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Siemens develops a video solution to uncover leaks in an industrial environment

The Siemens Industry Solutions Division has developed a video-based software that quickly and effectively detects leaks in an industrial environment. ViaCC enables the recognition of smoke, fumes, leaking liquids and colors. This software based sensor is an extension to conventional sensors in an automated environment and helps avoid production interruptions and losses.

In industrial environments, especially in power stations and the oil and gas area, leaks in pipe systems, valves and at critical transfer points have to be identified as quickly as possible. This is essential for taking the appropriate steps in sufficient time.

Undetected leaks can lead to unplanned downtime and - for example in the case of oil - to pollution of the environment. They also have the potential to impair the quality of a plant's production. However, in certain environments, loss of pressure, temperature changes, and the development of fumes or smoke is difficult to monitor and results are often inaccurate at best. In many cases, there is no suitable sensor system, or installing one would be too expensive. Moreover, specialized sensors can only detect specific types of leaks.

For this reason Siemens developed the ViaCC software for video analysis. It contains detection methods that can be freely combined and that are suitable for detecting edges, colors, movements and so on. Up to twelve cameras record and transmit about 200 images per second to each server. ViaCC can be fully integrated into a range of automation systems, such as T2000/3000 and PCS 7, or even into third-party systems via a gateway. The automation state and the live situation are directly coupled. This enables process data to be inserted directly into a video image and saved. Images can also be displayed and/or recorded as a function of the process. The video detection data, for example of an edge deviation or a color change, are then fed back into the automation system.

The live images of a fault enable service to be better planned with appropriate spare parts and tools. The subsequent analysis of the video data showing the course of a fault can be used later as the basis for future optimization measures to increase plant availability.

The ViaCC video analysis is used, among others, to monitor critical sections of pipelines and detect smoldering fires and the evolution of smoke in enclosed spaces. ViaCC can also be adapted for use in specific industries and to customer requirements by combining the various detection methods.

The ViaCC video solution for detecting leaks in an industrial environment
The Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) is the world's leading supplier of production, transportation, building and lighting technologies. With integrated automation technologies as well as comprehensive industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. The Sector consists of six Divisions: Building Technologies, Drive Technologies, Industry Automation, Industry Solutions, Mobility and Osram. With around 222,000 employees worldwide Siemens Industry posted in fiscal year 2008 a profit of EUR3.86 billion with revenues totaling EUR38 billion.

With the business activities of Siemens VAI Metals Technologies, (Linz, Austria), Siemens Water Technologies (Warrendale, Pa., U.S.A.), and Industrial Technologies, (Erlangen, Germany), the Siemens Industry Solutions Division (Erlangen, Germany) is one of the world's leading solution and service providers for industrial and infrastructure facilities. Using its own products, systems and process technologies, Industry Solutions develops and builds plants for end customers, commissions them and provides support during their entire life cycle. With around 31,000 employees worldwide Siemens Industry Solutions achieved an order intake of EUR 8.415 billon in fiscal year 2008.

Rebecca Zapfe | Siemens Industry
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