Real-time App Software for Monitoring Membrane Filtration Plants
Gea introduced the intelligent software solution Gea Smart Filtration for membrane filtration plants at a recently held beverage and liquid food industry trade show. The software monitors the plant status remotely via app and makes use of cloud connectivity and real-time analytics to increase plant availability and performance. One of the company’s customers Seagarden, a supplier of fish-based ingredients in Norway, has also invested in a Gea membrane filtration plant that will be connected via app in the future.
Gea Smart Filtration monitors membrane filtration systems in real time and visualizes the status on a digital dashboard. The goal is to extend the useful life of the membrane and enable customers to prevent failures and product loss. Plant performance data is stored in the cloud and helps condition monitoring extend the life cycle of the filtration equipment ensuring continuous high productivity, states the company.
In phase 1, launched recently at the event, the software will serve as an overview and service planning tool. In the following two development phases, it will increasingly become a digital forecasting tool that independently analyzes Big Data and proposes consumption optimization options, adds the firm.
Faster response and predictive maintenance
Usually, filtration times or CIP cycles in preventive maintenance schedules determine when to replace the membranes. However, if the filtration process is not controlled within tight tolerances, the separation performance of the membranes with large pore sizes will deteriorate. In addition, the high throughput rates needed in crossflow processes could damage shear-sensitive materials, shares the firm.
Another example is fouling on the membranes that lowers the permeate flux. Plant operators would then be faced with expensive cleaning and regeneration processes for secondary waste. The company developed the software to eliminate this problem for its customers. All technical parameters, process and mechanical design, hygiene criteria and, of course, the organic raw materials are integrated into the monitoring system. Potential problems in the membrane plant can then be detected in real time and very clearly before they lead to malfunctions, mentions the company.
50 percent less cleaning water for membrane filtration
Incorporated into the digital system are two membrane plant-specific technical applications that halve the amount of water needed to flush out the cleaning media. These too are currently undergoing numerous customer tests very successfully. The principle: While the plant is being cleaned, sensors constantly evaluate the water’s permeate quality and terminate the process as soon as the appropriate hygiene level is reached, instead of scheduling a predefined plant cleaning cycle.
Test results show that the smartfiltration Flush also benefits the CIP system as a whole: Since piping dimensions are based on water volume, the new tool facilitates a more compact CIP design. This is complemented by new, particularly efficient CIP software: Gea smartfiltration CIP means that the pumps are operated in a pulsating rather than continuous mode. As a result, they consume 50 to 60 percent less power during the CIP process, concludes the firm.