Scenarios belonging to Industry 4.0, such as predictive maintenance, are based on the provision of data, as well as integrated, networked communication. But for this to happen, IoT-compatible devices obviously have to be equipped with the necessary technology interfaces. Rittal is driving this capability forward forward for its cooling units and chillers in Industry 4.0 applications.
The company’s new IoT interface now means there can be continuous communication from the sensor to the cloud, plus the interface also supports connections to super-ordinate monitoring or energy management systems.
A great deal of information is generated by modern enclosure climate control solutions. But up to now, it has only been practical to record operating hours and the current temperature inside the enclosure.
However, modern devices like the new cooling units and chillers in the Rittal Blue e+ range, mean a multitude of values and other information can be measured and recorded. This includes the temperatures inside and outside the enclosure, the evaporator and condenser temperatures and, where appropriate, measurements from additional sensors located inside the enclosure.
In addition, instead of a simple operating hours meter, the run-times of the compressor and internal and external fan can be recorded separately. It also provides system messages, data for capacity utilisation and the current parametrisation information.
Creating added value from data
In order to realise the value from access to all this data, the information must be made available to superordinate systems. So, to this end, Rittal has developed a new IoT interface, which turns the cooling units and chillers in the Blue e+ range into IoT-compatible devices.
The IoT interface can be mounted either on a top hat rail, or directly on the cooling unit, or chiller. The protocols supported are OPC-UA, Profinet, SNMP, Modbus and CANopen. The number of protocols supported makes it is possible to connect to superordinate monitoring or energy management systems in virtually every case.
The data from the cooling units and chillers can then be accessed within these systems at all times, and it is also possible to set parameters and configure settings via the IoT interface.
The new IoT interfaces make it possible to integrate the climate control solutions into IoT applications, paving the way for new applications and smart service solutions. One example would be optimising the maintenance and servicing of climate control units, which in turn lowers operating costs.
Another important application is energy data management. With all this data available at all times, energy efficiency levels are increased, helping to reduce costs.