5 ways our predictive technology can be used for more than just pipelines
Whether you are chatting with Alexa, switching your heating on while heading home, or keeping track of your exercise with a smartwatch, the internet of things (IoT) is everywhere. The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is equally prevalent in industry, where IIoT technologies help make a wide range of industries and sectors more efficient.
Data overflows the industrial world, and most of it is not used or exploited to its full potential. Historically, operators have focussed on data that monitors the present to identify any anomalies. Today, IIoT solutions – including Dashboard’s IIoT platform – can harness previously inaccessible data. Our platform and predictive technology provides data-driven insights and foresight to enable better and faster decision making.
Our initial focus is using our IIoT solution to make pipelines cleaner, safer, and more efficient. Beyond this, the applications of our platform are many and varied. Today we will explore five ways that Dashboard’s predictive IIoT-based solution can be used for more than just pipelines.
Intelligent Wind Turbines
We have already explored what emerging technologies will make wind energy more efficient in a previous post, but IIoT solutions is another answer.
The number of wind turbines and wind farms is growing as people endeavour to move towards cleaner forms of energy. Wind turbines are complicated pieces of machinery with gearboxes, electrics, large rotor blades, and motors. Malfunctions in any part of the wind turbine can cause downtime, and when turbines are not turning, they cannot generate electricity. This decreases the turbine’s overall efficiency and increases operational costs. On top of this, inspection to identify the fault and repairs are costly, time-consuming and labour intensive.
As a result, IIoT technologies that provide preventative and predictive maintenance offer an efficient solution.
IoT technologies like edge computing and digital twins enable remote monitoring of turbines. You can remotely control turbines or farms for optimum performance if you understand what they are doing. Visibility for every part of the turbine, whether gearbox or rotor blade, makes it easy to identify faults without extensive investigation.
Offshore wind farms are growing in popularity for effectively producing wind energy but they are historically difficult, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous to inspect. IIoT technologies will become integral to the growth of offshore wind farms to enable remote monitoring and predictive maintenance from the safety of a control room.
Dashboard has already explored using our platform and IIoT technologies in relation to wind turbines. We were a participant in the Innovate UK funded and award-winning WindTwin project. Working alongside top UK engineering experts, Dashboard helped produce an IIoT solution to enable preventative and predictive maintenance for wind turbine gearboxes.
Solar, another source of renewable energy, can also benefit from IIoT solutions and Dashboard’s platform. IIoT technologies like digital twins mean that you can monitor groups of panels or individual panels, wherever they are. Just like with turbines, you can focus your maintenance efforts where they are needed. If a single panel fails, the whole group will not need replacing because the technician can see precisely what went wrong. IIoT solutions extend the life span of units and increase their efficiency by providing remote monitoring and predictive maintenance, whether for a wind turbine or a solar panel.
IIoT technologies also enable panels to sense their optimal position for capturing the sun’s rays and they can automatically adjust themselves to ensure optimum power production and efficiency.
IoT and Energy
As shown with wind and solar, the IoT and energy go well together. The IoT and Dashboard’s predictive technologies have many applications within the broader energy sector.
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are clean, but they rely on the weather. While the UK is often windy, consistent sunlight is less reliable. Back-up energy is often needed to feed the grid and ensure a constant supply of electricity. Similarly, on very sunny or windy days, sometimes there can be an excess of renewable power production that is wasted or needs to be stored. Research is underway in using global weather forecasts to predict global wind or solar production and peak demand. Informed by this, you could run solar or wind farms with increased efficiency and eliminate wasted energy.
IoT and energy create intelligent energy grids. The grids use IIoT technologies and solutions to provide real-time electricity consumption data that energy companies use to make informed data-driven decisions. For instance, sensors at substations and along distribution lines make faults or outages easy to detect. Once detected, you can switch faulty lines off and reroute electricity either automatically or manually. The IoT and solutions like our platform make grids intelligent and transform the energy sector into a safer and more efficient industry.
Currently, we are focussing on providing remote monitoring and predictive maintenance of pipelines. However our platform's potential is broad and extends beyond the energy sector to industries that generate data.
Most industries have assets that would benefit from the remote monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities of our platform, like generators, pumps, motors, or gearboxes. Just like with solar panels and wind turbines, the predictive capabilities of our platform can extend the operational lives of equipment, reduce cost, and drive efficiency.
Dashboard has also identified applications of our platform within the civil infrastructure sector, particularly bridge infrastructure management.
Globally, there are vast quantities of legacy bridges that are ageing and facing demand that surpasses their original intent. Maintenance and inspection are time-consuming, labour intensive, expensive, and dangerous. Our platform is already addressing a similar problem with pipelines and could do the same for bridges by remote monitoring a bridge’s structural integrity for predictive maintenance.