Octapharma, a company specialising in human proteins made from blood plasma and human cell lines, has modernised the energy supply area at its site in Vienna. This upgrade was preceded by an Energy Quick Check, carried out by Bosch Industriekessel, to help identify potential for increased efficiency on the basis of the customer's existing situation. New Bosch technologies now supplement the existing steam boiler system from 2007. The modernisation process included the integration of the digital efficiency assistant MEC Optimize as well as automation equipment for water analysis. In future, the systems will create transparency in steam supply: The smart data analysis improves production processes and energy efficiency, while recommendations for action are also generated with the aid of artificial intelligence.
The MEC Optimize efficiency assistant analyses and interprets the boiler system data and informs the operating personnel in advance about unfavourable operating conditions as well as opportunities to increase efficiency. If, for example, the fuel consumption increases due to excessively high desalting rates, MEC Optimize reports possible causes. Another key element is predictive maintenance. The digital assistant makes predictions regarding the remaining service life of all important components and provides assistance with regard to maintenance scheduling. The benefits are obvious for Octapharma: "We can monitor system values more easily, detect unfavourable operating conditions early on and have in-depth monitoring in place without having to be on site," reports Orestis Almpanis-Lekkas, Head of Utilities at the Vienna site. By connecting to the MEC Remote access system, the operator can also securely retrieve the data collected by MEC Optimize remotely and view the operating information on a mobile device such as a notebook or tablet.
In addition, the retrofitted water analysis device from Bosch delivers all the relevant data from the fully automatic water analyses to the control system or to MEC Optimize. The water characteristics for steam boiler systems are subject to strict regulations and are crucial for long-lasting and reliable boiler operation. At Octapharma, the boiler log book has now been implemented digitally, with water values recorded in a fully automatic way. The digital efficiency assistant interprets these measured values to provide recommended actions or warnings, and in some cases even the water treatment will be automatically modified. Octapharma benefits from a reliable plant protection system and a fault-free process. This results in significant financial savings.
Additional modernisation measures included the conversion of the control system to the latest generation of the boiler and system controls from Bosch. The new control system allows for convenient operation while also increasing the degree of automation. Furthermore, the Vienna-based company is achieving the highest levels of energy efficiency as a result of additional heat recovery modules: The recovery of thermal energy from exhaust vapours (deaeration process) and desalting water is saving more than EUR 20,000 per year. There are environmental benefits as well, with around 150 tonnes fewer CO2 emissions each year. This is equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced by around 90 cars. New silencer hoods also ensure that the burner sounds in the boiler house are very quiet. All components from Bosch are designed to be easily retrofitted, meaning that the modernisation went smoothly without any issues or interruption to the steam supply. Orestis Almpanis-Lekkas from Octapharma describes the collaboration with Bosch as being flexible and solution-oriented, adding: "With MEC Optimize, we will be able to identify areas of action and potential for improvement much quicker in future, and implement this directly." The digital assistant consequently allows for increased system efficiency and more cost-efficient boiler operation through reduced energy costs.