Press release #Thermotechnology

Octapharma modernises steam supply system

Intelligent boiler operation with digital assistant from Bosch

Annemarie Wittmann >

Octapharma, a company specialising in human proteins made from blood plasma and human cell lines, has modernised the energy supply area at its site in Vienna. This upgrade was preceded by an Energy Quick Check, carried out by Bosch Industriekessel, to help identify potential for increased efficiency on the basis of the customer's existing situation. New Bosch technologies now supplement the existing steam boiler system from 2007. The modernisation process included the integration of the digital efficiency assistant MEC Optimize as well as automation equipment for water analysis. In future, the systems will create transparency in steam supply: The smart data analysis improves production processes and energy efficiency, while recommendations for action are also generated with the aid of artificial intelligence.

The MEC Optimize efficiency assistant analyses and interprets the boiler system data and informs the operating personnel in advance about unfavourable operating conditions as well as opportunities to increase efficiency. If, for example, the fuel consumption increases due to excessively high desalting rates, MEC Optimize reports possible causes. Another key element is predictive maintenance. The digital assistant makes predictions regarding the remaining service life of all important components and provides assistance with regard to maintenance scheduling. The benefits are obvious for Octapharma: "We can monitor system values more easily, detect unfavourable operating conditions early on and have in-depth monitoring in place without having to be on site," reports Orestis Almpanis-Lekkas, Head of Utilities at the Vienna site. By connecting to the MEC Remote access system, the operator can also securely retrieve the data collected by MEC Optimize remotely and view the operating information on a mobile device such as a notebook or tablet.

In addition, the retrofitted water analysis device from Bosch delivers all the relevant data from the fully automatic water analyses to the control system or to MEC Optimize. The water characteristics for steam boiler systems are subject to strict regulations and are crucial for long-lasting and reliable boiler operation. At Octapharma, the boiler log book has now been implemented digitally, with water values recorded in a fully automatic way. The digital efficiency assistant interprets these measured values to provide recommended actions or warnings, and in some cases even the water treatment will be automatically modified. Octapharma benefits from a reliable plant protection system and a fault-free process. This results in significant financial savings.

Additional modernisation measures included the conversion of the control system to the latest generation of the boiler and system controls from Bosch. The new control system allows for convenient operation while also increasing the degree of automation. Furthermore, the Vienna-based company is achieving the highest levels of energy efficiency as a result of additional heat recovery modules: The recovery of thermal energy from exhaust vapours (deaeration process) and desalting water is saving more than EUR 20,000 per year. There are environmental benefits as well, with around 150 tonnes fewer CO₂ emissions each year. This is equivalent to the CO₂ emissions produced by around 90 cars. New silencer hoods also ensure that the burner sounds in the boiler house are very quiet. All components from Bosch are designed to be easily retrofitted, meaning that the modernisation went smoothly without any issues or interruption to the steam supply. Orestis Almpanis-Lekkas from Octapharma describes the collaboration with Bosch as being flexible and solution-oriented, adding: "With MEC Optimize, we will be able to identify areas of action and potential for improvement much quicker in future, and implement this directly." The digital assistant consequently allows for increased system efficiency and more cost-efficient boiler operation through reduced energy costs.

Bosch Industriekessel GmbH, part of the Bosch Thermotechnik GmbH, is setting the benchmark for industrial boiler technology over 150 years. Boiler systems for steam, hot water and heating, manufactured to customers' specification, provide efficient heating and process heat for all applications. Boiler house components, which are modular in design and perfectly coordinated, together with intelligent regulation and control technology, significantly simplify the planning, installation and commissioning of the complete system. Comprehensive service support from one source rounds off the innovative product portfolio.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 421,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2022). The company generated sales of 88.2 billion euros in 2022. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 470 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 136 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 85,500 associates in research and development, of which nearly 44,000 are software engineers.

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