Smart Factory Meets Smart Grid: Cyber-Physical Compressed Air Systems Enable Demand Side Management in Industrial Environments


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In electric energy systems based on renewable generation plants supply and demand often do not occur in the same period of time. Consequently demand side management is gaining importance whereby decentralized automation offers opportunities in industrial environments. Compressed air systems on industrial plants consist of air compressors, compressed air reservoirs and compressed air lines. With suitable dimensioning those industrial compressed-air systems can be used for demand side management purpose. As power consumption of industrial air compressors ranges between a few and several hundred kilowatts each, swarms of communicatively connected air compressors can contribute to the stabilization of power grids. To avoid costly production downtime it is to ensure, that a reliable, non-disruptive supply of compressed air can be maintained at all time. Industrial compressed air systems equipped with automation technology and artificial intelligence, which hereinafter are referred to as Cyber-Physical Compressed Air Systems (CPCAS), allow new business models for utilities, industrial enterprises, compressor manufacturers and service providers. In addition to basic operating parameters like current air pressure and status, those systems can process further information and create, for example, profiles on compressed air consumption over time. By enriching those profiles with data on pressure, volumes, system restrictions and current production requirements (plans), the CPCAS can identify the available potential for demand side management. Ipso facto predictive power on electricity consumption is increasing. By providing the information obtained to the power company or a service provider, savings in electricity costs may be achieved. Expenses within the industrial company may be lowered further as compliance with agreed load limits is being improved by automatic shutdown of air compressors upon reaching the load limit. Within this article the structure of the aforementioned Cyber-Physical Compressed Air Systems is presented in more detail, relations between the major actors are being shown and possible business models are being introduced.



Edited by:

Jörg Franke and Sven Kreitlein




R. Boehm et al., "Smart Factory Meets Smart Grid: Cyber-Physical Compressed Air Systems Enable Demand Side Management in Industrial Environments", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vol. 805, pp. 25-31, 2015

Online since:

November 2015




* - Corresponding Author

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