Monitoring and saving on compressed air

Compressed air is considered the most expensive industrial medium. Its high production costs and widespread industrial use make it a significant expense for most companies. The current rise of energy prices makes the search for savings an ever more serious task for companies.

Monitoring of the most expensive industrial medium

Automatized monitoring of machines and applications brings about indisputable benefits when it comes to reliability and predictive maintenance. In view of this, Balluff has developed a device called CMTK – Condition Monitoring Toolkit. Today we will demonstrate how you can implement CMTK to monitor the use of compressed air.

CMTK Balluff

A growing significance of IO-Link

The basic interface through which the CMTK communicates with sensors and executive elements, is IO-Link. Its benefits, such as simple wiring and easy configuration, allow even a layperson to install devices which in the case of conventional technologies would have needed a use of PLC controllers and IT developers’ services.

The latest trend, which gives additional value to IO-Link, are multi-function sensors. The fact that
IO-Link is able to transfer relatively large amounts of data, opens new perspectives when it comes to developing sensors that provide comprehensive information about the measured process or medium.

A good example of such sensor for monitoring of the flow of compressed air, is the SMC PF3A8 flow sensor, which combines the functions of flow, pressure, and temperature sensors. It provides
up-to-date information on all significant parameters of the measured medium, and, combined with the CMTK, it also gives you an overview of events’ history and of trends analysis, important from the standpoint of predictive production maintenance.

Upon connecting to an IT infrastructure, such versatile sensors become a highly valuable tool for monitoring of the state of the whole industrial environment.

minitoring CMTK Balluff

From state monitoring to implementing savings

Overview of the state of the process is the key to identifying and evaluating the potential for savings. However, monitoring is just the first step on the path to real savings, which usually require an intervention into the process.

In practice, routine tasks such as turning off machines or putting them in stand-by mode during a standstill, are often neglected by operators. This is why automation of these actions may bring about significant savings on resources.

The CMTK is designed mainly to collect and analyze data, but it also includes options to create customized software. Thanks to this option, measurement data may be used to control circuits of compressed air.

Balluff Slovakia, in cooperation with the leader of the tyre industry and SMC, has tested and carried out their first common project in the scope of flow control and pressure management in machines during standstill. Thanks to this, the operation of machines ‒ both in the economic and ecological aspects ‒ becomes less demanding and thus, more profitable.


The CMTK is a tool to collect, store, display and analyze data. It works with modern multi-functional sensors that use the IO-Link communication interface. The CMTK may operate independently or as part of a decentralized system of data acquisition and processing.

The ability to create custom software allows for a free expansion of the CMTK’s functionality, i.e. by including an advanced module for reporting or controlling. Balluff and SMC have developed solutions for implementing the CMTK for compressed air monitoring and saving energy, which may be easily used in existing machines or assembly lines.