March 20, 2006
Life as a customer and service employee in Holland just got a little easier – due to a pilot project using a cell phone as a tool.
It is all about overview and modern communication technology, and it is taking place in the Dutch town of Waddinxveen.
28 in a row
In the Dutch Pilot project it is wastewater pumps of the type SEG, 28 in all, and they are all connected to a newly developed monitoring system.
The system, which “talks” directly with the pump during operation, consists of two applications. These have the technical names Grundfos Monitoring & Controls and SmartCon.
The system is based upon GPRS, which ensures constant, fast and secure communication wirelessly.
In co-operation these applications can:
· Send out alarms via SMS, E-mail, or directly to the Internet
· Display actual operational status on the Internet
· Display historical data for the pump on the Internet
· Send commands to the pump via the Internet
· Make changes to settings e.g. start level in the pit.
This means that the persons responsible for Operation and Service are informed about disturbances as soon as they occur. This happens fast and conveniently through, for instance, a message directly to their cell phone informing them which pump there is a problem with and also what is the cause of the problem.
In future, when more application data is available in the system, also reports and analysis will be generated and predictive maintenance can be achieved.
A push of a button
The idea is that both customers and service staff will be able to save time using this system.
In some cases it will even be possible to correct a problem simply by pushing a button on the Internet, whereas this disturbance would previously have required a service visit.
This system is the first of its kind. Traditional monitoring and control systems (SCADA systems) normally consist of expensive and proprietary software that needs to be installed on a computer at the customers’ location and are often connected with a fixed telephone line, using a modem. Using the Grundfos solution, customers and service engineers can access their pumps and installations from anywhere in the world through an Internet browser.
Just recently, the first system consisting of 28 pumps and pits connected to 1 central controller was handed over to the local authorities of the city of Waddinxveen who reacted enthusiastically. During the next month, Grundfos Holland expects to connect over 500 pumps, mainly SEG, SEV and EF, to the system in order to get a proper basis for evaluation of the pilot project. Depending on this evaluation and customer response, this number can go up very quickly to up to 3,000 units.
Not all pumps are created equal
And therefore also monitoring systems differ. Usually pumps located in large heating systems or in production plants are already connected to a Building Management System or an industrial monitoring system of some sorts. Large water and sewage treatment plants also already use very sophisticated SCADA software to monitor and control their plants.
The Grundfos pilot system has been especially developed for the monitoring of stand alone or remotely located installations, which otherwise can be hard or impossible to monitor. These could be submersible pumps, booster systems or even SQ Flex installations. However also Magna pumps and other Grundfos “E” pumps can be connected just as easily.
Developed in co-operation
The final solution has been developed in close co-operation between Grundfos in Holland and a local partner and Group eBusiness in Bjerringbro and full advantage is taken from WebCAPS, using product data, exploded service drawings and service videos. Last but not least, the Dutch telecom company KPN, provided the installation of the secure network that connects the pumps wirelessly to the Grundfos network.