CC-Link adds energy management capabilities

12 December 2012

Energy management functions have been added to the open CC-Link network to create a combined energy and production management control system. The new CC-Link IE Energy capabilities allow managers to monitor energy consumption by individual machines or processes over the same networks they are already using for general control purposes.

CC-Link can handle both control and information data at high speed, to provide efficient, integrated factory and process automation. It is available in a 10 Mbps fieldbus version or an industry leading 1Gbps industrial Ethernet version, CC-Link IE. Both versions offer full determinism and support the new energy management features.

A manufacturing plant will include many energy consuming devices, many of which are large electrical loads, such as ovens, conveyors or other heavy mechanical systems, all of which must work in unison to complete the production process. CC-Link IE Energy offers the ability to monitor all of these individually and in real time, allowing optimisation of each device to be achieved.

Without CC-Link IE Energy, collecting data from each device and determining how to optimise it would be complicated. Instead production managers would only be able to consider overall energy consumption and be unable to focus on achieving true optimisation in all areas of a plant.

Easily installed using a single cable network, CC-Link IE Energy is said to control entire production systems (and feed real time production information through to enterprise management IT systems). The new CC-Link IE Energy functions add the additional function on the same network of close and low-cost monitoring of energy consumption right down to the level of the individual device.

A controller connected into the network can then analyse data in real-time and issue energy management instructions. An example of this would be to alter the status of a device between on, off and standby modes in relation to scheduled times for shift changeovers, lunch breaks etc. It could also power down devices or switch them to idling mode if they are unlikely to be used for a period of time.

Equipment such as pumps, fans and conveyors often waste large amounts of energy because they run at or near full speed for extended periods, when an analysis of their duty cycle may suggest speed reductions, idling or stops are acceptable for much of the time.

The net result of CC-Link IE Energy is to provide real-time energy visualisation level management reports. Combining production and control information with energy information will enable simultaneous cross-optimisation of operational control and energy management.

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