Creative Thinking Abounds about Industrial Energy Management

Automation suppliers demonstrate ingenious methods for managing energy use.

06/01/2012


Though we are still in the early stages of both vendors and users deploying automation technologyto support green initiatives, the ingenuity being displayedin this arena is already quite impressive.

As the title of this third supplement on IndustrialEnergy Management suggests, automation technologyis proving to be an integral part of the green movementby monitoring and controlling energy-saving systems inhomes, offices, factories, and beyond.

The four articles in this supplement reveal two thingsabout the role automation technology can be expected toplay as the green movement advances:

  • Virtually every form of automation technology—from hardware devices like drives and PLCs toHMI software—has the potential to support green operations. 
  • A large segment of the automation vendor community has a clear vision of how this technology can be best used in a green economy.

 

This supplement begins with an article that notes that the core objective of the green movement is reducingenergy consumption—or managing demand—anddoing that successfully requires deploying automationtechnology at four levels.

Driving toward a green-energy future

Then there’s an article that explains how using variablefrequency drives can reduce the amount of energy heavyequipment consumes during idle times or when operatingat less than peak loads. The article specifically addressesusing VFDs on large conveyors, but success in that arenacould translate to a host of industries—such as foodprocessing, mining, and oil and gas—where managementwould like to slice energy bills.

Drives of a different type are the subject of an articlein which automation technology is showing the potentialto move industrial cranes away from traditional hydraulicpower to more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendlyhybrid engines. As this article illustrates, hybrid cranescould even make workers more productive while reducingboth emissions and fuel consumption.

The final article is all about the future. It highlightsa zero-energy green home designed and built bystudents at Alfred State College in New York. A controland monitoring system installed in this demonstrationhome provides solid data on the value of investing inrenewable energy systems. It also is enhancing the valueof the educational experience for students working on theproject who gained experience with technologies used forindustrial automation. That’s a win-win situation.

All the stories in the supplement indicate that inthe not too distant future, a lot of automation vendors—and their customers—also will be involved in win-winsituations when it comes to deploying automation technology in support of green initiatives.

- Sidney Hill, Jr., is CFE Media contributing editor.

This article appears in the June Industrial Energy Management supplement to Control Engineering.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me