Energy is just like speed, vibration, temperature and flow. It's just another variable that can be controlled and optimized—but thinking about it in those terms is something relatively new.
For many decades, power was just turned on and off, bills for it were paid, and nobody thought about much beyond that, as long as the lights didn't go out. Well, times have changed. $4-per-gallon gas and other forms of energy become more precious, and everyone wants to run more sustainable operations and produce greener products.
To help users save power and compete on all these sustainable fronts, the Energy & Environment Industry Forum and the Energy Management exhibit were highlights of today's activities at the Rockwell Automation Automation Fair 2012 in Philadelphia.
"Rockwell Automation is the world's largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, and we make our customers more productive and the world more sustainable," said Mary Burgoon, Rockwell Automation energy and environment market development manager, who moderated the forum.
"How do we help manufacturers meet the challenge of smart, safe and sustainable production? Our approach is based on our core technology—the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture," Burgoon said. "Through it, companies can optimize a fragmented environment comprised of disparate systems into a connected, information-enabled plant and supply network. Integrated Architecture combines automation control and information technologies in a converged Ethernet environment.
"As a result, companies can gain access to what's happening directly in their production processes through their business systems. This plant-floor data collected from automation systems provides the real-time intelligence necessary for the optimal use of resources."
Data Organized for Renewable Energy Producer
Energenic, for example, is working with Rockwell Automation's Power & Energy Solutions Group to organize data and improve operations at 14 of the central energy centers (CECs) it builds and operates, and do the same for several solar plants and landfill-to-gas facilities it runs nationwide, reported Doug Demian, applications engineer at Rockwell Automation.
"Energenic needed to monitor energy use, chiller and boiler efficiencies, and many other parameters, and capture it all in a historical database," explained Demian. "So we came up with an integrated solution using our RSEnergyMetrix server and FactoryTalk platform that included variable-speed drives (VSDs) and controls, interfaces and links to third-party systems.
"This is allowing Energenic to monitor real-time data from its controls through firewalls in its VPN; calculate power going to the VSDs and motors control centers on condensers and pumps, for example; compare present performance to benchmarks; trend that data for future analyses and energy-use optimization; and distribute it to anyone who needs it via web pages. So far, this solution has saved Energenic about 15% on its operating costs."
Drugmaker Bolsters Environmental Compliance Reporting
Likewise, Alex Jushchyshyn, site manager at Colorcon, reported that his firm makes colors, coatings dyes, binders and other products for the tablets produced by many pharmaceutical companies, and added that it's using Rockwell Automation's Manufacturing Intelligence solutions to report on the wastewater it sends to its municipal treatment facility near West Point, Pa., and document compliance with new permit requirements.
Basically, Colorcon's water discharge has to be regularly checked for pH and chlorine, so it replaced the chart recorder monitoring I/O in a remote shed with Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk VantagePoint and FactoryTalk Historian solutions.
"This means our operators can do much less data entry and get back to making product," said Jushchyshyn. "However, we can also identify and diagnose upset conditions much faster and access this data from anywhere. Our metering is also about 10% more accurate now, and the few water discharge issues we had each year have now dropped to zero."
Goodyear Takes Aim at Energy Intensity
In addition, Aiman Abdrabou, global manager for energy and greenhouse gases (GHGs) at Goodyear Tire Co., explained that Goodyear has been developing and implementing more sustainable energy strategies for its 50 plants worldwide, including reducing the "energy intensity" of its production processes by 25% in 10 years and continuing to develop tires that save fuel for drivers.
"Energy management is exactly like a control loop that must be managed continuously, so we have to develop ongoing programs to achieve sustainability. It can't be done as a one-time project," stressed Abdrabou.
Consequently, Goodyear organized teams at plants in North and South America, including the world's largest tire factory in Akron, Ohio. Next, it developed energy performance metrics (EPMs) that it posted on online boards, which now include energy-use trends, charts and action plans, and are even used to host monthly meetings. To aid its sustainability program, Goodyear is also using Rockwell Automation's RSEnergyMetrix to monitor about 10,000 meters, organize and centralize their data, put KPIs on Rockwell Automation's VantagePoint dashboards, and generate reports to aid its optimization and sustainability efforts.
"The part that made this affordable was that Rockwell Automation only charged by the number of licenses we implemented and didn't add on charges for different sites and facilities," said Abdrabou. "We've already saved two or three times over on the initial costs of this system. We estimate that this solution is going to save about $10 million over about 10 years for all the plants using it."
CIP Energy Eases Communication Tasks
To generate even more efficiencies and savings, these and many other applications can now use the new CIP Energy protocol recently developed and launched by ODVA with help from Rockwell Automation and its other members. CIP stands for "common industrial protocol" and includes a comprehensive suite of messages and services for the collection of manufacturing automation applications—control, safety, synchronization, motion, configuration and information.
"CIP Energy is just energy-related data in a structured payload," explained Cliff Whitehead Jr., strategic applications manager for Rockwell Automation. "It's an extension to the existing CIP protocols and is a native and transparent way to transmit energy-use information, instead of burdening users with all the code, spreadsheets and translation requirements of the past."
Philip Kaufman, business manager for Industrial Energy Management at Rockwell Automation, added that, "In the past, gathering data from 300 I/O points in a typical application and configuring it to report to an HMI could take a couple of weeks, but now we can use CIP Energy to get up and running a in couple of hours. This is all just another part of our Integrated Architecture for Energy Management."
Kaufman added that CIP Energy is already native on Rockwell Automation's PowerFlex 755 drives and SMC 50 solid-state soft starter, and it will also be coming to other products soon. A toolkit will also be available shortly to help users apply CIP Energy in their devices and systems.