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sts.components.contact.mr.placeholder Sebastian Webel
Mr. Sebastian Webel

Editor-in-Chief

Tel: +49 (89) 636-32221

Fax: +49 89 636-35292

Werner-von-Siemens-Straße 1
80333 Munich

Pictures of the Future
The Magazine for Research and Innovation
 

Remote Services

Always Up-to-Date

From a control center in Munich, Bijedic-Hoffmann's team can track faults in 255 cities worldwide, including traffic lights that need service.

Can traffic in several cities be optimized from just a single control center? Can thousands of buildings and machines be remotely maintained? The answer to both questions is yes, thanks to Siemens' common Remote Service Platform. The next generation of the cRSP will be equipped to handle huge amounts of data and allow smart data applications to create new business models.

Whether in industry or healthcare, or for hardware or software, most modern systems now enable automatic monitoring, preventive maintenance, and remote services. Throughout the world, a total of 240,000 systems are currently connected to Siemens’ common Remote Service Platform (cRSP). These systems range from skyscrapers and gas turbines to the traffic control centers of 255 cities and approximately 120,000 high-end medical devices. All of these systems combined generate about ten terabytes of data each month. However, the more sophisticated the monitored systems are, the more diagnostic sensors and software-controlled functions they bring with them. Experts at Siemens forecast that the cRSP will have to process around 80 terabytes per month by 2020. To ensure the cRSP is more secure and has sufficient capacity to process this flood of data, Siemens is now planning to create a next-generation service platform. The data will be distributed among three global main centers and the security standards will be raised even further.

Remote maintenance allows operating conditions to be determined and faults to be eliminated in some cases. This results in big savings for industrial production. It’s a rule of thumb that the failure of large motors can cause bring production  to a standstill. This is the case, for example, when a power station’s coolant pump breaks down, forcing the operators to stop power generation. The resulting costs would amount to hundreds of thousands of euros.

Condition monitoring systems prevent this from happening by transmitting information about the condition of the motors and transmissions to the cRSP every day, every hour, or even every second. Siemens automatically informs the local maintenance centers of developments, and the data can now even be evaluated in real time. This is the case with Siemens’ latest H-Class gas turbines, in which 1,500 sensors measure key operating parameters, such as temperature, pressure, gas composition, generated output, and much more.

This service is used by operators of large facilities in order to prevent breakdowns. For example, most customers also sign a customized maintenance agreement when they buy a gas turbine. Siemens is responsible for any inspections, maintenance work, and emergency technical services that may be needed. The company is using more and more smart data applications for this service, because remote monitoring and maintenance are made possible by the data collected by a large number of sensors in the facilities. Programs use this “gold mine” of data to make a variety of applications possible.

Remote maintenance has its origins in medical technology, so it’s not surprising that the service has progressed the most in this field. The data from the medical devices flows together in three regional Healthcare Support Centers so that the X-ray machines, ultrasound systems, and MRT devices can be proactively maintained. This means, for example, that X-ray tubes can be replaced shortly before they fail.

Siemens' remote maintenance has its origins in medical technology, so it’s not surprising that the service has progressed the most in this field. Data from the medical devices flows together in three regional Healthcare Support Centers so that X-ray machines, ultrasound systems, and MRT devices can be proactively maintained. This means, for example, that X-ray tubes can be replaced shortly before they fail.

Remote maintenance has also enabled many cities to get their serious traffic problems better under control. Siemens employees at a support center in Munich monitor traffic computers in 255 cities all over the world to ensure that problems with the traffic lights or traffic computers can be immediately detected and eliminated as quickly as possible.

It’s possible to remotely monitor and control not only a city’s traffic lights, but also all of its traffic. The traffic control systems in places such as Potsdam and Stuttgart not only help cars drive through the downtown areas, as far as possible without encountering any traffic jams, they also channel traffic flows in such a way that concentrations of particulates and NO2 are minimized at traffic nodes as much as possible.

Water supply systems can be remotely controlled and optimized as well. Sensors at the pipes and pumps collect data that allow operators to determine if there are any leaks or if a pump no longer works. When combined with corresponding control systems and smart water meters that measure individual consumption, such remote services will, for example, enable municipalities’ water consumption to be forecast in the near future. Pump operation schedules, for example, could then be adjusted in order to save electricity.

As a result, remote maintenance has frequently become a part of our daily lives. In the same way that the operating system on our company computers is kept up-to-date without us needing to worry about updates or bug fixes, in the future remote services will support far more systems that we directly or indirectly use.

 

 

Katrin Nikolaus
Picture credits: from top: 3.picture imago