How air preparation is getting smarter
2nd Quarter 2017, Pneumatic systems & components
Air preparation is a critical process as it ensures the clean, stable source of energy that machines need to operate consistently and efficiently. The latest equipment is a leap forward in pneumatics technology. Not only does today’s air preparation equipment filter impurities out, it also offers transparency into what has traditionally been an opaque process.
In the past, air preparation devices used to be simple: filters, regulators, lubricators or a service unit combination. Recent innovations in air preparation have changed this. Lubricators have become less significant as equipment tends to come with lifetime lubrication, while filters have remained largely the same. The difference is on the inside. Today’s equipment comes with monitoring features that allow useful information to be tracked for the optimisation of the air preparation process.
Festo’s MSE6-E2M is an intelligent pneumatic service unit equipped with measurement, control and diagnostic functions. This gives supervisors an unprecedented view into the performance of equipment or machinery downstream of a unit. It has three main functions: limiting energy loss during idle time, monitoring the health of the pneumatic system during this idle time and supplying critical information about the consumption, flow and pressure condition of the system.
Air leaks are an unavoidable part of many pneumatics processes, but monitoring technology allows for these to be minimised. The MSE6-E2M’s flow sensor detects the machine’s idle state, stopping the flow of air into the system and avoiding unnecessary wastage. All that is needed is to program in the flow parameters of the machine when in idle mode and it will switch off the compressed air supply after a predetermined period of idleness.
Another exciting function is the pressure sensor, which serves as a maintenance tool by detecting potential leakages by alerting the operator to unexplained pressure drops. The different parameters for normal downstream pressure usage are programmed in, and the unit sends out a warning signal once an unacceptable limit is reached.
The third benefit is that by continuously monitoring pressure and flow, it is possible to measure the energy consumption of a machine. Previously only electrical consumption information was available, but now it is possible to work out production costs accurately. The efficiency and energy savings gained with these monitoring features translate into substantial cost savings. As companies seek ways to cut costs on the factory floor and adopt a greener footprint, a new generation of smarter air preparation equipment offers the solution.
For more information contact Kershia Beharie, Festo, 086 003 3786, email@example.com, www.festo.com