With regard to pneumatic systems, the single largest cost in any plant is - LEAKS. Walk through any plant, paying attention to your ears. You will hear, EVERYWHERE, the hiss of leaking compressed air. That sound is money being literally thrown away.
If one wants to save energy, reduce consumption, then the leaks must be found and fixed. Only after the plant floor stops hissing would optimizing the pneumatic system for efficiency make sense.
It's analogous to proper tire pressure and fuel economy. Keeping tires properly inflated is probably the simplest way to improve fuel economy, but is the most ignored.
The solution can be as easy as some pipe sealant paste or tape, or repairing/replacing a cracked hose. A single 1-mm air leak can cost $200 / year (based on calculations found on the net). One leak may not sound like much, but even a small plant will have multiple leaks. Just 5 is a $1000 per year, and that is if they're as small as 1 mm.
Sounds like the cost of a repair would pay for itself, TJ. As for sounds in plants, I've heard some complaints from baby boomer plant managers who say that the young engineers coming into the workforce rely too much on computer technology and they're not learning to tell the health of the plant by sound and vibration.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.