Telekom and RUD Take Conveyor Systems into the Cloud

09.08.2021 by Annalena Rauen
Woman in a digitized power plant

In many power stations nothing functions without RUD conveyor chains. They keep coal-fired power stations running smoothly, for example, by ensuring the continuous removal of ash. But the material is seriously impacted in the process and the manufacturer needs to monitor the condition of its chains. To do so continuously and to prevent outages RUD uses the Internet of Things (IoT) and can analyze all installations remotely via Telekom’s Cloud of Things.

Powerful forces are at work when coal is converted into energy. Tons of sedimentary rock run along conveyor belts from stockpiles to coal stacks and are incinerated at temperatures of around 1,300° Celsius after heavy machinery has ground them into dust. Steam is produced that powers turbines and generators. While the electricity that is generated is fed into the grid, the hot coal ash is disposed of beneath the boilers. If the coneyor chains are defective and no longer remove the incineration waste the worst case is that the entire power station may grind to a halt. Functioning conveyor systems are essential for a smooth material flow.

No Remote Status Analysis

RUD Ketten Rieger & Dietz GmbH & Co. KG, founded in 1875, specializes in industrial conveyor systems of this kind and manufactures robust system components such as high-performance chains, rollers and wheels. As they are mainly used in extreme conditions regular status checks and maintenance are indispensable.

Inspection used to be by means of sensors and an on-site traffic light system. In addition, RUD customers only replaced chains on the basis of a rule of thumb. Remote maintenance or continuous status analysis of chains were not possible.

How Does the Cloud Help With Remote Analysis?

That is why RUD, an SMB headquartred in Aalen, Baden-Württemberg, was looking for a digital solution to inspect its customers’ conveyor chains remotely and ensure that it always had the latest data. It chose an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution based on Telekom’s Cloud of Things. Sensors were already installed in its existing conveyor systems. Telekom lost no time in adding an IoT box – a so-called Smart Box – that can be connected with the IoT Cloud. Data collected is relayed via the mobile network to the Cloud.

More than a dozen RUD installations now transmit data to the Internet of Things. Built-in sensors send GSM-encrypted heat or takeup data via SIM cards to the Cloud of Things, where the data is visualized and can then be accessed by RUD customers on a secure dashboard. Without needing to be at the ash disposal plant power station operators can thanks to the digital data from the plant check the latest status reports from their control room desk or follow the strain and wear and tear of chains live, as it were. The solution has advantages for RUD too, of course. It can plan its chain production better now that it knows exactly which customer will shortly need replacements. RUD can thereby provide better service and is always able to deliver on demand.

Plan Maintenance More Efficiently With the Internet of Things

Based on individual alarm settings RUD customers are now notified in real time by e-mail when a value no longer corresponds to the norm. So power station operators can prepare in time for a chain replacement and prevent downtimes; the IoT solution enables them to identify possible downtimes in advance. In addition, predictive maintenance enables RUD and its customers to plan on-site work more efficiently. RUD, for instance, can  notify customers of maintenance work proactively, and routine checks that in view of the machine’s condition are not necessary are no longer required.

The Cloud of Things can also be scaled flexibly so that users can add new installations swiftly. RUD has already connected installations in Brazil to the Cloud of Things and more connected conveyor belts are planned in India and Australia.


 

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Annalena Rauen
Annalena Rauen

Marketing Managerin IoT

Back in 2016, Anna worked on IoT topics at Deutsche Telekom for the first time. Since then, she has been supporting customer best practices in a wide range of industries – always focusing on the benefits that the Internet of Things can provide. Her IoT blogposts describe real use cases and the value these innovations add to market players, their business models, and even entire industries.