Using Building Energy Management for Factories

April 20, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

cummins-logo-energy-manageWhile building automation systems are transforming the way energy managers monitor and save energy in buildings, can these same systems help factories even though they face different energy-saving challenges?

An article in Automation World says most building automation systems (BAS) reside as software, while various controller types manage equipment and portions of the network, and zone sensors provide input data to the controllers. All of this is done through a BACnet communication protocol, ANSI certified, or on a LonWorks network.

However, in manufacturing environments, things can get more complicated, depending on the industrial processes and unique configuration of chillers, boilers, pumps and other equipment. The article says manufacturers may want to take a top-down approach over time, beginning with their main building profile.

Another consideration for factories is energy loads with numerous machines having different load requirements. But, increasingly, BAS can export energy data via XML from conveyor motors via OPC communication drivers into the cloud.

For example, Cummins is working with its local utility, Duke Energy, to better see the energy loads at its own 1.2 million-sq-foot Rocky Mount, North Carolina, manufacturing facility.

The facility makes about 150,000 engines a year, and compressed air is a major energy factor, according to Automation World. Duke and Cummins designed an energy management system that looks at the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of compressed air used per engine line. The factory compresses about 20,000 CFM, making compressed air the largest energy-consuming system at the facility. Staff watch the air compressor energy loads in real time and try to pinpoint leaks or other problems.

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