Due to the rapid development of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) it is clear that there will be a large sedimentation and centrifugation market, but it is less clear who will be the purchasers. Centrifuge manufacturers are well positioned to take a leading role due to the challenging maintenance requirements for this high-speed equipment.
Many centrifuge manufacturers already have remote monitoring programs. Centrysis wireless remote monitoring is web-based and tracks 32 key parameters. It includes alerts, reports and service.
Source: McIlvaine Company
Alfa Laval has several remote monitoring initiatives including decanter centrifuge condition monitoring at the Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation District of Chicago. Vibration is monitored and controlled through a X20 PLC from B&R Industrial Automation. A custom I/O module has reduced costs and made remote monitoring attractive.
Alfa Laval has expanded the concept to related remote monitoring and service. The Octopus biosolids dewatering centrifuge autopilot monitors and controls all aspects of the dewatering process. This includes material feed, polymer dosing and internal decanter settings. Infrared sensors analyze performance and automatically make the necessary adjustments.
GEA is using SAP HANA software as part of a predictive maintenance and service program for food processors. The program also is geared toward optimizing the performance of decanters and separators. The program opens the door to modular service-level agreements, warranted availabilities and insurance for customers.
A similar program called GEA IO provides remote operation of separators on merchant ships and ferries. Performance on lube oil purification and water treatment is optimized. The operation is seamlessly integrated into the central digital control system for the ship. GEA is pointing to a future of autonomously operated ships. The elimination of the crew reduces operating costs by 20 percent. The first prototypes have already successfully completed test runs. A team of operators remotely monitors operations and if necessary can take control.
Level control is fundamental to any sedimentation process. With the advent of microprocessors, ultrasonic technology moved into the level instrumentation mainstream where today it is one of the most common and favored techniques in use at wastewater treatment plants. Many of the characteristics unique to ultrasonics can be managed automatically by signal processing algorithms programmed into each instrument. Today’s operators can take successful performance of an ultrasonic instrument for granted assuming the instrument is properly applied and installed.
The Drexelbrook CCS4000 Multi-Channel Sludge Blanket Level Monitor helps keep track of effluent quality in up to four separate water and wastewater treatment clarifiers and thickeners. The system uses ultrasonic technology to measure the compacted sludge level, the lighter rag material above the interface, and clarity loss in the water above the blanket and rag levels. The monitor eliminates worry about the adverse effects of denitrification, septic sludge, washouts, and mechanical breakdown of rakes. Compacted sludge tracking ensures that only dense sludge is withdrawn from the vessel, reducing pumping and disposal costs. At the same time, the lighter rag layer can be tracked to monitor the settling characteristics of the vessel, and the output can be used to control the use of chemical additives.
The heart of any clarifier or thickener drive unit is the main gear and bearing. One of the most obvious design features of the DBS drive unit is its torque gauge. DBS has used a large diameter stainless steel gauge that accurately indicates torque in foot-pounds or Newton-meters. The DBS torque gauges can be fitted with 4-20 mA torque transducer for remote monitoring and control. This information allows industrial users to increase the throughput and efficiency of their process.
IIoT and Remote O&M developments will help boost sedimentation and centrifugation revenues to just under $15 billion by 2026.
The projected remote O&M revenue is $3 billion which is in addition to just under $2 billion in onsite service.
There are pump, valve, treatment chemical, and related operation and maintenance revenues which are not included in the narrower definition of sedimentation and centrifugation but are part of the total revenue potential. There is an additional $8 billion in potential revenue for third party suppliers.
The move toward third party O&M will create an annual market potential of $22.7 billion by 2026. This includes $8 billion which would otherwise be in plant expenditures but will be instead provided by third parties.
There is likely to be both sharing and competition among suppliers. Companies such as Accenture, Genpact, and Wipro are offering digital process management systems which have procurement as a service component. It is possible that Accenture could purchase the water treatment chemicals, pumps, and valves. SAP is already partnering with GEA and has Asset Intelligence Network with a registry of components such as pumps with cloud-based support to provide details on parts. Nalco and other water treatment chemicals companies have 24/7 remote monitoring centers up and running.
The other type of competition will come from those companies, such as Suez, that are offering total operation and maintenance of the purification systems. Such companies are already operating municipal water and wastewater plants. The build, own, operate concept can be applied to industrial water and wastewater treatment systems as well. With IIoT and specifically digital process management, the elimination of operators makes third party contracts much more attractive.
Suppliers of sedimentation and centrifugation equipment can take bigger or smaller pieces of the pie. In the case of GEA which already supplies complete food processing systems, the role of third party O&M will be a natural transition. For many suppliers, it will be important to partner with companies who have the best potential to capture market share.
Ultimately there will be much more awareness and reward for those companies supplying products with the lowest cost of ownership. With sensors providing performance and maintenance data on a continuous basis there is clarity as to superior products. Some sedimentation and centrifugation suppliers have the opportunity to invest in better products and leave the remote O&M to others. The path for each company is likely to be unique and challenging due to the rapid evolution of what McIlvaine coins as IIoT empowered by IIoW (Wisdom). McIlvaine is providing a strategic planning package which includes some consulting and access to both the following reports.