Facilities management service provider Engie Cofely has made significant savings in maintenance and servicing costs following the successful installation of a permanent condition monitoring solution from Schaeffler. Engie Cofely has approximately 2,200 employees in Belgium and is one of the most important service providers in the facilities management sector. The Belgian company provides maintenance and repair services for buildings in both the private and public sectors. Engie Cofely is part of the Engie Group, which has around 150,000 employees worldwide in more than 70 countries.
The core business of the service provider is the monitoring and maintenance of HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning/climate control plant), as well as ventilation group or pumps. These services are provided primarily to its customers on an on-site basis. Guarantees are also typically agreed for the availability of the HVAC/climate control systems. In order to achieve cost savings through improved process efficiency and by avoiding unplanned downtime, Engie Cofely took the decision to change from a reactive, patrol (offline) to a proactive, fixed (online) maintenance strategy. As a first step, a pilot project was planned at the company’s main headquarters in Brussels.
The technical basis of the Schaeffler solution comprised the implementation of five SmartQB fixed CM systems, coupled with 27 SmartCheck sensors. The SmartQB is a pre-configured, plug-and-play system that outputs plain text messages on a touch panel display to indicate possible sources of errors such as bearing damage, imbalance, changes in temperature and overall condition of the assembly. Detailed recommendations for action can be read off easily. A PCI interface was also installed so that additional remote analyses and control could be provided using mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet.
The Schaeffler CM solution monitors a variety of HVAC plant including pumps (with output capacities ranging from 10 to 50m3/per hour operating at speeds of 800 to 1,800 rpm), asynchronous electric motors (with belt transmission), and dry air fans (with output capacities ranging from 10,000 to 70,000 m3 per hour). Parameters measured by the 27 SmartCheck CM devices include vibration and temperature (other direct I/O signals can be included). The SmartCheck sensors are permanently wired to the HVAC plant using either a 10- or 20-metre PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) cable.
There is now less need for any time-consuming preventive maintenance. Furthermore, with the Schaeffler solution, Engie Cofely is now able to view the current status of the assemblies, as well as access archived CM data. Unplanned downtime of climate control and heating plant can also be prevented in a systematic manner. This has paved the way towards condition-based maintenance. Engie Cofely estimates that using the Schaeffler Condition Monitoring in its own building can achieve substantial savings.
Following successful implementation of the pilot project in its own facilities, Engie Cofely has already applied the solution to varying degrees at some of its customers. It was helpful here that Engie Cofely could demonstrate the benefits using its own ‘live’ pilot scheme as an example. The conclusion: the customers of Engie Cofely are also very pleased with the Schaeffler solution, which can also be applied to further HVAC assemblies in buildings management, as well as transferred to other industry sectors.