Wireless, Web-based energy monitoring system sensors that
are helping manufacturers cut energy costs are making their debut at
engineering shows this year, most recently during this week's Green
Manufacturing Expo being held during Design
& Manufacturing Midwest in Rosemont,
Energy's Acuity Solution monitors energy consumption by tracking kilowatt
hours in real time and reporting the information back to the company's
customers via a secure Internet connection. The wireless sensor hooks up to any
device that uses electricity, according to Agentis CEO Tim Stojka. "It tracks
kilowatt usage and can see spikes in current," he says. "Its primary use is to
understand how energy is being consumed and what the cost is by device. We are
an energy-efficient company, helping customers to drive energy costs down."
Stojka says he believes the Acuity Solution, whose target
customer is currently manufacturers, will eventually make its way into every
business and every home. "The only way to manage (energy) is to measure it and
figure out where it's going," he says. "We sell it as a solution. (Customers)
buy the hardware and they can access the service."
According to Agentis Energy's website, no software needs to
be installed with the sensors. Customers are notified of current peak usage,
peak costs and potential for savings via e-mail, and the Web portal uses a
password access system.
Stojka says he believes that while the idea for the sensors
may seem simple enough, no one has really come up with the idea until now
because, "more people are (now) sensitized to energy cost."
"The wireless technology is driving the technology - it is a
lot less expensive," he says, "and the hardware investment is low. Ten years
ago, there were similar systems available, they were just a lot more
Also exhibiting at the Green Manufacturing Expo this year is
Rexroth, whose pneumatics
group featured a new compact, lightweight directional
control valve that is used to maximize payload in pick-and-place
The valve, which Bosch Application Support Manager Thomas
Dwyer says also includes a low-power consumption coil and is made of
corrosion-resistant materials, can now be mounted very close to where work is
being done, resulting in faster response times and maximizing efficiency by
more than 30 percent.
"A lot of times people protect the valve, putting them in
remote locations, to prevent slamming, shock and vibration," Dwyer says. "This
valve is designed to be used at the point of use. It eliminates dead volume and
waste. Until the last few years, nobody seemed to care (about valve
According to Dwyer, the directional control valve is used in
general automation and material handling applications.