New Wireless Sensor Monitors Compressed Air Systems with Ease

Compressed air is used in many power-generation applications, especially for the instrumentation of valves. An under-performing compressed air system, or air that is contaminated with oil or water, leads to pressure drop, a main cause of increased energy consumption and the reduced efficiency of air-driven tools and equipment.

A compressed air system keeps many key processes running smoothly—as a result, it also represents one of the highest operational costs for a power generation facility because of the energy it consumes. Keeping them well-maintained, however, can be challenging, especially with complex, large-scale, compressed air systems. The standard maintenance approach relies on wired solutions or individual sensors with digital readouts. These must be routinely monitored, which can be labor- and time-intensive, especially for sensors in remote or hard-to-reach areas.

To streamline this process and reduce operational costs, Parker Hannifin has developed Transair powered by SCOUT Technology, a remote condition monitoring system that is used with Parker’s quick-connection, no-leak aluminum pipe systems. This wireless condition monitoring system is the first of its kind for the power generation industry. Facilities personnel can monitor the critical functions of their compressed air piping systems remotely. Slight system changes are recognized in real time before they become big problems, allowing for quick, inexpensive intervention—improving productivity, reducing downtime, and minimizing scrap.

Metrics matter

SCOUT Technology provides critical data on five key performance metrics: pressure, power, temperature, humidity, and flow. A user-friendly, cloud-based web-based interface makes it easy to view and analyze data 24/7. End users can receive both a quick snapshot and a complete in-depth analysis of compressed air performance at any time.

Being able to accurately monitor compressed air data is critical for maintaining top performance, especially as compressed air systems grow and become more complex over time. Monitoring this information allows personnel to identify and mitigate performance issues before they damage expensive equipment and cause unscheduled downtime. The payoff is reduced operational costs and job-critical equipment that lasts longer.

Reduce maintenance, reduce cost

Compressed air systems play a vital role in ensuring plant reliability and round-the-clock operation, whether it involves the transportation and distribution of natural gas to the consumer or the production of electricity from power plants and hydroelectric dams.

Improving compressed air system performance and reducing energy costs requires a systematic approach to analyzing both the supply and demand sides of the system. As much as 85 percent of the total cost of a compressed air system is energy—therefore maximizing efficiency and productivity of that system makes a big difference to the bottom line. Remote, wireless monitoring of key performance metrics allows operators, supervisors, and managers to make real-time adjustments and repairs to the compressed air system proactively based on system data, preventing higher maintenance costs and unscheduled downtime.