Power monitoring can be the crystal ball that a facility needs to understand and analyze the present, past and future regarding power consumption and it’s demand and anomalies. This technology allows consumers the ability make better decisions based off factual data versus being reactionary to given circumstances.
Where To Start Your Power Monitoring Solution
Knowing basic terminology specific to power devices can be confusing and getting a firm grasp of those terms is key to success. Beginning at the service entrance gives the clearest understanding of power consumption and quality. Each component in the facility is downstream of the service entrance so all relevant data points are past this point. This is typically done with a power meter and with the right communication selection this data could be easily integrated.
The key point in beginning a power management system is to have future expansion capabilities in mind from the start. You want a foundation so that as equipment and technology is introduced you can plug into that system and easily move and manipulate data to get the results you’re after. That may mean starting with your industrial network to ensure you have the infrastructure in place that can move data safely and securely.
Understanding your devices is necessary to move forward. Power meters, sub-meters and trip devices are typical types of equipment that would be integrated in a power monitoring system. These devices will need some type of communication protocol to be able to integrate them into a system in the future.
Who Is Involved In Power Monitoring?
IT plays a huge role in a power monitoring project. There can be a lot of grey between IT and OT during these projects. Misalignment in ownership and overall language between groups can be difficult to overcome. Typically, the IT and power worlds have not integrated. With the movement of smart manufacturing and IIoT we’re seeing more and more that these groups engage. Security is the elephant in the room that must be addressed between groups. IT will traditionally manage the security portion of power monitoring projects. This is not an iron clad rule and can fluctuate depending on individual expertise.
The return on investment for a power monitoring system is centered around understanding the usage and consumption of power. Beyond that understanding the inductive loads (motors) and how that affects the power factor (measurement of the characteristic of what’s happening with voltage and current) could be significantly impactful. If you understand that impact you could make positive changes within the distribution system.
Who Benefits From Power Monitoring
The user experience is extremely different with a power monitoring system. Overall safety goes up tremendously with a system in place. Every power system is different and knowing how close you can safely engage is key. In the past the user would have to interact directly and within proximity of the equipment. To get information you would have to be at the meter at that point in time. This opens the door to multiple areas that could impact the user directly. Our goal is to remove personnel from the electrical distribution room as often as we can. Removing them from risk all together is the best way to improve overall safety at a faculty. Once you cross the barrier and have a basic system in place you can start down the next generation road of power monitoring.
Power monitoring systems ultimately can give you a virtual one-line power distribution diagram. This opens the door to endless possibilities for industrial end users. This can have many different looks depending on the solution engineered. We’ve seen users with an HMI inside an electrical room (to the side of course), some users opt to have the interface outside of the room itself and others choose to go without and HMI altogether and manage the system via web browsers. Either way you choose you are increasing overall knowledge of the plant as well as employee safety. This is a topic we are passionate about and is one we would love to explore further with you on your journey to smart manufacturing.
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