GEA Digital

Digital unit in focus: Lighthouse Project Condition Monitoring

Condition monitoring

Markus talks about GEA Digital’s Lighthouse Project on Condition Monitoring and how machine learning is taking GEA hardware to new heights.

With the goal of accelerating digital innovation across GEA, GEA Digital has created a platform where GEA divisions can come together to identify and leverage synergies – to see where competencies are needed and where they can be shared. It provides the divisions with centralized resources of digital talent and tools and, ultimately, creates an environment that will enhance collaboration between GEA and its customers. These are certainly two key words in the equation: collaboration and customers. Keeping digital innovation focused on customers and their needs is critical to accelerating progress. And that’s where the GEA Digital Lighthouse Projects come in; they make sure that GEA resources are focused on the projects with the highest potential for marketability, scalability and value-add for customers.

The Lighthouse Project here in GEA’s Separation & Flow Technologies (SFT) division is Condition Monitoring, which is all about leveraging the power of IIoT technology and data to track the performance and maintenance requirements of our machines. Condition monitoring adds real value to operations on the customer side; at the same time, it helps us learn about how our customers operate their machines and how we can enhance their efficiency. Thanks to our investments in condition monitoring and master data over the years, we are now able to create digital twins of our machines. This allows us to truly understand the condition of a specific machine at any given time so we know when maintenance is required and exactly which parts are needed for the service, for example.

As of May 2021, all new centrifuges we deliver are automatically fitted with IIoT technology to enable cutting-edge condition monitoring. Many of these machines are now online delivering data to the GEA cloud platform, and we’re already leveraging the data to develop machine learning solutions that take condition monitoring to the next level. These are really software products – not your typical products offered by a company like GEA – and the customers involved so far are very enthusiastic.

We are also building condition monitoring systems for three different levels of Service Level Agreement (SLA). The premium level SLA, for example, provides customers with our process performance optimization service, which makes sure machines are running with the lowest energy consumption and highest output performance. This is key to operational efficiency and sustainability – and it would not be possible without condition monitoring.

In our development pipeline we have monitoring systems that can assess a machine’s condition by “listening” to the noise it makes. In another project, we’re using machine learning to go where normal automation systems cannot go. This involves collecting and analyzing data from a combination of sensor signals, and using algorithms to then accurately diagnose failure events, for example. The more machines we connect, the more they can learn from each other – and the more accurate they get.

This is an exciting time to be in the process engineering and machine industry – especially if you are a software, data or cloud expert! These are not typical job profiles in our industry, and they are in great demand today. This is another area where GEA Digital can help accelerate innovation at GEA – by building a critical mass of digitalization talent, with teams that can collaborate across locations and divisions to make our machines more powerful and sustainable than ever.

Markus Fleuter

Markus Fleuter, Digital Unit Head SFT division

GEA Digital

GEA Digital

We are the newly formed network organization at GEA dedicated to digital innovation for the digital customer journey. Our goal is to further enhance GEA machines and systems with state-of-the-art digital solutions for the benefit of our customers.

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