SwissFM AG is specialized since 15 years in Facility and Lifecycle Management (FM). SwissFM sells a software package, called SwissFM Tool, which supports all cost-sensitive secondary processes in the areas of infrastructure, real estate, vehicles, etc.
A promising technology in this area is Predictive Maintenance (PdM). Sensors, data and algorithms allow to predict technical failures on machines (e.g. pumps, motors, etc.) before they occur. Furthermore, targeted feedback related to the kind of failure can be generated. This translates into a yearly saving of 25% in the costs for running a plant and 5% in the energy needed. The availability of machines can also be improved. PdM is recognized as one of the pillars of the Industry 4.0 paradigm.
PdM has not become mainstream yet, despite its advantages. Adoption of this technology is hindered by missing know-how and high initial costs for the sensing infrastructure and its configuration. This is especially problematic for plants where mid to low investments are involved. These obstacles will be solved within this project: We will develop technologies which work with cheap sensors instead of the currently available expensive industrial sensors. Further to that, the PdM system will work in a manufacturer-independent fashion and be easy to install and configure. The product development is conducted in tight cooperation with SwissFM and involving real machines located at the end users' sites. The focus has been set on sewage pumps within sewage treatment plants (ARA).
In Switzerland there are 760 big and more than 3300 smaller plants, each of them using 5-20 pumps. This constitutes an interesting market segment due to its homogeneity and accessibility. The market potential is 250 CHF. A mid-sized or large sewage treatment plant is expected to save around 125'000 CHF per year thanks to PdM. We expect this project to lead to the development of a business case which can convince further ARA to participate. The feasibility of the approach was already investigated in a pre-study with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU). Four mid-sized to large ARAs will be involved in the current research project, so that the product development is focussed on the practical needs.