Product advice: How remote process monitoring, alerts save time, money

An industrial wireless input/output (I/O) device connected to process sensors, customizable thresholds and remote monitoring accomplish more with less, according to a company with a Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award product.

By Jeff Boyd February 14, 2022
Courtesy: ATC Diversified Electronics, Marsh Bellofram

 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how one device can monitor multiple processes and conditions for greater advantages.
  • See how cloud connectivity allows for remote monitoring.
  • Learn that proof of concept demonstrates effectiveness.

It’s important that any process monitoring system can be used in a wide range of applications, covering a wide range of conditions including temperature, pressure, flow, vibration, presence of voltage, and others. Avoiding proprietary sensors also is important, to avoid driving up usage costs. Remote monitoring should create operational efficiencies and allow fast action to correct issues. Finally, any system should have real-world testing to back up its claims.

A single, flexible process monitoring system to improve efficiency

Industries as diverse as manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, medical, food and beverage and others, there is a need to remotely monitor processes and be alerted when certain critical thresholds are breached. Typical conditions to be monitored include temperature, humidity, vibration, flow, pressure and other process sensing measures.

Most solutions monitor only one or two of these, and it can be difficult to assimilate multiple detection systems into one cohesive solution. It’s better to have a solution that can monitor all conditions of an application and can adjust monitoring thresholds.

Cloud connectivity pays dividends for process monitoring systems

When the monitoring method is connected via remote input/output (I/O) connections, sensor data can be monitored in real-time and alerts can be triggered based on customizable thresholds.

The preference is a solution that works with a variety of sensors. This allows for near real-time information to be sent to a mobile app on any smart phone or tablet.

ATC Diversified Electronics Sensert is a remote process monitoring and alert system. A variety of sensors, such as temperature, humidity, vibration, and pressure, can be hardwired directly to the Sensert Base Unit or wirelessly connected via the Sensert Remote I/O. Sensor data is monitored in real-time and alerts are triggered based on customizable thresholds. System uses any 0-20 milliamp, 4-20 milliamp, 0-5 volt or 0-10 volt sensors. Android and Apple iOS mobile app makes monitoring easy. ATC Diversified Electronics is part of Marsh Bellofram. Courtesy: ATC Diversified Electronics, Marsh Bellofram

ATC Diversified Electronics Sensert is a remote process monitoring and alert system. A variety of sensors, such as temperature, humidity, vibration, and pressure, can be hardwired directly to the Sensert Base Unit or wirelessly connected via the Sensert Remote I/O. Sensor data is monitored in real-time and alerts are triggered based on customizable thresholds. System uses any 0-20 milliamp, 4-20 milliamp, 0-5 volt or 0-10 volt sensors. Android and Apple iOS mobile app makes monitoring easy. ATC Diversified Electronics is part of Marsh Bellofram. Courtesy: ATC Diversified Electronics, Marsh Bellofram

Proving the concept: boilers, air compressors, power reliability

Real-world testing is the proof of effectiveness. For example, wireless I/O and sensing monitors a boiler system used in the manufacture of elastomers.

The steam generated by the boiler is critical to the manufacturing processes, and if the pressure falls below 100 psi, costly downtime will likely follow. Without process monitoring, the facility maintenance manager needs to have a person on site to monitor the boiler gauges.

With the right process monitoring system, this same facility manager can check the boiler pressure from anywhere by using an application on a smartphone.

Maintenance also can use the same system on the plant’s air compressors. To supply constant air pressure to the plant’s testing facilities, several compressors fill reserve tanks and deliver air pressure. The process monitoring system allows maintenance to track air usage. This helps keep the air compressors operating at peak performance and can reveal a leak after it happens, avoiding waste.

The system also can alert plant maintenance to power outages caused by malfunctions with the local electrical utility. The app sends an alert when sensors stop reporting, providing early warning of the outage.

Such a system can save users hundreds of thousands of dollars by allowing maintenance to plan preventive maintenance, respond to issues faster and allow for remote monitoring instead of on-site personnel time.

Jeff Boyd is senior product manager, ATC Diversified Electronics (ATC/DEI), Marsh Bellofram. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Wireless remote monitoring advice, Engineers’ Choice Awards

CONSIDER THIS

How are you using wireless sensors to improve operations?


Author Bio: Jeff Boyd is senior product manager, ATC Diversified Electronics (ATC/DEI), Marsh Bellofram.