(Click here to view article in digi-issue)
Since EU-wide climate change and energy targets were enshrined into legislation in 2009, end users across the whole spread of manufacturing and processing industries have found themselves facing increasing stringent caps on carbon emissions and ever more challenging targets on energy efficiency.
The international targets for the reduction of green house gas emissions and improving energy targets by 2020 have become the basis for various schemes implemented at national levels, with different governments using their own incentives and penalties.
Energy costs have become part of the efficiency picture as well, delivering further incentives for businesses to get their energy usage under tighter control.
However, minimising carbon footprint isn’t just about costs, taxes and penalties. As end users’ customers increasingly look to work with businesses who can demonstrate genuine environmental responsibility, being able to implement visible carbon footprint strategies has become ever more important.
Much of this translates into internal processes for those end users as they take actions to make their energy usage more transparent, and to optimise the efficiency of their production processes. However, there are real opportunities too for machine builders who can develop machines that offer demonstrable energy savings, along with integrated energy monitoring technologies. These report energy usage locally as well as enabling this data to be easily collected and transferred to higher level business systems.
Omron’s solution for on-machine energy monitoring is built around a full suite of components that monitor electrical and all other forms of energy, focusing on areas such as temperature, motion, heat and compressed air, as well as electricity.
Key to the range is the KM series of multi-circuit smart power monitors which help pin-point all unnecessary energy usage. With or without inbuilt displays, the devices measure produced and consumed power, current, voltage, leading reactive power, lagging reactive power, power factor and frequency, as well as non-electric parameters. Easy to install, and reducing the mounting space by over 70% when compared to traditional monitoring products, these products combine the ability to monitor more lines with fewer devices with increased measuring accuracy.
Omron also recognises that invisible air flow from the pneumatic systems around a machine can represent significant energy wastage, and so the energy monitoring range also includes air flow sensors, helping to identify air leakage, excessive air usage or too much pressure. With a wide measurement range, the D6FZ products measure compressed air at the machine level, detecting leakage while measuring pressure and flow.
A further innovation from Omron is the plug-and-play ZN portable energy flow monitor, that can monitor energy flow data for a variety of machines and panels, giving a local display as well as integrating with a wider LAN where required or logging energy, power, power factor and pulse sum data to an SD card.
These products are a logical development from Omron’s energy monitoring efforts at its own factories in Japan, a country where legislation has long required companies to record and report their energy consumption. At its own plant in Kyoto, Japan, for example, ongoing measuring and optimising of energy efficiency has seen 50% savings in electricity usage and 50% reductions in air consumption. As a result of these efforts, the full range of energy monitoring components are now available as part of Omron’s standard product range, offering easy integration of energy consuming loads into the machine control platform, with simple connectivity into PLCs.
These components give machine builders an important value-add: the ability to provide hard data to support a claim of increased energy efficiency. At the simplest level, overall energy flow data for the machine can be displayed by connecting the Omron ZN portable energy flow monitor into a KM-based system. Further, as well as giving local display, it can be integrated into a wider LAN where required to enable energy data to be collected from the machine. At the same time, energy, power, power factor and pulse sum data can all be logged to an SD card, giving end users the information they need for trend analysis and energy optimisation.
A further option benefit for end users is the availability of Omron’s KM-Manager software, giving users the ability to freely collect data, display it directly on a PC and perform trend analysis of instantaneous values, complete with graphs of energy and other data.
We can see then that implementing these energy monitoring technologies around a machine can translate into a real competitive advantage for machine builders, giving end users a genuine ability to monitor energy usage on individual machines. With this capability, they can begin to optimise their own production processes in an energy context to minimise cost per part. Omron’s energy monitoring technologies deployed on a machine can also give end users vital evidence as they look to demonstrate their own environmental credentials, supporting efforts to achieve internationally recognised environmental standards such as ISO 50001.
Print this page | E-mail this page
Download a copy of our digital magazine