Country, region and language selection

International websites


Americas / Oceania

Africa and Middle East

Asia / Pacific

KSB, digital transparency: An engineer monitors production on a large screen
7 min read

Digital transparency: How small sensors can make a big difference in your system

Digital transparency provides the basis for intelligent control
processes and is one of the most important foundations for
Industry 4.0 and smart factories. Many companies are still
apprehensive about making the switch to digitalisation, but itʼs
actually much easier than they think. In this article we explain how
easy it is to take the first step.

Digital transparency provides the basis for intelligent control
processes and is one of the most important foundations for
Industry 4.0 and smart factories. Many companies are still
apprehensive about making the switch to digitalisation, but itʼs
actually much easier than they think. In this article we explain how
easy it is to take the first step.

Digital transparency ensures efficiency – even for older systems

When a new industrial system is commissioned nowadays, it is
usually equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Capable of
using everything from big data and cloud technologies through to
cyber-physical systems, these ultra-modern industrial systems are
fully geared towards Industry 4.0. Right from commissioning,
operators enjoy the benefits of digital transparency and are able to
make better operational decisions. The crucial advantage:
Operators see exactly what is happening in their system and why it
is happening, enabling them to quickly identify the cause of any
deviations from normal operating parameters.
Using smart technologies thus increases the digital transparency of
a system and therefore also system availability. Not only do the
sensors control and monitor individual or multiple operations, they
also make it possible to predict events and developments. In turn,
this makes it easier to plan maintenance and servicing much more
eiciently. Predictive maintenance opens up a whole new level of
As you can see, digitalisation undoubtedly oers numerous
benefits for operators of industrial systems. But how can operators
digitalise old systems? Aer all, small and medium-sized
enterprises oen lack the capital needed to completely renew their
system. Many operators are also understandably reluctant to
replace their old but otherwise mechanically sound machines.
What many of them donʼt realise is that oen it isnʼt necessary to
install replacements or an entirely new system. A retroactive
“digital upgrade” is possible for many old systems – even during
ongoing operations.

KSB digitalisation: Service employee monitors pumps using a tablet.

Digitalising existing systems is oen much easier than expected.

Various studies by renowned consultancies highlight significant
savings potentials that can be achieved using predictive
maintenance and digital transparency:

World Economic Forum / Accenture

12 % savings for planned repairs
30 % lower maintenance costs
70 % fewer unscheduled downtimes

50 % fewer downtimes
20 – 40 % lower maintenance costs
3 – 5 % lower equipment[A3] investment

VDMA / Roland Berger
Time for maintenance:
15 % with predictive maintenance vs.
40 % with reactive maintenance

10 – 20 % higher availability
20 – 50 % less maintenance planning time
5 – 10 % lower overall maintenance costs

Example of pump digitalisation

Pumps and valves are used in nearly all industrial applications.
They are oen operated for many years under the toughest of
conditions and transport aggressive, corrosive or solids-laden
fluids under extreme temperatures and very high pressures. Any
deviations from normal operation can become not only expensive
but also very dangerous.
Digitalised pumps are able to perform specific functions in which
they monitor themselves and independently adjust their settings to
the actual value of the respective process. The human employee
can easily check the smart pumpʼs operation with an app on his or
her smartphone or tablet.
Thanks to digitalisation and intelligent networking, pump systems
are becoming not only smarter but also more eicient and more
reliable in their operation. The new pump 4.0 enables operators to
call up current and relevant information relating to the pumpʼs
status, operation and history at any time. To ensure that dierent
applications and users always work on the same correct data basis,
all the information transmitted by the pump is provided via its
digital twin – a virtual image of the real pump set.
By continuously measuring relevant pump data, operators receive a
precise overview of the status of their pumps at all times. Real-time
data also enables them to prevent damage before it even has a
chance to occur, as the recoded data enables operators to plan and
implement their servicing and maintenance far more
systematically. Digitalising pumps is well worth it: The German
Mechanical Engineering Industry Association VDMA estimates that
through early planned pump maintenance alone it is possible to
reduce costs by 20 to 30 percent*.
In the following example, weʼd like to show you how easy it is to
digitalise old system components using modern sensors and
network technology. Weʼll also highlight the benefits that
digitalisation can oer you.

Monitoring pump data with KSB Guard on a tablet

Digital transparency is achieved by continuously measuring all
relevant performance and status data – e.g. with KSB Guard.

How do you digitalise an analogue pump?

An analogue pump can be digitalised in minutes: simply install the
sensors and enter the technical pump data (e.g. operating hours,
head, speed, flow rate, etc.) into the system – and thatʼs it, you can
now access your pump digitally. A smart factory solution that
quickly enables this is KSB Guard – the comprehensive cloud
solution for remotely monitoring pumps and other rotating
equipment. It can be installed and commissioned in just a few
simple steps:

1. Adhere sensor unit

Aix the sensor unit to the bearing bracket or to the drive lantern of
the pump using magnets and industrial adhesive.

2. Mount transmission and battery unit

Mount the transmission and battery unit near the sensor unit,
activate it and connect with the sensor unit.

3. Suspend gateway

Suspend the gateway near the pumps and check mobile reception.

4. Register pumps

Make a few basic data entries for each pump on the computer or
using your smartphone - done.

After commissioning, KSB Guard displays temperature and
vibration data, operating hours, load condition and profile,
maintenance history and other data. You can also upload your own
documents and store them digitally. All data can then be
conveniently accessed via the KSB Guard web portal or the KSB
Guard app. This method gives you complete digital transparency of
your pumps with all the resulting benefits.

If you want to display the data measured by KSB Guard directly in
your own system, the KSB Guard interface makes this possible via
standardised REST-API interface. This enables the measured pump
data, information and notifications to be integrated and visualised
in your own system completely independently from the app or the
web portal.

A KSB Guard sensor unit being fitted to a KSB pump

The components – here the KSB Guard sensor unit – can be easily
installed during ongoing operation.

Benefits of digital transparency at a glance:

  • Overview of the complete system
  • Higher level of system availability, that is less downtimes
  • Monitoring and notification of deviations from normal operation
  • Process-related and system-related information at the touch of a button
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Minimised failure risks and error rates
  • Optimised maintenance planning
  • Reduced time and costs

Summary: The benefits of digital transparency

Compared to investments in core components, retroactively fitting
smart technology is relatively inexpensive and can be quickly
achieved. The benefits, however, can make a crucial dierence to
production. Any questions? Just get in touch with us.

* Estimation of the maximum potential saving made with help from sources including: VDMA investment calculator; German Academic Association for Production Technology (Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Produktionstechnik, WGP) Position Paper “Standpunkt Industrie 4.0”

Related article

Stay up to date with the KSB Newsletter.

Want to make sure you never miss the latest news? With the KSB Newsletter you will receive information on our products and solutions, current promotions and events as well as fascinating insights into the world of KSB.