Analytics sensor test-kit for advanced process control

2016 - 2018 • Cranfield University

Purpose

To support the development of a platform comprising a broad sensoring architecture for data collection and system communication during field testing and operation

Activities

This project will demonstrate an engineered platform comprising a broad sensoring architecture capable of measurement and assimilation of both human user and process technology performance to enable responsive, and real-time, whole system process control.

Sensoring was identified as a ‘gap seed’ in almost every workshop of the ‘Transformative Technologies 5 year portfolio review’. The term ‘sensor’ was used by the participants to describe two facets: (i) measurement; or (ii) process intervention, which is a function of the outcome of a measurement. The ‘measurement’ category can be sub-categorized into the needs of the ‘front-end’ and ‘back-end’ systems. In the front end there is significant need for ‘demand management’ that requires us to understand, and quantify, human user behaviour. The capacity to measure user engagement at the human user interface is significant, as this can produce an input signal for process control. In the back end, there is a need to measure technology performance during solid/liquid processing to ensure consistency, reliability and safety, whilst simultaneously constraining energy utilization.

To date, there is only limited development of either sensors or sensory platforms (i.e. processors) across the RTTC portfolio and to our knowledge there are no platforms currently available that can facilitate whole system performance management from ‘the user through to environmental discharge’. This project therefore explicitly seeks to demonstrate an engineered cloud based platform comprising a broad-sensoring architecture capable of measurement and assimilation of both human user and process technology performance to enable responsive, and real-time, whole system process control.

This project seeks to deliver a ‘systems measurement’ road map for the RTTC portfolio to help accelerate delivery of process control for this unique problem-set. In doing so, we will:
1. Identify candidate sensoring (direct measurement) and sensoring methodologies (indirect measurement) pertinent to the full RTTC portfolio.
2. Produce a demonstration scale ‘whole system process control’ cloud-based architecture to illustrate integration of user data and process systems data into an output process signal data which can be latterly used for dissemination activities.
3. Once appropriate technologies and technological approaches are realised, a survey of commercialization opportunities, access to economies of scale, local materials and production costs will be undertaken to enable unit cost forecasting.

RTTC stands for Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

Location

Detailed location of main activity  Countries of activity

Objectives

The aim of this analytics test kit is primarily to capture data on RTTC field testing progress and make this data available for remote access. This was expanded beyond operational and functional analytics to include environmental data associated with a broad range of sanitation and hygiene initiatives. The ultimate aim is to develop this into a combined analytics and approach system suitable for adaptation to any other infrastructure or environment in need of observation.

Further information

Research or implementation partners:
The research partners include (i) Eram Scientific Solution, to provide support on ‘access to market and commercial strategies’, (ii) Three Bird Swan, to provide support on ‘delivering a survey of low-cost, commercially available sensor technologies for the sensor test kit’, (iii) Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) to provide support on ‘remote access for monitoring and data storage and field testing’ and (4) Ohio University for the delivery of a set of electrochemical sensors that can be used as part of the analytics sensor test kit.

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