Energy Management Improves With Better Vantage Point

Manufacturers Need Usage Data From All Areas of the Facility to Better Track Their Plants' Operations

By Joe Feeley

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Automation Fair 2012

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Manufacturing plants consume more than one-third of the global energy used annually. Many companies, however, do not have information on the day-to-day energy consumption within their plants. To be able to identify opportunities for improvement, manufacturers need usage data from all areas of the facility to set baselines and better track variations for their entire operation, whether a single plant or a global production infrastructure.

Energy-intelligence strategies leveraging Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk software enable companies to report and visualize their consumption in a way that can reduce the time and effort associated with regulatory compliance, while cutting operating costs and maximizing profit.

The Information Software portfolio offered by Rockwell Automation now includes new energy intelligence capabilities in software applications, as demonstrated during this week at the 2012 Automation Fair in Philadelphia.

FactoryTalk VantagePoint Energy bundle and FactoryTalk EnergyMetrix software help plant and operations managers view resource consumption in relation to specific units, lines and machines, so they can make more informed energy decisions. Energy intelligence is an extension of the manufacturing intelligence capability, turning data into information for informed decision-making, by leveraging power and energy equipment as data sources.

"Rockwell Automation's Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence is the process of gathering data from multiple sources and putting it in context," explained Keith McPherson, director, market development, Rockwell Software. "So the whole idea behind Energy Intelligence is that the source of the data would be power meters, drives, any of our power products, even energy-related data from the business system, and we can put together an energy dashboard."

This is an update to the RSEnergyMetrix product that's been around for several years. "We moved that over into the software business and did a connector for VantagePoint Energy that talks to EnergyMetrix and its data sources as we can combine the energy data with the things that VantagePoint does," McPherson explained.

Traditionally, when facilities talked about energy management, they would take energy data from a power meter and look at it only from a facilities perspective. Beyond monthly utility bills, many companies lack insightful data into their consumption of water, air, gas, electricity and steam.