Remote monitoring for cooling systems can help your process and save money.

Click to enlarge

Available for use with complete systems as well as individual machine-side chillers and temperature control units, remote monitoring control technology tracks process parameters in real time.

You can start your car from your bed and check your home security system from your smart phone. So it was only a matter of time before remote monitoring technology took hold in the manufacturing world as well.

Although certain industries and larger machines have used such systems for a while, remote monitoring of central process cooling systems is relatively new, having been introduced to the market last year. Only a dozen or so manufacturers have been using the technology for process cooling. But, that is changing quickly due to the many clear benefits the new system provides. This article will take a closer look at the applications and advantages of remote monitoring for process heating and cooling systems.

Remote Monitoring Basics

Available for use with complete process cooling systems as well as individual machine-side chillers and temperature control units, remote monitoring control systems track an array of system parameters in real time to help operators maximize process cooling efficiency, speed troubleshooting and facilitate preventive maintenance.

The system incorporates an Ethernet cable run to the main unit with the rest of the system daisy chained together for monitoring the entire cooling system. The remote monitoring panel, called PMR, includes software for interface between the equipment and the Internet.

If an alarm sounds, an email can be sent to plant operators and technicians from the process cooling equipment manufacturer. Often, technicians from the equipment provider can resolve common issues over the Internet, taking advantage of remote features to monitor and manage ambient temperature, setpoint temperature, fan speed, pump pressure, flow rate, reservoir levels, valves and filter pressure. If the problem is a mechanical issue, the faulty part can be identified and shipped without delay.

With remote monitoring, an equipment technician often can tell the processor what is wrong by looking at a screen and viewing machine settings, alarm readings and other available parameters. The most common alarms tend to be related to temperature setpoint issues. Issues such as these can cause the system to run harder than necessary, meaning it is not operating at maximum efficiency and opening it up to unnecessary wear and maintenance needs. This is easy to diagnose and repair to help ensure processors are running at optimal efficiency.

If an on-site visit is necessary, the data provided by remote monitoring can ensure the visit is as short (and low cost) as possible.

Trend Analysis

Click to enlarge

Remote monitoring of central process cooling systems facilitates troubleshooting and trend analysis.

Monitoring software can record and retain as much 30 days’ data at a time, providing an additional benefit: the opportunity to analyze system trends for better problem solving. Some software produces charts and graphs showing past events, fault logs, historical trends, performance analysis and troubleshooting. This provides experienced technicians with knowledge they can use quickly.

For example, a processor observed that the process water temperature at his plant had been rising over several weeks. A technician looked closely at the trend data and determined that the problem was dirty coils. A simple maintenance task fixed system issues that would have otherwise required an in-person service visit to the plant.

Although remote monitoring technology is fairly new to the process heating and cooling realm, manufacturers can reduce downtime and maintenance costs by using it. In addition, the system can help a company on its path toward sustainability because the software also registers real-time energy and water consumption at the plant. Prompt adjustments can be made to optimize these parameters, saving valuable resources and costs.

Sidebar:
Benefits of Remote Monitoring

  • Continuously optimized processing parameters.
     
  • Minimized maintenance and downtime.
     
  • Troubleshooting assistance.
     
  • Reduced on-site visits.
     
  • Peace of mind.

Links