Real-time diagnostics, easy network integration and verifiable measurement results are enabled by sensors in automation. What requirements must intelligent weighing sensors fulfill to prepare process technology for the future?
The chemical industry is under increasing pressure to comply with regulations, improve production efficiency and react quickly to customer requirements. This places higher expectations on process technology automation. Measurement sensors play a critical role in production processes according to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Process quality and safety using sensors
Weighing sensors are present in many automated processes throughout the chemical industry including dosing materials into reactors and verifying final product weight. These weighing applications usually have tight tolerances and require consistently accurate measurements to ensure product quality and process safety.
Real-time diagnostics enabled by intelligent load cells
Because inaccurate measurements, especially if they go unnoticed, can have a significant impact on quality and cost, continuous monitoring of sensor performance is critical. State-of-the-art weighing technology for automation is based on intelligent load cells with integrated microprocessors for signal processing directly at the actual "working point". This eliminates data transmission errors and improves the accuracy and consistency of measurement results.
Reduced down-time with preventive maintenance
Intelligent load cells also allow for continuous weighing-process analysis. This means a failure or even gradual loss of performance can be identified and reported immediately to the control system or the mobile phone of the production manager. Additionally, capabilities for remote diagnostics via cloud-based systems allow early recognition of potential issues and enable immediate reaction by service providers to avoid costly downtime.
The ability to collect such detailed measurement and diagnostics data enables a new and improved approach to process control and optimization—a prerequisite for the age of Industry 4.0. Intelligent sensors pave the way for overall improvements in quality, compliance and productivity.