You’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘internet of Things’ (IoT). It describes the internet-enabled products that can act intelligently to create faster, simpler, more streamlined experiences.
The typical applications might by the IoT enabled smart meter that sends meter readings to your electricity supplier automatically, or the IoT enabled printer that orders its own ink.
Yet whilst these are the domestic, everyday applications, industry is enjoying its own IoT revolution with a new generation of smart assembly components that tell the robots what to do with them. As compressed air is behind around 10% of global manufacturing, it’s natural that the IoT is set to impact the world of the air compressor too.
Perhaps the greatest challenge in any air compressor system is keeping track of the parameters that matter most, and which can be the first sign of trouble: pressure, flow, motor speed, filter efficiency etc.
There are already systems which can monitor these but at present they’ve tended to be data gatherers they haven’t acted on that data. So, when you air compressor pressure drops below a certain level, for example, the system may alert you and you’ll call your compressed air maintenance people (people like us).
The next step is for the system is to alert your air compressor specialist itself, removing the need for your involvement – something that would be relatively simple to engineer for any client with an ongoing service plan. There’s real potential here to address issues before they become problems.
Such a system could, for example, detect a clogged filter before you might notice it. Or it may spot a cold weather risk of condensate freezing and order a service call to fix the problem.
Finally, there’s the ultimate stage of air compressor artificial intelligence: the sort that not only self-diagnoses but self-repairs, adjusting pressures and air flows to optimise performance.
Thankfully for every compressed air maintenance specialist, we’re not quite there yet!