A Look at the Smart Grid's Demand Side
By now, nearly everyone has heard about the Smart Grid. But few think about it as having two sides - a supply side and a demand side. The supply side is operated by utilities, pushing energy to users. The demand side is populated by those users, and Arun Sinha, director of business development for Opto 22, a supplier of factory automation and control solutions, argues that users already have the power to start building intelligence into their energy management platforms, even as they wait for the utility companies to complete the Smart Grid's supply side. In this conversation with Control Engineering, Sinha explains how users can start using Smart Grid principles to save money on energy costs today.
Onboard PAC Helps Pilot to Deepest Ocean
Programmable automation controllers (PACs) have become increasingly relied upon to schedule and execute tasks in industrial machines and networks. Now the Snap PAC from Opto 22 has taken its capabilities further, beyond the plant floor to the sea floor, aboard the Deepsea Challenger.
Temecula Firm Gets Role in James Cameron Project
When movie director James Cameron made his historic dive to the bottom of the world, the life-support, thrusters, lights and other systems on the submarine that kept him safe in the ocean's depths were monitored and controlled by equipment manufactured at Opto 22 in Temecula, CA.
Manufacturing Business Technology
Energy Management: More Financial Issue Than Tech Issue
As manufacturers look to cut costs in the post-Great Recession business climate, the desire to become more energy efficient has become more prevalent among businesses of all sizes and types. Many find themselves investigating the ways in which they can address energy issues and learning about technology designed to help them achieve their energy goals. What are the relevant questions that they should be asking? Where are they falling short in their energy management strategies? Arun Sinha, Director of Business Development for Opto 22, a manufacturer of energy management and remote monitoring products, recently answered those questions and many more in a conversation with Manufacturing Business Technology.
There's an iPhone or Android control app for that
Another controls maker offering iPhone access is Opto 22, Temecula, Calif. Its iPAC app lets users monitor and control Opto 22 Snap I/O points and PAC control variables, tables, and charts from an iPhone or iPad. The iPhone accesses the network either through Wi-Fi or a cellular link. Security in this case comes from the password protection on the local network. Once connected to the control network, the app automatically discovers the Opto 22 devices and provides information about each one, such as its IP address and the control strategy it is currently running.
Grocery retailer monitors and manages energy
US-based grocery retail company Supervalu has installed energy
monitoring hardware and has enrolled in a demand-response
program with Net Peak Energy Group. Net Peak is typically able to provide one to two hours of
advanced notice to initiate the emergency load shed. The dispatch
specialists use custom designed interfaces for real-time monitoring of Superval's energy consumption. Detailed data comes from a
hardware device called an OptoEMU sensor, developed by Opto
Opto's SNAP Gets iPhone App
The smartphone is the new laptop. Mobility is critical for running a plant, and the smartphone is easier to cart around than a laptop. With mobility and ease of use in mind, Opto 22 of Temecula, Calif., has developed an iOS application for the iPhone. The Opto iPAC iOS app offers iPhone, iPod, and iPad access to Opto's SNAP PAC system, an integrated plant programmable automation package comprising control, monitoring, and data acquisition.
Remote Site and Equipment Management Magazine
Leachate Management System Provides Remote, Ethernet-Based Control System for Landfill Operators
Based in Cheshire, England, System Devices UK Ltd. provides automation systems and support to customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company's expertise covers automation and monitoring systems, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and robotics. In recent years, the company has provided control systems to landfill operators that not only meet their immediate needs, but are so flexible, they allow for future expansion without having to change hardware or software later in the system's life cycle. According to System Devices' Darren Weissenborn, these leachate management systems use Opto 22 SNAP PAC programmable automation controllers and I/O as the key components that let landfill operator customers connect to, continuously control and acquire data from pumps, valves and other equipment at outstations, ponds, control centers, and all over their individual sites.
