French heating systems component manufacturer Temiq added Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology to its desludging equipment for use in boilers, in order to enable its customers to better track the conditions of the equipment they use. The company's Ninox desludger, released in May of this year, employs radio frequency identification technology provided by Tagproduct, a French provider of RFID hardware and solutions.
Temiq's Ninox device removes sludge from water circulating in a heating system. The company's customers using the desludger are typically service providers specializing in environmental engineering and maintenance, as well as heating systems. The Ninox is designed to protect the pipes, since sludge causes corrosion over time and affects the heating system's performance, leading to a 10 to 15 percent increase in energy consumption, says Muriel Chenebault, Temiq's marketing director.
In addition, an accumulation of sludge can lead to a noisy radiator and could potentially damage the boiler. For that reason, the desludger is designed to collect and remove sludge particles from the heating system. When a desludger reaches a specific capacity, it flushes out the accumulated sludge and begins collecting particles again. However, the specifics regarding how often and when this occurs must be preset by employees, which requires a cable connection to the software for configuring the device.
In addition, if users wish to learn how much sludge has been collected, they would use a control box attached to the device, and would need to plug a cable between an Ethernet port and the control box.
For this reason, the desludgers are rarely preset with a specific schedule for flushing out the accumulated material, nor are they inspected to determine how much material has been accumulating. Temiq wanted to offer a simple solution that would enable operators, such as thermal installers or employees in charge of a heating plant's boilers, to capture data and adjust settings wirelessly.
Temiq worked with Tagproduct for approximately one year to create a solution in a simple and compact system consisting of an NFC RFID tag connected to the microprocessor on an electronic card built into the Ninox desludger. The system also includes an app for NFC-based Android phones or tablets, says Tagproduct spokesperson Stéphane Racamier, as well as cloud-based software for managing data captured from the devices.
The desludger's built-in NFC tag stores data from a sensor that measures the amount of sludge collected. The tag also stores settings specific to how much sludge should be collected and when it should be released. To access information about the desludger's operation, a worker can tap an NFC-enabled phone containing the downloaded Tagproduct app. The app displays that data on the mobile phone and also sends it to the cloud-based software so that it can be stored for managers and other interested parties. In addition, the app can be used to change the desludger's settings, and to forward details about those changes to the cloud-based software.
To date, Temiq has been selling the solution customized for specific customers who pay a licensing fee for the software and app. For these customers, the company reports, the benefit is ensuring that their boilers are operating properly by detecting any problems in the desludging process before they can damage the boiler itself. It also saves labor time for maintenance personnel as they collect or change data stored on the device'smicroprocessor via their phone's NFC RFID reader, Chenebault says.