The emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) trend is beginning to provide new opportunities for efficiency improvements. In an IIoT world, connected industrial devices produce huge quantities of “Big Data.” This free-flowing yet structured management of data allows industrial sites to improve real-time energy consumption tracking and analysis. This, in turn, allows for lower energy spend and better control of a whole host of industrial equipment assets.
A common example of a practical IIoT application is a device known as a variable speed drive (VSD). The latest VSD iteration, the Services Oriented Drive (SOD), comes with added intelligence which allows for embedded energy and asset management services capabilities. SODs can measure energy consumption of attached devices (like motors or pumps), can monitor performance of those assets, can improve energy performance through adjustment of operational parameters, and can record the data for analysis.
These advanced capabilities improve operational efficiencies in three important ways:
- Energy management– Within the industrial sector, electrical motors consume more than half of all electricity consumption. Depending on the torque profile of the load, when motors are connected to VSDs, up to 30% in energy savings can be achieved (if compared to traditional direct online start methods). The added intelligence of the SOD provides more opportunities for savings by tracking, with high accuracy, the efficiency and performance of the drive and the motor. This allows for better optimization of the industrial application.
- Asset management– As SODs are integrated into the network, equipment performance can be measured remotely via a central control panel or even a mobile device. This helps simplify the maintenance process. The SODs perform advanced asset diagnostics which helps to drive optimized predictive maintenance strategies. Asset performance of the drive, motor and mechanical transmission is all monitored. The possibility of performing true predictive maintenance helps operators identify weakened assets and proactively replace what needs replacing without incurring unanticipated downtime, saving hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars per year.
- Process optimization– SODs control essential process equipment like pumps, fans and compressors by maintaining their operation at best efficiency point (BEP). In the case of industrial pumping systems, SODs can improve the efficiency of system by managing multiple pumps at their best efficiency point and controlling pump speed, system pressure and flow in conjunction with dynamic process and production requirements.