Standards demand precise documentation and ongoing efficiency improvement from production companies. That sounds like a burdensome obligation. To what degree do companies benefit from efficiency measures?
Dökel: We support energy management projects in which energy savings of up to 30 percent are achieved. Consumption can also be reduced even with simple means, for example, analyzing the supplier’s load curve. With our energy management solution, companies can take the next step and find further potential savings, for example, when machines are inefficient or warehouses are incorrectly air-conditioned.
What does the WAGO solution look like exactly?
Dökel: Via the PFC200 Controller and WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, we gather measurement data from various media and parameters. Any sensors and signal conditioners can be integrated, which record process values such as pressure, temperature and throughput via analog and digital inputs. M-Bus meters that are already installed can be connected easily and provide further measured values of your processes. EnOcean sensors make it possible to expand and support measurement concepts without existing information; using our three-phase power management module, loads can be monitored in detail, and consumption can be analyzed. We use an open, flexible system for data acquisition. This gives the customers all the freedom, so they are not forced into proprietary technology.
What does WAGO provide beyond measurement?
Dökel: The sensors connected via the WAGO controller can be parameterized quickly and easily via our integrated “Energy Management” parameterization software; this eliminates time-consuming programming. This makes it possible for customers to increase the depth of measurement in their production without automation expertise. Furthermore, measuring points can be visualized in the software second by second or in perspicuous display formats. This allows the power-guzzling elements to be identified and optimized quickly. There’s no easier way to implement efficiency.
Lukas Dökel | WAGO
What can companies do if they want to go further with energy management and want not only monitoring of their machines, but also automated control?
Dökel: Thanks to our open interfaces, we can provide all the data gathered in a transparent form for further processing in a manufacturing execution system or enterprise resource planning system. Then, based on our data, the systems initiate further actions.
Energy and process data is also the basis for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Are those already topics at WAGO?
Dökel: In the intelligent factory, data can also be used for these domains, of course – its use is not restricted to energy management. Predictive maintenance has to do with making it possible for companies to identify defects before they actually occur, instead of only being able to react to a failure or faults after the fact. You can take one step in this direction with our system. It allows limiting values to be set to establish starting points for those responsible for service and maintenance to ascertain when something in production is not running smoothly and failures threaten. With this knowledge, major damage can be avoided in good time. And it can be used for new, cost-efficient maintenance strategies.
Is a cloud connection possible?
Dökel: We are following this trending topic intensively and cooperating closely with our partner M&M Software. Our software on the controller can send data directly to a cloud and visualize it, for example. The customer can decide whether the controller sends the data to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or IBM Bluemix. Connections to third-party solutions will also be feasible in the future thanks to the standardized MQTT protocol. The controller automatically transfers selected values at specifiable intervals – in an especially secure way, thanks to the hardened Linux® operating system. We have integrated IT security from the outset in the form of a layer-based security architecture.