Electrical Systems / Energy Management

Monitor to reduce energy consumption

Sheila Kennedy recommends power monitoring in real time to lower energy use and cost.

By Sheila Kennedy, contributing editor

Energy management and sustainability are top of mind at many industrial facilities.

Energy monitoring: Tracking power consumption in real time allows companies to control energy usage and avoid peak pricing. “One of the main reasons monthly electric bills provide so little help when attempting to reduce power consumption is because that bill arrives days or weeks after the actual consumption has taken place,” says Benjamin Orchard, application engineer for Opto 22 (www.opto22.com). “The lack of real-time monitoring causes the customer to miss many of the opportunities for cost savings.”

New, improved monitoring solutions simplify energy management and enhance analytics. Opto 22’s OptoEMU sensor tracks energy consumption in real time from electrical panels, metering devices, other equipment or the building as a whole. Standards-based communications allow data to be shared instantly with enterprise business systems. The company’s Snap-AIPM-3 and Snap-AIPM-3V power monitoring modules now can monitor three-phase equipment without needing a potential transformer. The Snap-AIPM-3 provides twice the current input resolution, revealing power usage changes in greater detail.

Monitoring power at circuit breakers improves equipment efficiency and reduces energy costs. Eaton’s PM3 power monitoring and metering module, an add-on communications device, monitors the power to branch and main circuit applications. “It enables real-time monitoring, metering and communication of phase current and voltage, with real and reactive calculated power and energy, making it easier for customers to detect potential power concerns,” says Shawn Diamond, product manager at Eaton (www.eaton.com).

A machine’s energy efficiency and performance depend on numerous design elements, not the least of which is its bearing seals.

To reduce energy consumption per unit of production and make it more predictable, Schneider Electric (www.schneider-electric.com) introduced the Production Energy Optimization (PEO) solution. “PEO builds a dynamic forecast of energy consumption that’s linked to production forecasts and reacts in real time to changes in production planning,” says Rusty Steele, MES business manager for industry business at Schneider Electric. “It supports continuous improvement in energy efficiency by enabling root cause analysis of energy events, and enables better understanding of energy drivers from the process point of view.”

A new compact drive module from ABB (www.abb.com) approaches energy savings from multiple levels. “ACS850 has an on-board energy saving calculator that monitors energy usage and indicates the kWh saved, dollars and tons of carbon dioxide. It also displays the duration curve showing the drive’s load profile,” says Thomas Junger, product manager for low voltage drives at ABB Inc. Motor flux is optimized with the module’s automatic energy optimizer, and an automatic on/off control feature switches the drive’s internal cooling fan off automatically when it is inactive.

Sweat the details: A machine’s energy efficiency and performance depend on numerous design elements, not the least of which is its bearing seals. Labyrinth seals are preferred for high speeds and high temperatures, although they’re not as good at keeping contaminants out. Contact seals are more popular, but they generate heat from friction. “Technology balances the amount of contact needed to keep the temperature down and to keep contaminants out,” says Greg Hewitt, development engineer for Dodge roller bearings at Baldor (www.baldor.com).

Triple-lip Trident seals from Baldor have a low coefficient of friction and a flinger shield attached to the rotating element that protects the seal by flinging contaminants and water away. “What’s unique about Trident seals is that the lips ride on an angled land located on the inner ring, providing constant contact no matter what angle of misalignment is presented,” says Hewitt. Baldor’s Quadguard seal, suited for washdown environments, has a rubber lip on the flinger and there’s no contact unless it’s hit with the force of water or a contaminant; when the force stops, it bounces back to its original shape.

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Regulatory influences: Changing regulations keep machine builders on their toes. Effective June 16, motor manufacturers in the European Economic Community can market only high-efficiency motors with a minimum efficiency level of IE2. Siemens (www.siemens.com) is a full-line supplier for the IE2 market. Recent developments include new frame sizes for its 1LE1 series of three-phase asynchronous motors and an increased power rating for its 1LG6 series of cast iron motors. “The cost of changeover to an IE2 motor has an approximate payback time of less than two years in most cases,” says Dr. Jörg Hassmann, head of standard motors product management for Siemens.

Email Contributing Editor Sheila Kennedy, managing director of Additive Communications, at sheila@addcomm.com.