The scale of industrial energy consumption is eye popping: The global industrial sector alone uses about half of the world’s total delivered energy, and power requirements are projected to increase more than 40% by 2035. With concerns over adequate supplies, rising costs, new emissions regulations, and a heightened environmental awareness, companies need to get smarter about how they use energy.

Thus, efficient energy use is a natural expansion of ODVA’s mission to advance open, interoperable industrial information and communication technologies based on the Common Industrial Protocol or CIP — and networks such as EtherNet/IP.

ODVA, in cooperation with major suppliers including Cisco Systems, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric, has launched an energy initiative to transform the way industrial companies allocate energy resources. The goal is to make it easier for a company to track and reduce energy consumption from the plant floor to the grid.

Understanding plant-wide energy demands is critical to improving efficiency, but production planners have not had the necessary tools. ODVA wants to change this by developing network-connected, “energy-aware” devices and software within CIP that will measure consumption and transmit the information to higher-level systems that meter and manage energy.

This approach makes companies better aware of how and where they use energy. Energy is essential for manufacturing but has been an invisible line item on production bills of materials and, consequently, an unmanaged resource. As a shared metric among users and vendors, energy awareness drives fundamental behavioral changes which, in turn, promote smarter consumption and investment in more-efficient products and processes.

Beyond that, the information permits comprehensive energy management. This might, for instance, help users improve energy integrity through intelligent power supplies; choose among alternative energy sources based on factors such as cost, source, or environmental impact; or even recover and sell excess electricity back to the power grid. And systems such as PAC and SCADA can use the data to better control operations by applying process-based decision rules. This makes processes more efficient while still balancing the key production goals of operator and product safety and maximum output.

For example, a networked meter on an air compressor — typically a big energy consumer — can monitor use and send data to a supervisory controller that, in turn, can adjust operating parameters to reduce energy consumption while still maintaining adequate air output and pressure. And business-analytics programs can use the information to plan when to operate the compressor to take advantage of lower rates or avoid peak-demand penalties while still meeting production targets.

ODVA’s large community of suppliers can collectively provide industry with a wide range of devices, hardware, and software to help optimize energy use, managed by our independent, vendor-neutral organization. We expect initial products will be available on EtherNet/IP in 2012.

We believe the initiative will help businesses successfully embrace innovative energy control and management techniques and, as a result, improve productivity and profits while meeting strategic objectives for return on investment and sustainability. MD

ODVA is an international association comprising members from the world’s leading automation companies. Its mission is to advance open, interoperable information and communication technologies in industrial automation.

Edited by Ken Korane

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.