Green Manufacturing Expo Showcases Web-Based Energy-Monitoring Sensors, Efficient Control Valves

DN Staff

September 23, 2009

2 Min Read
Green Manufacturing Expo Showcases Web-Based Energy-Monitoring Sensors, Efficient Control Valves

Wireless, Web-based energy monitoring system sensors thatare helping manufacturers cut energy costs are making their debut atengineering shows this year, most recently during this week's GreenManufacturing Expo being held during Design& Manufacturing Midwest in Rosemont, IL.

AgentisEnergy's Acuity Solution monitors energy consumption by tracking kilowatthours in real time and reporting the information back to the company'scustomers via a secure Internet connection. The wireless sensor hooks up to anydevice that uses electricity, according to Agentis CEO Tim Stojka. "It trackskilowatt usage and can see spikes in current," he says. "Its primary use is tounderstand how energy is being consumed and what the cost is by device. We arean energy-efficient company, helping customers to drive energy costs down."

Stojka says he believes the Acuity Solution, whose targetcustomer is currently manufacturers, will eventually make its way into everybusiness and every home. "The only way to manage (energy) is to measure it andfigure 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 tobe 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 apassword access system.

Stojka says he believes that while the idea for the sensorsmay seem simple enough, no one has really come up with the idea until nowbecause, "more people are (now) sensitized to energy cost."

"The wireless technology is driving the technology - it is alot less expensive," he says, "and the hardware investment is low. Ten yearsago, there were similar systems available, they were just a lot moreexpensive."

Also exhibiting at the Green Manufacturing Expo this year isBoschRexroth, whose pneumaticsgroup featured a new compact, lightweight directionalcontrol valve that is used to maximize payload in pick-and-placeapplications.

The valve, which Bosch Application Support Manager ThomasDwyer says also includes a low-power consumption coil and is made ofcorrosion-resistant materials, can now be mounted very close to where work isbeing done, resulting in faster response times and maximizing efficiency bymore than 30 percent.

"A lot of times people protect the valve, putting them inremote locations, to prevent slamming, shock and vibration," Dwyer says. "Thisvalve is designed to be used at the point of use. It eliminates dead volume andwaste. Until the last few years, nobody seemed to care (about valveinefficiency)."

According to Dwyer, the directional control valve is used ingeneral automation and material handling applications.

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