Energy management at Rockwell Automation fair
Online energy savings calculator offered for free download.
At this year’s annual Rockwell Automation Fair, held in Chicago, the company made several announcements related to industrial energy management, including release of an online energy savings calculator that’s available for free download. The event was also the occasion for a number of announcements related to ODVA, of which Rockwell is a premier member.
The new tool allows comparison of conventional methods for pump and fan control using valves or dampers, with use of variable frequency drives (VFD), to see the estimated cost savings. The tool offers two ways to calculate energy consumption. The first uses minimum pump or flow percentages, annual operating hours, cost per kilowatt, and other information about a particular plant. The other incorporates sample data provided by Rockwell Automation.
The tool is part of the Rockwell Automation Intelligent Motor Control portfolio, which includes VFDs, intelligent software, and condition-monitoring devices.
Perhaps more significantly, Rockwell Automation also announced that it is extending the reach of its PlantPAx process automation system to integrate critical rotating assets, such as compressors, pumps, turbines, and fans. Users now can tie intelligent motor devices into this unified-control architecture, which should lead to noticeable improvements in asset availability, operational efficiency, and energy management. Engineers can monitor process conditions such as electric motor current, vibration signatures of rotating assets, and VFD torque signatures. Tight integration between process automation and motor control is especially beneficial, the company says, in heavy industrial applications in the metals, mining, cement, power, oil and gas, wastewater, and pulp and paper industries.
Unlike other distributed control systems that require users to manually map data from motor control devices to the control system, PlantPax mirrors the device memory, making data automatically available with the control system, Rockwell said. One of the key benefits of having motor control devices in PlantPax is its use in managing energy-intensive assets.
Finally, also at Automation Fair, ODVA announced a new edition of its specifications. These include a defined energy object that helps manufacturers aggregate and view energy usage at various levels of the enterprise.
The updated specifications feature work competed by ODVA’s Energy Applications Special Interest Group in defining an object that will be used to report energy for all energy and resource types. This methodology is harmonized with energy reporting standards defined by the Global Reporting Initiative, whose mission is to create conditions for transparent and reliable exchange of sustainability information. ODVA’s energy object aligns with the Environmental Indicator Protocol EN3 of the G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, which is the foundation of the GRI reporting framework.
This is part of the Control Engineering December 2011 Industrial Energy Management supplement.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.