With its 90 years tradition, Salonit Anhovo is Slovenia’s biggest producer of cement. Cement is the basic material for making concrete, which is widely used in all construction businesses. Salonit
specializes in the areas of hydraulic cement, special cements, lime, mineral raw materials, aggregates, and others.
Naturally, the cement industry is a huge consumer of energy and as such is very dedicated to developing new technologies and energy consumption optimization. Being an environmentally and
energy savvy company, they came up with a complex Energy management project and partnered with the only partner equipped to do the job.
The project consisted of 1) introduction of Energy monitoring systems and 2) Energy optimization into the cement factory.
The first part immediately presented itself as a challenge. The industrial environment in the factory is harsh with a lot of dust particles, high humidity, and greased areas. In addition, the industrial area is huge; spread over 6 km, so an ordinary wired system would not be the right solution. We knew that in this large industrial area LoRaWAN communication was the only viable alternative to the classic wired system.
We used our newly certified device ComBox.L for energy logging. This is a battery powered device that runs on LoRaWAN wireless communication network ComBox.L. We extended
our existing LoRaWAN network to cover the industrial site and installed heavy-duty gateways and communication devices on the site. We used the LoRa as a carrier network to efficiently
connect energy meters to the network.
Salonit Anhovo consumes more than 90 GWh of electricity per year, more than 8 GWh of gas and more than 400,000 m³ of technological water. The total energy consumption amounts to more than 6 mio EUR per year.
Salonit Anhovo d.d. uses several energy sources, which meant that measurements had to be taken for electricity, gas, compressed air, and technological water. To make measurements even tougher, all the water meters are located underground.
We installed 36 LoRaWAN devices 11 of which are for gas metering, 10 are for water metering, 5 for compressed air, and 10 are used for electricity meters. The rest of the metering was done via
conventional methods and were hardwired to the ComBox.M communication devices, which are also produced by Solvera Lynx.
Hardwired measurements using ComBox.M:
LoRaWAN water consumption metering:
LoRaWAN gas consumption metering:
LoRaWAN compressed air consumption monitoring:
LoRaWAN electricity consumption monitoring (retrofitting old cabinets):
ComBox.L communication devices collect data from meters in regular 15-minute intervals and transmit the readings via the “LoRa” network to gateways, which then transmit them to the EMS
(Energy management system). This is all done using the standard LoRaWAN communication protocol.
Data is collected and analyzed using our own GemaLogic Energy Management Software.
So, this brings us back to the question in the title: Can we use LoRa and LoRaWAN in harsh industrial environments?
Yes we can!
Marko Šepič has been serving as Chief Technical Officer in Solvera Lynx d.d. for the last 8 years and has vast experience with R&D projects dealing with hardware and software. He has also led and
participated in several energy efficiency related projects. His background is in electrical engineering, focusing on process information technology.
By Marko Šepič