Improving Energy Efficiency with IIoT

Think about an “Internet of Things” (IoT) device that you may use in your home life. It’s typically an ordinary device, such a thermostat, and made into an IoT device with communications and a visual interface to remotely view date & control actions from the device. For instance, my Emerson Sensi thermostats communicate through my home network and Internet to a Sensi app on my smart phone where I can monitor & control the temperature and other functions from anywhere.

In a Flow Control article, Industrial Internet of Things In Energy Management, Emerson’s Mark Menezes contrasts commercial IoT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). He then highlights examples of how IIoT devices and applications can improve energy efficiency and performance.

Unlike commercial IoT applications, IIoT must meet: 

…industrial expectations of security, reliability and conformance to standards.

With a focus on improving energy efficiency:

IIoT applications start with common industrial devices such as steam traps, pressure relief valves and heat exchangers. The applications take data from industrial sensors and add networking mechanisms and dashboards.

The majority of smart instrumentation use the industry standard, HART digital communication protocol.

While new or existing HART wired sensors can be integrated into an IIoT application, most new installations use the wireless version of HART — referred to as WirelessHART, HART 7 or IEC-62591. Key benefits of wireless include reduced cost and space, simpler and faster installation and no need for a process shutdown in many cases.

Mark highlights several layers of security built into WirelessHART devices:

  • WirelessHART is not routable, or in other words, no “IP to the edge”
  • Secure device-provisioning using a wired connection used to insert a secret join key
  • Robust device-joining process, including device access control list when unique join keys are employed for whitelisting
  • AES-128 encryption of individual end-to-end sessions within the sensor web
  • Secure browser front-end supports role-based access control

He describes three good applications for IIoT to improve energy efficiency: steam traps & pressure relief valves, heat exchangers & pumps, and electrical switchgear.

I’ll share the switchgear example and invite you to read the article for the other two examples.

From Wikipedia, Electrical switchgear is:

…the combination of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment. Switchgear is used both to de-energize equipment to allow work to be done and to clear faults downstream.

Traditionally, manual inspections are performed to spot issues that may lead to failure.

Typical testing includes thermal imaging to identify hot spots along with partial discharge testing to identify insulation breakdown.

With IIoT-based devices:

An improved approach is continuous temperature measurement and trending of suspected hot spots using noncontacting temperature sensors and partial discharge monitoring using acoustic (ultrasonic) sensors.

Visit the Industrial Internet of Things section on Emerson.com for more on these and other IIoT applications. You can also connect and interact with other IIoT experts in the IIoT & Digital Transformation group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

Posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 under Industrial IOT.

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