Power with the Flow

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The brief

The objective is to design and build an IoT-based solution which can measure the flow of fluids in pipes. This solution should be self-powered, meaning the liquid flow being measured should simultaneously provide energy to the solution.

The background

Coheros Oy is an IoT and software consulting company composed primarily of former Nokia engineers. The company believes there is a strong need for such a solution, which could widely benefit the process industry. With strong expertise in IoT software and hardware, the company could provide support to the team in that area. Coheros wants to give their clients the visibility for the real-time data and this way help them to make the correct decisions at the correct time.

The problem

In the process industry, there is no real-time data provided regarding the flow of liquids in pipes, subsequently, there is no clear information on the condition of pipe filters and when they need to be changed. There are some traditional paddle wheel based meters, but they need external power and they do not take advantage of IoT radio technologies, such as LoraWAN / SigFox / NB IoT, which enable measuring the amount of data transmitted by hundreds of ultra-low electrical powers to the cloud. The existing meters are designed to be integrated, for example, into a factory's own system, which greatly limits their use. As real-time data is missing, maintenance engineers don’t have a clear picture on where their efforts should be focused and a lot of their time is wasted on second-guessing which equipment needs maintenance and sometimes valuable equipment performs under optimal conditions for long periods of time before being repaired. There is the need to create a device which could measure the flow of liquids in pipes and communicate it to other devices, i.e. IoT. Furthermore, as some of these pipes may be in remote places away from power outlets, the solution should be self-powered. The ideal team composition should include but not be limited to the following skills: • Electromechanical engineering • Mechanical design • Electronics • Embedded systems • Materials engineering • Physics