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Energy-saving and reducing carbon emissions by applying advanced ultrasonic technology to industrial maintenance services for compressed air systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - E-saving Ultrasonics (Energy-saving and reducing carbon emissions by applying advanced ultrasonic technology to industrial maintenance services for compressed air systems)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

SONOTEC aims to strategically renew its business area of Preventive Maintenance by developing an innovative product for advanced ultrasonic measuring and testing to reduce energy waste and carbon footprint. The modular and scalable technology integrates hardware, software und sensor components for maintenance diagnostics systems. New measurement principles enable customized applications for energy saving task such as quantification of energy loss. The new technology will be primarily applied to highly improved methods for leak detection and evaluation in compressed air systems and for the energy related efficiency and wear in machinery operation and diagnostics.The objective during phase 1 of H2020 SME instrument was to assess the technical feasibility of a ground-breaking product innovation and evaluate the company’s business potential for exploitation and commercialization. For this reason a technical and commercial feasibility study including a business plan had to be developed within 6 months. SONOTEC is convinced of having the excellence to develop a technological newness to the market that will help to reduce energy-waste and carbon footprint. Thus addressing the topic SIE-01-2014-1: Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon energy system in the present call for the Horizon 2020 dedicated SME instrument - Phase 1 2014. The company’s management believes in improving its innovation management capacity (Innovations in SMEs) with support of the SME Instrument to implement its high-risk and high-potential innovation idea and become a worldwide leading enterprise in the field of advanced ultrasonic technology.
Important output of the feasibility study

• The modular platform concept has been extended to a scalable architecture with respect to:
- Performance of the digital circuit board
- IT capability of the processor unit and storage volume
- Number of sensors and channels at one node

• Study of the application advantages of the ultrasonic tightness approach for energy saving

• Extended market and trend analysis for application for energy saving task and maintenance for rotating machinery

• Extension of the IT architecture to a complex hierarchy which includes handheld and network-programming and the adoption to the regulation of maintenance and energy saving

• Identification of the extended business area of maintenance of machinery diagnostics with respect to prediction of operational availability

• Enabling of a high degree of customization of products involving expert knowledge and new distribution channels

• Identification of qualified engineering projects as a precursor for new product developments
Market analyses state a rising demand for advanced maintenance technology within Industry 4.0. Thus introducing the novel technology is expected to boost market growth. Middle range scenarios for the European and the global market display a promising development of sales volume and market shares in the segment of advanced ultrasonic measuring and testing equipment used for detection and evaluation of leaks in compressed air systems.

Main result of the innovation project will be a new product class around a modular platform for maintenance. The new measurement and testing equipment will support energy saving service and engineering work. Furthermore, the technological concept will generate new applications, mainly for tasks of energy saving in maintenance. The new technology will strengthen the company’s position on the market. Caused by the integration of state-of-the-art IT- and IC-technology new maintenance field can be opened. The new technique will extent the potential for new workplaces for testers, engineers, sales and distributions.

To exploit its market potential SONOTEC plans to develop further product modifications and applications. At the same time SONOTEC will put large investments in further establishing its international distribution network to deal with technological follow-ups of the main competitors and market entries of new competitors.

Education and training will be part of renewing the business area of Preventive Maintenance. Next to pursuing the economical objective of generating turnover by giving workshops to company representatives the more important strategic goal is to actively raise awareness for economic and ecological effects of modern maintenance by using ultrasonic technologies. The concept includes the setup of a modular education and training program consisting of in-house, external and web-based seminars. Starting by indicating and understanding coherencies of industrial and societal problems the program will highlight the impact of Industry 4.0 on industrial maintenance and the need for maintenance management systems and networks. Main feature will be the introduction of advanced technology and methods based on ultrasound followed by the explanation of new measuring and testing procedures and the use of modern equipment. The addressed audience are companies facing maintenance problems with own departments, businesses offering maintenance services as well as institutions and universities teaching technological and/or societal subjects.

The implementation of the education and training concept will be supported by the Network Ultrasound NetUs (co-founded by SONOTEC). The network provides an established infrastructure of partners combining skills, know-how and R&D activities. The companies and research institutes acting in the network represent the various elements along the value chain. SONOTEC will also coordinate its activities with regional entities representing interface between economy and science. SONOTEC plans to align with international maintenance training standards of the European Training Committee (ETC), part of the European Federation of National Maintenance Societies (EFNMS) and the European Certification and Qualification Association (ECQA).
Industrial maintenance segments to apply ultrasonic technology
Indication of direct accountability of compressed air systems to an annual electricity consumption.
Network of education and training
Project timeline SME instrument phase 2 - Gantt view