Transitioning from energy management to condition management

Beckhoff offers an expanded portfolio of energy measurement and grid analysis solutions for a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from machines and production facilities to manufacturing plants and buildings to wind power and hydroelectric installations. Managing industrial machinery and extensive power generation plants involves a broad range of requirements, including mains monitoring, process control and high-end power monitoring. Beckhoff has released the EL37x3 series and four new EL34x3 EtherCAT I/Os.

Together with the proven oversampling power monitoring terminals and the associated TwinCAT Power Monitoring library, the new EtherCAT Terminals for energy and condition management represent a comprehensive product spectrum that can be adapted to any application.

In addition to the continuing regulatory pressure to implement the ISO 50.001 standard, installing an energy management system, as described by the International Energy Agency, delivers several direct benefits, such as:

  • energy savings = cost savings
  • supply security = production reliability
  • industrial productivity = increased sales
  • resource management = higher profit margins

Even for use as a stand-alone energy meter, the modular Beckhoff solution is superior to conventional devices. The I/O system supports the flexible combination of devices such as the compact EK9160 IoT Bus Coupler equipped with an Ethernet interface and the EL3423 power measurement terminal that is optimized for use in the IoT field. At the same time, the user benefits from proven and affordable standard industrial components.

Taking a more holistic view, on the other hand, opens the door to significantly greater efficiency improvements. The open and consistent bus terminal and software system from Beckhoff enables the implementation of energy management solutions that are simple, cost-effective and, most importantly, seamlessly integrated into the existing automation system. Acquisition of all consumer data (including those from DC-supplied consumers) provides detailed insight on the type of energy and how much of it is being used anywhere in a plant or building.

Since this measurement data is directly available in the I/O system, no additional automation system is required. Bus terminals and/or software modules can be easily added to the control system as needed. This reduces the cost of collecting energy usage data while providing information about the total consumption of the facility as well as of all sub processes.

With a higher-level gateway PC, it is also possible to integrate a heterogeneous system, such as one that has grown over time, into a fully functional end-to-end system again – even if the components come from many different manufacturers.

Numerous I/O modules are available for energy data collection to form the basis of the universal solution. Established gas, water and heat meters can be easily integrated into the system with up/down counters like the EL1512 EtherCAT Terminal or the KL6781 and KL6401 Bus Terminals via the M-Bus or LON interface. In addition, users can monitor their compressed air usage (and check for energy-wasting leaks) with the KM37xx differential pressure measurement terminals or the decentralized EP3744 IP67 differential pressure measuring box. IO-Link-based sensors can be integrated via KL/EL6224 terminals. Electrical variables can be conveniently collected via the broad portfolio of system-integrated power measurement terminals, which can be used for the three application areas of maintenance, power measurement and power monitoring.

EL3483 and EL3423 for maintenance
The EL3483 3-phase mains monitoring terminal for voltage, frequency and phase can be used in place of a protection relay for the detection of asymmetry errors or frequency errors, as well as for phase protection and voltage protection for uncontrolled motors. Moreover, the EL3483 not only generates an error message after a fault has occurred. In addition, users can preset thresholds for all monitored values to enable alarm notifications and thus to be able to take corrective action proactively and avoid machine downtime.

Since the terminal provides a power quality factor and is available at relatively low costs, it can be used to install a comprehensive supply voltage monitoring system. The power quality factor is a combination of many factors that affect the quality of the mains voltage. It enables the user to assess the supply reliability of an installation in a simplified manner with only a single number and without requiring detailed knowledge of harmonic waves, distortion factors and other factors.

The second representative of this group is the first true energy and power measurement terminal, because it supplements the voltage analysis in the EL3483 with current measurement channels. As an economy version of the above 3-phase power measurement terminal, the EL3423 is a full-featured I/O device that computes its measurements in the 15-minute intervals that are common in Germany. The update speed, on the other hand, is freely selectable down to 10-second averages. In addition to determining averages, the terminal collects power minimums and maximums for the selected period. Because of the time limitations, the terminal is available at a lower price point.

If power and/or other values are to be measured in the context of machine control, 10-second measurement intervals will probably not be sufficient. In this case, an update to the next terminal category is recommended.

