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Energy Management in the Chemical Industry


The chemical industry consumes a lot of energy. WAGO demonstrates how companies can easily achieve savings by using intelligent data acquisition and modular automation technology.

The chemical-pharmaceutical industry is becoming more innovative and efficient. According to information from the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the sector reduced its energy consumption in Europe by 26% between 1990 and 2015, while production rose by 85% during the same period.

Despite these improvements, the chemical industry is still among the largest industrial consumers of energy. Their proportion of total consumption of fuel and electricity was around 19% of all European industrial usage in 2015. Even though companies have already implemented many efficiency measures, experts still see potential energy savings, particularly during the distillation process, in the mechanical energy required for motors and machines, and in heating.

Modular automation technology using an open system architecture, like the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, can help companies exploit additional possibilities. Complicated measuring technology is not necessary to increase energy and resource efficiency. By using WAGO’s energy management system, all process variables and energy consumption values can be recorded using one system. Due to the modularity of the I/O system, companies can individually assemble their data acquisition systems and expand them at any time – precisely as they need.

One System for All Requirements

WAGO relies on an open and flexible system for measurement data acquisition. All data are collected using the WAGO PFC200 Controller and the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, which can connect to any sensor or signal conditioner. This allows for the operation of different scenarios. System operators, who already use their own energy management software, can easily increase the depth of their measurement points by adding the WAGO solution.

Companies that are just starting out in energy management can also find a suitable solution. The sensors connected via the WAGO controller can be parameterized via the integrated “Energy Data Management” parameterization software, which requires no programming knowledge. Furthermore, the software allows for the visualization of measuring points in clear display formats that show both historical data or data collected as often as every second. This allows companies to quickly and easily discover potential savings and achieve transparency in their energy consumption.

Due to its flexible data acquisition structure, the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 is also a suitable platform for asset management, including permanent system monitoring. The PFC200 Controller is used as a gateway for access to the systems. Decentralized systems can also be monitored using telecontrol technology or a PFC200 with integrated wireless modem.

Sensors at the field level can be connected to the Internet using the PFC200, and their data can additionally be made accessible in the cloud, for example. By analyzing operating states, faults can be detected quickly and failures can be avoided by influencing the process via the cloud. In addition, future systems can be optimally designed using asset management.

I/O systems offer seamless communication to MES or the cloud, and thus enable secured access to systems from any location. Individual software interfaces can be integrated into the open Linux® architecture of the WAGO controllers, for example, based on OPC-UA servers. Other communication protocols can also be used with the open architecture. Due to the integrated MQTT software interface, every WAGO controller is already an IoT controller with cloud connectivity.

Anticipating Maintenance

The cloud facilitates additional applications, like alarms, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Software and intelligent systems analyze energy and process data to project critical states or necessary maintenance. The user determines whether the WAGO controller sends the data to major cloud providers, like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. Links to third-party solutions can also be quickly implemented due to the integrated MQTT protocol.

WAGO has seriously considered cyber security, particularly in this context, because if cybercriminals manage to manipulate processes via the Internet, then companies can face heavy losses. With WAGO, you are protected from cyber attacks. “Security by Design” – IT security integrated from the outset in the form of layer-based security architecture – ensures that data thieves will not be able to gain access to the Linux® controller. Communication between the controller and the cloud is encrypted and implemented via the MQTT protocol. You can also define the variables to be transferred to the cloud – this way, sensitive data does not leave the company.

Photos: OMV