Use case for sand filter systems,
Filters are a major bottleneck in any sand mining business. IIoT minimizes process risks and increases operational efficiency.
For a sand mining company, clean sand is a top priority. But separating out the impurities from sand is a difficult task. The filters can easily become clogged or even break, bringing production to a standstill for hours. In this use case, the main objective of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is to let technicians carry out maintenance at exactly the right time. The result: optimal maintenance intervals with minimum impact on the production lines.
In this use case we will highlight the opportunities IIoT offers the sand mining sector. In this sector, massive mining machines dig up the sand, and long conveyor belts bring the sand to the treatment plant. Various machines – including filters – then separate the wheat from the chaff. Finally, the sand – or ore – is packed as a finished product.
During the filtering process, stones and other objects gradually create more and more obstructions. This decreases the filter surface area and in turn the efficiency of the machine. At the same time, the filter load increases dramatically. This load can even cause the filter to break. This worst-case scenario will immediately lead to hours of machine downtime, which has a serious impact on production.
If filters are not replaced in a timely manner, there is also a risk of low-quality sand passing through. This can cause additional problems and costs further down the line.
The goal is to use IIoT to achieve maximum machine efficiency and optimal maintenance planning. In this process, we try to avoid machine failure at all costs.
With manual checks, the engineers must carry out regular inspections on the production lines. It is important, of course, that checks are carried out at agreed interval and that engineers have the knowledge and skills needed to make the right decisions. In these environments, we usually find a higher number of problems after, for example, shift changes, days off or when less experienced staff carry out the checks.
In addition, a manual check does not rule out the possibility that the filter may clog up and possibly break a few minutes later. This is because manual checks are snapshots, rather than ongoing analyses that could pick up signs of decreasing performance over time.
It goes without saying that there is huge potential for improvement here. What if we could replace the limited number of manual checks per day with continuous 24/7 quality monitoring? What if we could harness the expertise of the world's best service engineers in a technological solution? What if we could spot deteriorating filter performance early and schedule timely maintenance?
Cegeka has an answer to these questions. In the spirit of ‘to measure is to know', installing a camera over strategically selected filters ensures continuous monitoring of the filter. This makes it possible to detect when obstructions are affecting performance in real time. In addition, the risk of a filter breaking is constantly assessed against predetermined thresholds.
In this application, we use an industrial camera to constantly monitoring the filter at 30 frames per second. Local deep learning models process the data and make it comprehensible. Cegeka is training these models, together with the experts of the sand mining company, to obtain reliable models that draw the right conclusions from the camera images.
It goes without saying that this technology needs a lot of data so it can learn to recognise patterns. For example, a high-resolution (HD) camera that can record 30 frames per second generates as much as 180 Mb/s. This quickly drives up data volumes. And for adequate image processing, image compression is out of the question.
To provide connectivity for a large site such as a sand quarry, unreliable Wi-Fi connections or expensive and inflexible wired networks are not always the best solutions. That is why setting up a local private 4G network is recommended. It is obvious that 5G will increase capacity and speed in the future.
Once the foundations for IIoT are in place, they will unlock even more opportunities. For instance, we can closely monitor the amount of impurities, the frequency of blockages or the quality of the sand with cameras. It might be interesting to explore whether a robot can solve certain problems with cameras and sensors.
“The more uses for IIoT we can detect at the sand quarry, the more interesting the business case becomes.”Herbert Vanhove, Division Director Industry 4.0, IIoT & 5G at Cegeka
At the same time, a strong private network is providing inspiration for numerous other IIoT applications in the sand quarry. We can detect harmful dust build-up using the appropriate sensors, for example, and cameras make it possible to register which lorries are creating dust when they drive too fast.
Sensors also make it possible to track and trace expensive machines on site, which allows for optimal use of resources. Last but not least, IIoT improves safety in this high-risk environment. Technology can, for example, check if employees are wearing the correct safety equipment and if they are keeping their distance and staying out of restricted areas on the site.
Especially the cumulative benefits in terms of operational efficiency should not be underestimated.
Building a solid IIoT hub is no easy feat. You need to know how to install a reliable network, how to connect the cameras and other sensors properly and how to process the large amount of data centrally in the best possible manner. The level of technological complexity should not be underestimated.
“The level of technological complexity involved in setting up a solid IIoT hub should not be underestimated.”Herbert Vanhove, Division Director Industry 4.0, IIoT & 5G at Cegeka
Cegeka helps to implement state-of-the-art IIoT solutions. As a strategic end-to-end partner, Cegeka installs devices such as cameras and sensors and then links them to the central IoT hub, which serves as a data integration platform. This hub manages and analyses all the data in the cloud. All of this is done with a keen focus on safety.
In addition, Cegeka ensures that operators have a clear dashboard on their devices. This means they have all the information they need to do their jobs available to them in real time. Similarly, the company ensures flawless integration with underlying systems, such as the ERP.
Cegeka has many specialists in the field of machine learning and IIoT within its own organization. Having been part of the Cegeka group for some time now, telecoms operator Citymesh also has the expertise to set up its own private 4G and 5G networks.
Be sure to watch the webinar with Herbert Vanhove, our very own IIoT expert.
Then we invite you to discover your business opportunities together during a Discovery Workshop.
Division Director Industry 4.0, IIoT & 5G