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DTI for Preventive Maintenance - Part 1

Case Study from the Manufacturing Industry


Cleantech & Beyond specializes in developing advanced materials for environmental sensing applications. Our team of technical experts and industry veterans is dedicated to creating sustainable and innovative technologies that benefit both people and the planet.


Temperature monitoring in preventive maintenance


One of the pressing issues we are tackling is the problem of detecting temperature excursions in preventive maintenance, which are events when the temperature of equipment, machinery, or components exceeds a normal operating range. Temperature monitoring is highly crucial in preventive maintenance programs due to several reasons:


  1. Providing early detection of underlying problems. Giving off excessive heat is an early sign of electrical or mechanical issues. Being able to detect unusual temperatures can allow the maintenance team to identify and manage the problems early before they escalate.

  2. Reducing downtime. Unexpected breakdowns due to equipment failure can lead to unplanned downtime that greatly decreases productivity. By proactively monitoring the operating conditions, maintenance can be carried out to reduce downtime and enhance operational efficiency.

  3. Saving costs and energy. The proactive program cuts down costs that factories have to spend on reactive efforts and equipment repairs when breakdowns occur. The lifetime of machinery and assets can also be extended to last longer. In addition, by ensuring the optimal operation of equipment, energy usage is reduced while efficiency is maximized.


However, the usual preventive maintenance routine that involves regular temperature checks still presents operational problems, for example:


  • Having a fixed schedule leads to inefficient resource allocation as maintenance tasks may not align with equipment conditions or usage patterns.

  • The absence of real-time data hampers decision-making. The scheduled maintenance checks can miss the temperature spikes that occur during peak operation of the facilities.

  • Manual maintenance processes introduce human error, resulting in inaccuracy and inconsistency.

  • Carrying out preventive maintenance in inaccessible areas involves longer schedules, equipment shutdown, and increases the risk of accidents.


These challenges highlight the need for innovative solutions. Cleantech & Beyond’s breakthrough technology – DTI Digital Temperature Indicator – is ideal for proactive, data-driven maintenance. Using DTI helps organizations utilize resources efficiently, reduce downtime, and improve equipment reliability and safety by making timely and informed maintenance decisions.


What is a DTI or a Digital Temperature Indicator?


DTI Digital Temperature Indicator is an irreversible indicator label that allows temperature-tracking of machinery, equipment, or sub-components. Each DTI indicates the status in both visual and digital formats when the temperature exceeds a specific threshold. The color of the DTI changes from white to red to give a visual cue while the digital status can be read by an RFID reader.


The core technology is based on our specially formulated, patented thermoresponsive materials that are used to fabricate the sensing element. By combining our innovative temperature sensor with the passive RFID tags, the revolutionary DTI offers temperature tracking functionality with wireless communication that links the digital data seamlessly with facilities management systems.


RFID or Radio Frequency Identification tags are transponders that wirelessly communicate the identification data of attached objects with RF receivers. Because the data is in the digital format, an RFID system can be easily integrated into any existing IT infrastructure. And due to its high return-on-investment and ease of use, RFID is now widely used across many industries to track items, inventory, or assets.


Our DTI adds the crucial temperature-monitoring function to the standard passive RFID tags. The DTI's key novelty is its ability to constantly monitor the temperature of an attached item or equipment without the need for any external power sources – no need for batteries, persistent RF interrogation, or utility power.


The DTI technology from Cleantech & Beyond is the first of its kind: a battery-free, temperature-tracking device with a wireless digital interface.



Why is it used?


  • DTI allows for a quick inspection of the temperature status of equipment and machinery.

  • DTI status is irreversible and robust. Once the temperature excursion occurs, the status is permanently changed, allowing for detection of temperature spikes that may occur outside of the regular inspection period.

  • Two output formats – visual and digital – add both flexibility in designing the inspection procedure and reliability in status validation.

  • RFID communication enables simultaneous reading of multiple tags and a simple integration of digital data with the IT systems of the enterprise.

  • DTI can be deployed at component-level. And when combined with the RFID connectivity, providing a more detailed overview of facilities and timely decision-making.

  • The comprehensive temperature monitoring ability leads to a more effective maintenance program, reducing downtime, and saving costs.

 

How and where is it used?


DTI is available in several types, designed for various use cases, locations, and applications.


  • Normal Tag: A thin, flexible label type for typical surfaces, flat or curved.

  • Flag Tag: A variation of the normal tag for placing on metallic surfaces or in an environment with interference.

  • Wire Tag: Another variation of the normal tag for wrapping around power cables, wires, or pipes.

  • Gecko Tag: The sensor and the RF communication parts, each built on rugged solid support, are separated by a wire, designed specifically for applications where the temperature-monitoring point is hard to access or blocked from RF signal.


From left to right: DTI Normal Tag, DTI Flag Tag, DTI Wire Tag, and DTI Gecko Tag.


DTI tags can be placed on equipment of machinery that produce heat during operation, such as motors, bearings, high-power cables, or connectors. The DTI is built with industrial-grade adhesive, substrate, and encapsulation layer and has been tested in demanding, harsh and corrosive environments. Regular checks of the DTI status can be conducted by frontline operators during normal operation or by maintenance officers at scheduled intervals. The two output formats, visual and digital, also add further flexibility in planning the maintenance program.


Some equipment is located in places that are difficult to access or in hazardous conditions. Taking feedback from our customers, we have designed the Gecko Tag specifically for this purpose. The sensor part of the Gecko (its ‘tail’) can be placed on the location that the temperature should be monitored (such as pumps in a deep shaft or junctions in high-power electrical distribution board) while the RFID antenna part (its ‘head’) is conveniently placed further away or outside the enclosure to allow easy reading with an RFID reader. In this case, the Gecko Tag allows safe and non-disruptive inspection, enabling a more comprehensive and more effective maintenance program.


Benefits of DTI in preventive maintenance


Less reliance on manual operation. DTI automates temperature monitoring and data collection, eliminating the need for manual temperature checks. This reduces the reliance on human intervention and minimizes the risk of errors associated with manual data reading and inputting.


Less downtime, more productivity. By providing timely temperature data, DTI enables proactive maintenance interventions, preventing unexpected downtime. This efficient approach enhances the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and productivity.


More cost savings, more efficiency. Early detection of unsafe temperature allows maintenance teams to identify and address possible electrical or mechanical issues before they escalate into costly failures. This proactive maintenance reduces unplanned downtime and production losses, prolongs equipment lifespan, and avoids expensive repairs. Temperature data from DTI can also help with optimizing equipment load sharing or utilization, improving energy efficiency and operational performance.


Enhanced safety. Continuous monitoring of temperature-sensitive components ensures safe operating conditions by preventing overheating and mitigating the risk of equipment malfunctions or accidents.


Optimized maintenance scheduling. DTI data facilitates data-driven decision-making for maintenance scheduling. By analyzing temperature trends and equipment performance, maintenance activities can be scheduled based on actual asset condition, optimizing resources and reducing unnecessary downtime.



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