Imagine using a high-powered magnifying glass to examine a watch mechanism in great detail in order to identify problems and understand better how to improve its performance. In many ways, Sensor Synergy is doing the same thing in foundries, only the focus is on time-resolved, power-use measurements for large, energy-intensive equipment and processes.
Detailed, power-use measurements with good time resolution will provide great insights into the energy-use and operations of energy intensive equipment and processes. It’s been found that these insights can help foundry operators and managers identify solutions for reduced energy consumption and improved productivity.
To implement this solution, Sensor Synergy's Watts Aware-130 hardware and software is used as an energy-use monitoring system. This system can be configured to monitor electricity, natural gas, or compressed air. In addition, customized cloud-based database software is used to collect, store, and retrieve data.
As the information is being collected by the cloud-based servers, processed data is being compared to alert conditions so that alert text and email alert messages are generated and sent to appropriate staff in line with predetermined conditions. This technology has been applied to induction furnaces, but also to other “power-hogs, including air compressors, HVAC equipment, and dust collectors.
In the foundry, this real-time, monitoring equipment with 1-second resolution is deployed to measure and record the electricity, natural gas or compressed air that is used by the targeted equipment. Raw data is collected, processed, and displayed in the foundry and also simultaneously uploaded to a cloud-based server, for viewing by other authorized stakeholders through standard web browser software. To achieve energy and productivity improvements, measured data is analyzed in detail to identify trends and alert staff to out-of-normal conditions.
Three months of expert engineering support is included with the solution to help the staff target the best energy-saving opportunities. This data can be reviewed and analyzed further by Sensor Synergy experts who work with foundry operators to correlate power-use trends with measurements, and to identify cost-saving opportunities from process or equipment modifications.
Every Second Counted
The initial measurements serve as a baseline to quantify subsequent process and equipment improvements. This technology continuously collects, processes, stores, and displays power-use data every second, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as long as the equipment is powered and in place.
Installations are usually completed within 90 minutes and include setting up a dedicated wireless network, connection, and staring up of a dedicated computer a running data-viewing “dashboard” program and data logging software.
The results of this approach have been very positive and generated significant savings in both energy use and overall productivity. Several projects have confirmed that changes in process or equipment operations to achieve energy savings also result in overall improvements in productivity, and the economic impact of these productivity improvements often dwarf the energy-savings value.
As an additional benefit, experience has shown that many of the energy-saving opportunities are realized by “administrative changes” that do not require the purchase of new equipment, and therefore result in a very favorable return-on-investment.
Finally, an important feature of this technology is the ability to monitor multiple types of sensors synchronously at the same site. Projects have shown energy savings and productivity improvement issues that could only have been identified with synchronized, time-resolved sensors simultaneously monitoring energy use and other key equipment performance factors.
Sensor Synergy’s Watts Aware monitoring equipment includes a complete energy-use monitoring solution with all necessary hardware, software, and engineering support.
This energy-use monitoring solution includes a small, dedicated computer positioned on the facility manager’s desk for “at-a-glance” monitoring of key energy use measurements.
Sensor Synergy’s browser-based data viewer allows all remote stake-holders with an Internet connection and a web browser to view data within one minute of the measurements. Tools within the viewer allow users to calculate total energy used for a selected time period and to compare energy-use profiles from different pieces of equipment.
Sensor Synergy’s Dashboard for in-plant staff provides data views with only one-second delay. Various tools within the Dashboard data viewer allow users to calculate total energy used for a selected time period, compare energy-use profiles from different pieces of equipment, export data files into spreadsheet compatible files, and more.
James Wiczer, Ph.D. is the president of Sensor Synergy, which supplies low-cost, easy-to-deploy, continuous monitoring sensors for tracking real-time electrical power use and energy waste, and monitoring industrial processes. Visit www.sensorsynergy.com for more information