EL3443 and EL3453 for power measurement applications
The EL3443 is the new standard power measurement terminal from Beckhoff with many additional features and a significantly faster response time than its predecessor. The 3-phase power measurement terminal with extended functionality updates the measurement values with each full wave (20 ms at 50 Hz). It also supplies more than 400 measurement values that provide detailed information about the present status of power supply and consumption. Among other things, the terminal determines the first 41 harmonics for current and voltage on all three phases.

Two more specialized features of this component class are the detection of zero voltage crossing occurrences as well as the internal computation of residual current. The zero voltage crossing detection makes it possible to implement innovative control concepts by executing switching operations with microsecond accuracy during zero-crossovers. This protects switching components and downstream devices from inrush current peaks. The effective computation of residual current makes it possible to estimate the neutral current without explicitly measuring it. With the EL3453, which measures the neutral current directly, the computed residual current is equal to the differential current, which provides further monitoring capabilities that may be useful for other applications, such as the operation of IT server racks.

In comparison with the EL3443, the EL3453 3-phase power measurement terminal with extended functionality for up to 690 V AC adds even more speed and updates its process values with every half-wave (i.e. every 10 ms at 50 Hz). In addition, it features four independent and isolated current channels that can withstand short-term currents of 60 A. Moreover, the EL3453 computes more harmonics (up to the 63rd) and the sine wave power and energy, which makes more than 600 measurement values available.

Power monitoring for high-end applications
The third and final category consists of the EL37x3-series power monitoring terminals for high-end applications. These terminals fully implement the principle of PC-based control by collecting high-resolution current and voltage values and forward them to the controller very quickly but without any processing. The greatest advantage of this method is that the controller has all raw data at its disposal and can operate with the greatest level of detail possible. Even oscilloscopic applications can be implemented this way. Since the automation controller has much more computing power at its disposal, it is able to perform analyses in significantly greater detail. For an efficient implementation of the desired analysis functions, Beckhoff provides the TwinCAT Power Monitoring software library TF3650. While the EL3773 with 10,000 measurements per second is not as fast in comparison, it features an integrated filter and DC capability. The EL3783, on the other hand, features a sampling rate of 20 ksps and an overload capacity of 130 to 650 percent for current and voltage. This makes it possible to maintain a comprehensive data overview and not lose any measurement values even in error states.

All these capabilities make it possible to put together a company-wide energy management system that meets any user requirements. The user can decide whether to manage the data in the cloud or locally, which remains the most common choice. If a localized solution is selected, it is important not to forget the benefits of an easy-to-use interface with centralized access options. Centralized data access via multi-touch panels delivers more clarity and convenience compared to the multiple built-in devices that users had to monitor in the past. Using the HTML5-based TwinCAT 3 HMI from Beckhoff, the same visualization can even be displayed by many other end devices such as smartphones and tablets without any additional effort.

Drag-and-drop analysis functions with TwinCAT Analytics
With TwinCAT Analytics, all data acquired throughout a company environment can be easily summarized and evaluated via drag-and-drop analysis functions and also combined with other measurement data. This makes it easy to compute the energy consumption for each produced part. A holistic Beckhoff solution even supplies data that is not available to common energy management systems since the latter have no access to the machine control data. This makes it possible to first determine the energy consumption for different operating conditions and then identify deviations from the norm.

While too much energy usage may be a sign of worn bearings, for example, too little energy usage may indicate insufficient product quality. Through automatic PLC code generation, above mentioned easily created drag-and-drop analyses can even be integrated into an automated permanent analysis system. After automatic project creation, users can integrate an HMI dashboard for company-wide energy data analysis. TwinCAT 3 HMI provides the foundation for this capability. Company-wide monitoring across distributed locations and systems enables a timely response to impending faults before downtime occurs. It also enables discovery of previously unidentified optimization potential, for example, during operating mode changes. And by means of the power quality factor, users can even resolve unexplained machine problems resulting from fluctuations in the power supply without the need for extensive knowledge in electrical engineering. With these user-friendly tools, even the implementation of an advanced condition management system with a high level of detail is easy to accomplish.