Optimise energy efficiency of compressed air consumption
Compressed air is one of the most expensive types of energy used in the industry. Preventing unnecessary compressed air consumption is therefore an important measure for increasing energy efficiency. This not only concerns the avoidance of leakage but more intelligent compressed air installations also contribute significantly to this. The AS-i AirBox from ifm, which can be placed in the direct vicinity of the pneumatic actuators, is ideal for this purpose.
The advantages of AS-Interface are well known: A single continuous cable for signal transmission and power supply is sufficient. The installation complexity is thus extremely low compared to parallel cabling, and costs are reduced. To further improve sustainability in plants, a similar concept for the installation of compressed air lines is obvious. The AS-i AirBox from ifm offers exactly this possibility. It is installed in the direct vicinity of the pneumatic drive. The electrical supply and control are carried out as usual via the AS-Interface cable. In addition, a compressed air line is connected that also supplies all valves in a line topology - a quasi-bus line for compressed air. Since the distances between the AirBox and the pneumatic cylinder are very short, the pneumatic pressure in the system can usually be reduced. Nevertheless, the switching times are shorter. In addition, the volume of the tubes pressurised during each switching operation is lower, which further reduces compressed air consumption. The consumption is reduced proportionally to the length of the pneumatic tube between the valve and the pneumatic cylinder. With typical parameters in industrial applications, the cost savings can quickly amount to 1,000 euros a year - and that for a single actuator. This does not even take into account the fact that shorter tubes are less prone to leakage.
Quick set-up thanks to simple assembly
The decentralised design of compressed air actuators in a plant not only reduces the costs for compressed air consumption. Faster and easier installation and set-up can also help to reduce costs. Particularly helpful is the AirBox’s quick mounting technology, which can be carried out in four steps completely without tools. The flat AS-Interface cable is simply placed in the lower part of the AirBox, the upper part is put on, and by actuating the integrated slider, the housing is locked while contact is made at the same time. Afterwards, only the standard pneumatic tubes have to be connected - again without any tools. The AirBoxes can be addressed before mounting using the AS-i addressing unit. During set-up, the individual valves can also be operated manually to test all functions.
Typical application in silo technology
The feed manufacturer ForFarmers relies on this technology. Typical areas of application in feed production plants are, for example, pneumatically driven gate valves in silos distributed within the extensive systems. According to those responsible, the decentralised control with the AS-i AirBox makes set-up "easier than ever before". At the same time, shorter switching times due to decentralisation and pressure reduction as well as fewer leakages lead to considerable cost savings.
Also, for ATEX areas
With variants of the AirBox that are approved for operation in hazardous areas, further areas of application can benefit from this technology. The units have an ATEX approval group II, category 3D in conjunction with the appropriate impact protection housing. AS-i master modules, gateways, IO modules, power supplies and many accessories complete the delivery range.