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Energy Optimization as Productivity Enhancer

Energy Optimization as Productivity Enhancer

The industrial sector consumes approximately 40 percent of the world's total delivered energy, making it the largest energy-consuming sector. Within the industrial sector, the production domain consumes 80 percent of the energy, making it fertile ground for energy optimization efforts.

With that in mind, ODVA has launched a new initiative to transform the industrial energy resource allocation model. The goal is a comprehensive approach and standards for the optimization of energy usage (OEU) that is scalable, open, and inclusive of users and suppliers.

Adding new objects and services to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP), the strategy is to use the power of industrial networking and the market dominance of Ethernet/IP to initially drive awareness and data sharing around energy usage. Ultimately, industrial energy management will be taken to new levels of granularity and potentially offer important information to the smart grid as those standards continue to evolve.

And while the energy issue sits at the core of ODVA's adopter community, there are also powerful drivers within industry to create more sustainable business models and improve sustainability reporting.

"Energy has emerged as part of the next generation of productivity enhancements for industrial automation," says Katherine Voss, executive director at ODVA. "We spent the early years at ODVA working on getting networks to make products better, faster, and cheaper. Energy optimization is a new frontier that will not only help companies meet their sustainability objectives, but will result in energy becoming a managed resource in production processes and actually being a line item on production bills of material."

To enable a holistic approach to energy, ODVA has set out to develop a common understanding of energy with the key metric being an awareness of energy information. Energy data will be shared throughout the production domain from assets to systems to processes, between industrial and enterprise systems, and also with the grid.

The initial goal for the ODVA Energy Initiative is to develop energy awareness of objects and services in CIP, making possible the rollout of energy-aware products from ODVA vendors in 2012. Voss believes it may be possible, in some cases, to implement simple awareness functionality in software with limited or no impact to existing product designs, provided adequate memory is available.

To achieve more advanced aggregation or metering functions, there may be additional changes required by device suppliers. A special interest group (SIG) has been working to develop the specification enhancements for energy applications utilizing the CIP, and the project seems on track to include the initial energy awareness objects and attributes in the next edition of its specifications scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011, according to ODVA.

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