ifm efector’s core technology

ifm efector

ifm efector is ensuring the waste industry is part of the technological revolution. 

By 2012, more than two billion people used the Internet, Cloud computing had entered the mainstream by the early 2010s and by 2020 about 67 per cent of the world’s population was connected, according to Internet World Stats.

But while we’re no stranger to technology at our fingertips at home, often that doesn’t transpose into our work environment says Glenn Thornton, Product Manager for ifm efector.

Glenn says there needs to be a change of mindset within the waste industry to be “digital ready”.

“The term technology, in reference to waste, really requires some deeper exploration and understanding. Automation, Cloud connectivity, visualisation of process is synonymous with manufacturing and not often associated with the waste industry. But the scope of automation reaches all industries at all levels,” he says.

ifm efector is a manufacturer of automation, process and communication sensing technologies. Glenn says the company incorporates its solutions with customer needs, focusing on overall process efficiency, productivity and reduction of downtime.

In the wastewater industry, he sees a growing call for technology such as factory effluent monitoring and control, water authority automation reporting to the Cloud and farm irrigation management and control.

“Every factory, it doesn’t matter what they are producing, has trade waste,” Glenn says “The risk from having waste from a process is that it can end up in waterways and become an environmental issue.

“We can monitor and measure trade waste from a processing plant with real-time connectivity allowing for key decision-making. By monitoring just one part of a plant, one valve that may be critical to the operation, it will create actionable insights for a customer.” 

ifm efectorGlenn says water authorities have valves controlling backflush filtering where clean water is forced under pressure back through wastewater filters. These valves must then close completely to stop wastewater entering local drinking water. Most valves have either no electrical connection or basic feedback. 

He says connecting the valves with the ifm MVQ101 via a process network allows monitoring of open/closed position, diagnostics with wear condition, seal damage or deposit build-up. 

“This brings 100 per cent safety and surety, removing the chances of cross contamination.”

In municipalities, “wet wells” work 24/7 with submersible pumps transporting sewage to treatment plants.

“Blockages, ragging, general wear and pumps need to be monitored to avoid events such as overflow, which causes environmental contamination of public and residential areas,” Glenn says. 

“Online condition monitoring can diagnose issues before there is a problem. ifm’s proven diagnostic technology uses task-specific submersible accelerometers. We can put a digital footprint over the entire process of wastewater treatment and provide insights into critical areas.”

Glenn says the technology “smarts” are already established. He says it is the waste industry that needs to learn its pathway. He suggests customers “start small and grow as you know”.

A team of technical experts at ifm efector work with customers to get a clearer sense of the instrumentation and automation that is available. 

“We find where the wastage and pain point is for loss of productivity, efficiencies or downtime problems. We pinpoint the key areas, measure and monitor this to get a result,” Glenn says. “By starting small with a simple low-cost system on a critical asset or process, it will easily show what information is accessible to the customer. With this, you then make decisions on process improvements and process security.”

Glenn says embracing technology is about ensuring customers remain competitive in the industry.  

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