top of page

Updated: Sep 27, 2023


Case Study Forest Products


Challenge:

Forest Products

A forest products company has a unique situation in their steam environment. They have a very self contained environment where they use offcuts to power the boiler that produces their steam. The steam in turn provides heat, powers their compressor and even helps in the wood drying process. They need to report their CO2 emissions to the government and had very strict

guidelines to adhere to.


Since 1990 Canada’s forest sector has reduced its GHG emissions by close to 70%. Ensuring failures are caught immediately is essential to ongoing improvements.

Solution:


Pulse Steam Trap Monitors were installed on all steam traps. While installing it was found that one of the steam traps was not working. It was swapped out and monitor installed on new trap however data was still irregular and they quickly ascertained that new trap was not functioning properly and had to be replaced. New trap was installed and worked properly.


They realized that if the monitor had not caught the failure it would have gone undetected for up to 12 months, the usual timeline for their next steam trap survey. Being in such a remote location makes it difficult to get inspections done more frequently. They calculated that emissions saved from that one trap would have significantly impacted their government guidelines making them potentially subject to fines and a poor rating.


"There is no future without addressing climate change and forests are a key component of that"


Benefits:

  • Forestry suppliers operate in a heavily regulated market and emissions ratings can even be a competitive disadvantage.

  • They have suffered a lot of bad press over the last few years so have vowed to decarbonize their entire manufacturing and supply chain by 2030 - installing these monitors will help them achieve that goal

  • They can now schedule annual audits and rest assured that failures will not go undetected between inspections

  • They can focus on other carbon reductions in order to deliver on their promises




Updated: Sep 27, 2023



Challenge:

Beer Manufacturing

A large beer manufacturer uses steam extensively for their heat kettles, brew house, flash pasteurizer, keg room, glycol heater, sucrose system, heat exchanger and varioclean crp. Trap failures mean more than just lost energy, they could very quickly result in lost product.


Detection was so integral to their processes that they were inspecting their traps on a weekly basis. This took a staff member up to 5 hours each week (costing approx $2000 a month in wages and lost productivity). They calculated that a large failure would ruin product if it failed for longer than 24 hours. Each year they had up to 3 of those undetected failures with a loss of approx $100K product each time.


$2,000 per month in wages plus $1000 in month in energy savings is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of money saved

Solution:


Pulse Steam Trap Monitors were placed on 163 steam traps, gateways installed and data is now recorded constantly and sent to the AI diagnostics software. Failure alerts were set up to be sent to maintenance and brewery teams.


In the first month a failure was detected and repaired with no down time necessary and no lost product. Additional failures in the future are not a worry as the system is in place and supported 24x7. They plan on rolling out the solution to their other locations over the next 12 months.


"It literally broke my heart to have to

throw out all that beer several times a year"


Benefits:

  • Failures are detected right away so no product ever needs to be ruined

  • The worker who used to do inspections every week is now happily overseeing a new project

  • They are enjoying significant energy savings in addition to the production values

  • Maintenance workers don’t have to be on site at all times or glued to a screen with analytics as they are emailed with failure alerts when a failure occurs

  • User training on Pulse AI diagnostics system is very quick and easy




Updated: Jan 16, 2023

LoRaWAN fits into the IoT vision in several important ways.

LoRaWAN is being heralded as the backbone of the IoT. It truly supports innovative solutions that increase efficiency, reliability, safety and security within industrial processes and products. It is critical to IoT no matter what you call it - Smart Industry, Industry 4.0. But of course not just industry, healthcare, Oil&gas, universities, food & bev, pretty much all business that still needs a brick and mortar presence can benefit from cost effective real-time monitors and controls.


It stays true to the original vision of IoT. It is open-source and transmits over unlicensed frequency bands. That means you don’t pay for data usage. Plus it’s easy to develop your own LoRaWAN solutions and in true IoT form, the hardware and components should be interoperable between numerous vendors. As well, it provides a far longer range than WiFi or Bluetooth, works well indoors, and is especially valuable for remote areas where there are few cell towers. This is valuable for installations like oil wells or mines whose locations are dictated by the resources they are extracting. Also, as manufacturing and processing organizations are moving back to North America where labour and land prices are much higher than offshore prices, they will be forced to locate in more remote locations. LoRaWAN has embedded end-to-end AES-128 encryption, geolocation so no need for additional GPS add-on applications, plus it is low-power optimized, high capacity, multi-tenant and can be used indoors or outdoors.


Want to know some more details? Long range means signals can travel over a distance of more than 10 miles in rural areas. To give perspective, WiFi lasts about 150 feet, Bluetooth about 30 feet.


The low power aspect is significant because it means that batteries last a long long time (up to 10 years). Another way it conserves power is adaptive spreading which is inherent in the LoRa technology. This means the further from the gateway the higher the spread, a higher spread would normally take more power except that in this case the LoRa network knows to compensate by sending the data at a slower rate.


LoRaWAN has a high capacity - millions of messages can be transmitted per gateway which means you don’t have gaps in data and don’t have to limit the number of devices you deploy in the field.


Some last advantages include the fact that firmware updates can be done over-the-air and roaming is done seamlessly over different networks. LoRa signals are very resistant to interference, they are bi-directional, scalable, secure (network traffic can’t be listened to or captured).

Technical details aside, I am very excited to see what other types of applications and use cases people come up with. As of now, there are over 7 billion IoT devices, and this number is expected to grow to 50 billion by 2025! Some projects I have read about recently include things like weather reporting, smart agriculture, facial recognition applications, a gunfire detection app, a clothing microchip to verify authenticity, robotic maintenance sensors, smart crosswalks, and even something called smart dust - a system of tiny microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) such as sensors, robots, or other devices that can be used in health diagnostics.


bottom of page