerous to worker health.
Handling such highly corrosive chemicals requires the pump to be able to sustain fluid containment and the control of any emissions. Pump seals are the component most vulnerable to attack by corrosive chemicals. Mostly manual checks are done to ensure there are no leakages.
Further presence of corrosive articles can erode internal pump components and substantially reduce pump performance. Apart from erosion, abrasive solids can cause pitting in the pump material, which can lead to problems with corrosion. Thus Chemical Sensors can be effective in monitoring the presence of chemicals beyond accepted limits.
Gas sensors are similar to chemical ones but are specifically used to monitor changes of the air quality and detect the presence of various gases. Like chemical sensors, they are used in centrifugal pumps to detect the presence of toxic or combustible gas. Hazardous gas monitoring is done in pumps used for coal mines, Oil & Gas industries, chemical Laboratory research, Manufacturing – paints, plastics, rubber, pharmaceutical & petrochemical, etc. A very basic use of gas sensor can be to detect vapor pressure of a fluid. It is the pressure, at a given temperature, at which a fluid becomes vapor. This pressure and temperature must be monitored to avoid cavitation as well as bearing damage caused by dry running when the fluid has evaporated. Gas sensors are an ideal solution to this problem.
A smoke sensor is a device that senses smoke (airborne particulates & gases ) and it’s level. They are especially useful to indicate leakage of poisonous gases from pumps. They are a good follow up to temperature sensors or chemical and gas sensors.
An infrared sensor is a sensor which is used to sense certain characteristics of its surroundings by either emitting or detecting infrared radiation. It is also capable of measuring the heat being emitted by object. They can be installed on pumps to gather data about task competitions. For instance, if a pump needs to be manually turned off every three hours to prevent burning out IR sensors will help detect whether the task was actually done at the required interval. They can detect also detect a variety of chemicals and heat leaks in the centrifugal pump.
A sensor which is used to determining the level or amount of fluids, liquids or other substances that flow in an open or closed system is called Level sensor. They are primarily known for measuring fuel levels, but they are also used in pumps that work with liquid materials. An ideal application for such a sensor would be to measure the quantity of liquid assets that is being pumped. This helps validate expectation and avoid fraud situations. Further with the use of these sensors, any product manager can precisely see how much liquid is ready to be pumped and whether it should be stepped up.
A Magnetic sensor or Hall Effect sensor is a transducer which varies its output voltage in reaction to a magnetic field. These types of sensors are used for proximity switching, speed detection, positioning and current sensing applications. In Centrifugal pumps they can be used to detect structural wear on impeller blades of centrifugal pumps. Wear and tear of impeller blades leads to reduced pump efficiency and plant downtime. Using a magnetic circuit with the pump and its components, wear is estimated by measuring the gap between the impeller and the pump housing. As the impeller wears, the gap between the impeller and the pump housing increases causing the reluctance of the magnetic circuit to increase which in turn reduces the inductance of the coil driving the magnetic circuit.
These are only some of the most popularly used sensors with centrifugal pumps. However the IIoT platform can be customised with required sensors to pick data that is most relevant to specific business operations. Sensors for IIoT Platform are the most affordable and efficient solution for predictive maintenance and real time monitoring as in most cases they can be installed on existing pumps and do not require any pump modifications. To know more on how
Centrifugal pumps benefit from IIoT platforms you can read Industrial IoT Solutions for centrifugal pump problems.