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Network / IP - Case Studies

MOBOTIX high-tech innovation helps to protect Wood-Fired Power Station in Germany
MOBOTIX cameras are designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures without active heating or cooling
MOBOTIX M22 cameras have been used to document the progress of construction work at the power station

Renewable raw materials are essential for environmentally-friendly production of energy. Unlike with fossil fuels, the formation and combustion of these renewable materials can be considered earth friendly. For this reason, the thermal use of these materials through combustion is CO2-neutral. The Hamburg-Lohbrügge wood-fired power station is built on this principle and thanks to its environmentally-friendly technology, it is the world’s leading reference plant. Every year, the power station transforms 30,000 metric tons of natural wood into environmentally-friendly heat energy and electricity. This saves 23,000 metric tons of CO2 each year. The process of cogeneration makes the most efficient use of the energy contained in the wood. The power station generates around 8,000 kW of heat energy, which can be used to heat a nearby community, and it supplies 1,700 kW of electrical power to the public power grid. Also the energy-saving camera technology from MOBOTIX contributes to the sustainability of the power station. MOBOTIX cameras are designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures (-30 to +60 °C, or -22 to 140 °F) without active heating or cooling. In addition, these cameras have a power consumption of only 3 W, ensuring their reliability and keeping the operating costs low. Unlike conventional solutions with weak technical specifications and limited functionalities, each MOBOTIX camera can save several hundred kilowatt-hours of energy every year. In addition, thanks to the high resolution of MOBOTIX cameras, one single camera can replace multiple conventional cameras, so it becomes clear that MOBOTIX shows no compromise when it comes to performance, economy and environmentally-friendly operation.

Sophisticated technology from a combined effort

This technical masterpiece has multiple creators. As general contractor, KWA Contracting AG assigned planning and construction ­management duties to the engineering specialist Schuler. The finished plant is operated by the Gesellschaft für Energieeffizienz mbH. From the very beginning, the progress of the construction work was documented using high-quality video technology. The Hamburg-based company Hansa-Projekt Elektro-und Informations­technik GmbH stepped in to complete this task. This company, founded in 1979, now employs 150 staff ­members in the areas of electrical engineering and information and auto­mation technology. Hansa has been using MOBOTIX cameras for years to conduct surveillance tasks for many ­different types of applications. Using MOBOTIX technology, the catchphrase for Hansa employee Hendrik Braasch is to operate ­"everything over IP". From mid-2007 onwards, two M22 cameras have been used to document the progress of the construction work at the Lohbrügge power station.

Thanks to the high resolution of MOBOTIX cameras, one single camera can replace multiple conventional cameras
Over seven additional MOBOTIX cameras have been placed at strategic locations in the building

Today, seven additional cameras placed at strategic locations in the building enable continuous documentation and optimisation of the process chain. Hendrik Braasch individually configured each camera according to the requirements of each individual installation location: for monitoring the transportation of the combustion materials to the weighing station, the unloading of those materials at the dumping station, the transportation of the materials into the storage silo using a crane gripper and for monitoring the transverse conveyor, the combustion chamber, the ash container and even for a visual check of the smoke cloud. This way, the employees working in the power station control room can be continuously informed about the status of the plant. The manager of the Lohbrügge wood-fired power station, Klaus Timmann, is convinced about the camera system: "A picture says more than a thousand numbers. Thanks to the high resolution and the true colours of the images, I am able to view every detail or have an overview of all important images." He is particularly fascinated by the unlimited mobile access to the cameras via UMTS (3G) Internet using his 3G iPhone. The high quality of the images considerably helps the on-call service team and enables them to evaluate the status of the plant from the comfort of their own homes. One time Klaus Timman was able to detect a discrepancy in the fuel composition from an image of the combustion chamber. Using a remote controlled crane, he was able to restack the panes of wood in the storage silo and watch a live image of the corrected combustion procedure in the combustion chamber, without ever having to leave his home.

"Many important reasons speak for the MOBOTIX camera systems such as simple expansion, extensive possibilities to connect to software and hardware by other manufacturers and the MxControlCenter software"

Stress resistance

Some of the cameras at the Lohbrügge power station are subject to particularly rough working conditions, especially the cameras in the combustion chamber. Using a MOBOTIX developer integration kit, the CCTV combustion chamber monitoring specialist Sobotta Sondermaschinenbau GmbH built a high-temperature-resistant camera with fan cooling for visual monitoring of the combustion process. Here, the CMOS image sensors that MOBOTIX exclusively uses, can prove their robust and backlight-proof design that sets them apart from half frame-based CCD sensors. After a full 18 months of continuous operation, the image quality remains excellent and with no need to exchange the cameras. The camera installed above the transverse conveyor to monitor the filling of the combustion chamber does not lead an easy life in this dusty environment. If the images were to become even the tiniest bit unclear, the lens is blown clean again with a compressed air nozzle. And this camera, protected by a dust-proof housing, plays the part perfectly. Another camera on top of the chimney monitors the colour and the quantity of the smoke produced. On clear days, it stares directly into the sun for hours without generating burning effects or forming streaks. Cameras with CCD sensors don‘t have what it takes to stand up to these harsh conditions.

Open interfaces

Open, well-documented software interfaces can be used for numerous different purposes. Hendrik Braasch proved this by providing the scale manufacturer Döhrn with the control room image taken during the weighing procedure of the delivery vehicle to be used in the weighing log. "There is an inexhaustible number of technical possibilities with these cameras. And the creative communication practiced by the network of MOBOTIX users always turns up new ideas and surprising solutions. Many important reasons speak for the MOBOTIX camera systems such as simple expansion, extensive possibilities to connect to software and hardware by other manufacturers and the license-free professional video management software, MxControlCenter. MOBOTIX systems do not come with hidden follow-up costs. It’s simply fun to be able to completely satisfy customers with MOBOTIX technology," he says.

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