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Condition monitoring of concrete pumps.

CIFA concrete pump equipped with SmartMINI for Predictive Maintenance

Zoomlion CIFA Deutschland GmbH in Urbach is a manufacturer of concrete machines such as mixers, mixing plants, concrete pumps or tunnel spraying machines. CIFA concrete pumps stand out from their competitors thanks to their completely flexible support system and their Carbotech series (carbon mast and kinematic elements). The headquarters of the Italian parent company is Senago near Milan.

Like every industry, the concrete business has its own challenges. There is the demand for machines to be ever larger but at the same time lighter. For development, this means that precise knowledge of the load spectrum is required. In order to be able to implement weight optimization, relevant data must first be continuously collected and evaluated. Moreover, concrete machines are very complex machines, while the service network is usually thinly spread.

Optimization through smart data processing

Maintenance via teleservice can save costs and time if high availability is required. If a fault occurs in a machine equipped with a teleservice system, the service technician can make diagnoses remotely, carry out repairs or instruct the drivers on site accordingly.

More than a logger

The teleservice system smartMINI from optiMEAS serves exactly the requirements of the industry and offers the right solution for machine development as well as for daily business. Because as an intelligent diagnostic system the smartMINI not only data recording but also their evaluation. Unlike conventional remote systems, the smartMINI the possibility to create comprehensive analyses via long-term recording of even large amounts of data (Big Data).

From teleservice to predictive maintenance

The contact between Martin Worch, Head of Service, Research and Development at CIFA Germany and Burkhard Schranz, Managing Director of optiMEAS GmbH, came about through a trade fair. „optiMEAS already had the finished solution for our request compared to the competition," says Martin Worch. With the help of the smartMINI several data of the concrete machines are recorded: For example, the support geometry, i.e. at what moment the boom is in which orientation, the tilting moment of the boom, pressures in the pump unit, the oil temperature, open or closed limit switches as well as sensors that have been activated. The possibilities in teleservice are manifold.

For example, a service logbook can automatically remind you of upcoming mast inspections or an oil aging analysis using sensors can be used to prevent wear. Temperature, batch and dwell time in the mixer play a role in determining the ideal concrete quality. With a limited time window of 1.5 hours until thickening, for example, it would be helpful and useful to take into account all the data, including traffic reports, in order to calculate the ideal time for mixing and driving off.

Furthermore, the Smart products from optiMEAS in addition to condition monitoring, we also provide predictive maintenance and repair. The intelligent evaluation of the data enables concrete predictions. Knowing in advance when something is going to break means an enormous optimisation in terms of planning, availability, costs and quality assurance.

The device behind it

Latency-free transmission of field buses via the Internet

In order to be able to access the machine's control system in the field and change parameters literally from your desk, the optiMEAS A patent has been applied for as part of a master's thesis: for latency-free transmission of fieldbuses via the Internet. This allows the data traffic via server to be visualized by the diagnostic device directly on the PC. Access via smartphone or tablet is also possible, right up to updating the entire control unit software.

Customized applications

Only what the customer releases is monitored. The control of a machine can only be accessed when the key switch in the switch cabinet is operated. The customer has his data and the functions connected with the Teleservice in his hands. Characteristic for optiMEAS products is, besides the modular hardware, also the flexible app concept. The basic software is complemented by an app. "This allows us to react quickly and specifically to customer requirements and thus create robust and easy to maintain applications on our systems," says Burkhard Schranz.