Monitoring with Temperature Control Systems
Temperature control systems play a key role in processing plastics. Products will only achieve the desired surface and properties if the temperature of the machining tools and the material is properly adjusted. Fraunhofer IPA and Gesellschaft Wärme Kühltechnik (gwk) have jointly developed Logotherm 4.0, a solution that monitors the condition and process data of the temperature control systems and sounds an alarm in the event of any anomalies. The researchers first linked gwk’s temperature control system to Virtual Fort Knox, a cloud platform developed by Fraunhofer IPA. Logotherm 4.0 collects the condition and process data from all machines within the plant. The information is displayed centrally via a dashboard in near-real time.
Proactively maintaining equipment
The Industrie 4.0 approach involves not only collecting data from production, but also processing it intelligently. To do this, Logotherm 4.0 monitors the condition in the background. "The application analyses data from the machine control. Errors and anomalies are shown on the dashboard," IPA Project Leader Dennis Bauer explains. The Fraunhofer IPA researchers have also integrated a notification service that sends the person responsible a message automatically in the event of any problems, meaning that faults can be identified and resolved more quickly. This solution is suitable for predictive maintenance, and is designed to use the condition data to accurately determine the service life of the most important components such as pumps or valves. This means that machinery and equipment can be maintained proactively and downtime reduced. The system also improves process quality. The person responsible can retrieve machine data for temperature, flow volume, pressure and performance, and readjust these in the event of any anomalies.
Logotherm 4.0 was developed for companies that use temperature control systems for processing plastics, but, in principle, condition and process monitoring could be applied in all industries. "For example, it would be possible to carry out maintenance remotely or supply replacement parts automatically." A Logotherm 4.0 demonstrator has been set up at Fraunhofer IPA's Application Center Industrie 4.0.