The first real-world research project by the AIoT Lab is about pneumatic systems: The project has implemented an AIoT-enabled air leak detection system. Currently, 4 test systems are deployed around the globe, including an installation at the Bosch Connectory in Chicago, the Bosch research facility in Shanghai, the TÜV Süd test lab in Singapore, as well as the lab HQ in Heilbronn, Germany.
Pneumatic Systems is the use case considered in our AIoT Lab. A pneumatic system is a system that uses compressed air to do work for automated equipment through a combination of inter-connected components. Examples can be found in industrial manufacturing, car wash, food industry or medical applications. Linear or rotary motion are the forms in which work is usually produced. To protect the cylinders, actuators, pipes and pumps, filtering and drying of the compressed air or the pressurized gas are usually implemented.
20-30% of a compressor’s output can be leaked which can account for a significant source of wasted energy in an industrial compressed air system. A leak rate equal to 20% of the total compressed air production capacity is the usual expected loss due to leaks in a typical plant that has poor maintenance. According to the company Madder, around 62,000 compressed air systems are installed which consumes 16 million kWh Energy approximately. Hence detecting such leaks will lead to maximum saving potential around 50 % in this area. Leaks are also one of the primary contributors to operating losses other than being a source of wasted energy. A drop-in pressure that is caused by the leaks can make the system less efficient, which in turn adversely affects production. Common leak points are: Couplings, hoses, tubes, and fittings, pressure regulators, open condensate traps and shut-off valves, and Pipe joints, disconnects, and thread. In our Lab environment, we use the LEGO- pneumatic system to develop the prototype.
The picture below shows how the system is currently tested with Mader, a specialist in pneumatics.
Our AIoT Stack
The Dataflow within architecture is cyclic and the Edge Device is the key to the Data Flow.
Edge Devices are the end nodes typically located on the observation site. As it is a crucial part of the IoT architecture, the computation is supposed to be ubiquitous in nature. For the current Pneumatic use case, the design decisions are Harmonized with the most Successful IoT device design. I.e. A palm sized; touch screen based computing device. User can interact with the UI designed on the edge device. (In case of invisible Ubiquitous Design Pattern, the user interaction will be different) In the Pneumatic use case, we are using a touch screen to render Kivy based UI.Edge devices also need to perform the necessary signal processing i.e., signal acquisition, signal conversion, denoising, feature extraction. Edge device should also be capable of running a fully trained neural network.
Communication is often inferenced as interpretation. For the proposed architecture, the interpretation is part of the Edge Device's user interaction. And Communication is the way device interacts with the system.
This part of the architecture handles the internal essential operations such as Database Management, User Handling, File Storage, Device Monitoring as well as the service offerings such as Visualization.
- DB and User Management – To manage and Modify UserData and necessary Metadata
- File Storage – Storage of System specific files such as weights, data, datasets, models etc.
- Device Monitoring – To keep on the monitor processes for the deployed edge devices
- Visualization – Providing graphical insights to the data as well as device alerts
Our AIoT Lab uses the tool - LeanIX that offers SaaS solutions to help IT architects, IT asset managers, business leaders, and DevOps teams achieve transparency and control over their enterprise architecture, SaaS, and microservices landscapes. The tool becomes important in maintaining the value stream of the project.
In cooperation with the company Mader GmbH and StackIT, a first prototype launched by our team at AIoT Lab. The requirements of robustness, reuse and fairness are in the foreground. These were defined together with Mader GmbH & Co. KG. Pneumatic systems are used in countless applications today. Any leak in a pneumatic system leads to increased operating costs and energy. According to the Mader company, Around 16 million kWh of energy is wasted per year and detecting such leaks as a saving potential around 50%. The solution approach piloted in the AIoT Lab thus contributes to significantly increasing both profitability and sustainability.