Monitoring System Empowers Energy Efficiency Program
Thomson-RCA installed an AutoPilot Energy Information System, comprising Opto 22 hardware and software and designed by Holmes Energy. Using analog and digital interfaces that connected Opto 22 I/O processors to field equipment via multiple I/O modules, the Autopilot System was able to monitor 108 I/O points. The monitored machinery and equipment included gas and electric meters, as well as chillers, cooling towers, boilers and water heating equipment. The AutoPilot System also monitored the facilityâ€™s compressed air system. This, in turn, enabled tracking of the electrical demand, power consumption, with system pressure, and airflow associated with two 500-hp Centac compressors and one 350-hp Worthington compressor.
Monitor Energy Consumption to Save Energy
Host Randy Frank interviews Opto 22's Director of Business Development Arun Sinha. The two discuss how businesses can monitor their energy consumption to reduce costs and also take a look at the recently announced OptoEMU Sensor.
Data Center Post
Data Center Energy Efficiency: The OptoEMU Sensor
Data centers are large facilities that include a huge assortment of servers and other computer hardware. Keeping this equipment operating and the facility up and running 24/7 is certainly of the utmost importance. But meeting the power requirements to accomplish this can be incredibly expensive. The OptoEMU Sensor can be implemented in these data centers and, after studying their energy data, data center managers will have the information they need to enact procedural and operational changes that lower utility bills.
Monitor to Reduce Energy Consumption
Tracking power consumption in real time allows companies to control energy usage and avoid peak pricing. "One of the main reasons monthly electric bills provide so little help when attempting to reduce power consumption is because that bill arrives days or weeks after the actual consumption has taken place," says Benjamin Orchard, application engineer for Opto 22. "The lack of real-time monitoring causes the customer to miss many of the opportunities for cost savings."
Apps of Steel
Interest in industrial mobility can be credited to the consequence of trendy devices, lower-cost connectivity, and tech-savvy "Millennials" -- also known as Generation Y -- now entering the workforce. Applications (apps) to foster operations and maintenance efficiency abound for both rugged and consumer-grade wireless technologies, but getting the highest return on your mobility investment requires matching the strategy to your particular environment.
Energy monitoring provides data to optimize air compressor efficiency
When Thomson purchased RCA from General Electric, operations continued at RCA facilities, including those in Indianapolis, Indiana. This plant was quite large, with a central boiler plant providing chilled water, compressed air, heat and domestic hot water to several buildings spread over more than 80 acres. Thomson needed a way to identify and track energy use in the various systems and equipment on this campus. To get the needed data, Thomson-RCA installed an AutoPilot Energy Information System, comprising Opto 22 hardware and software and designed by Holmes Energy.
Meat packing plant solves temperature mystery by monitoring energy
With electricity accounting for two-thirds of the Mariah Meat Packing Plant's annual utility costs, it had become clear that the plant needed to reduce its power bill if it wanted to remain
in business. Mariah turned to Holmes Energy, a consultant specializing in facility energy conservation, system operation, control and maintenance.
Industrial Ethernet Book
Ethernet-based control system controls environmental runoff
Integrator Systems Devices developed an Ethernet-based automation system for landfill operators in the United Kingdom to treat leachate and ensure that none is discharged outside of the established discharge parameters. By interfacing to landfill equipment and instrumentation, the system is also responsible for monitoring levels in remote wells, removing methane and ammonia, regulating pH levels, alarm reporting, and historical data collection of all treatment activities.
Technology Deployed: Overcoming Concerns about Wireless PACs and I/O in Industrial Automation
Historically, wireless network security has been notoriously easy to hack or otherwise compromise. Just stand outside an apartment building with a laptop and see how many wireless networks you can access with no password at all. But while personal wireless networks often remain insecure, security standards for business, industrial and government use have been developed over the last several years and adopted by most organizations.
Mogale Gold: Control System Created for Mine Tailings Reprocessing
Opto Controls (Pty) Ltd was contracted by Mintails to assemble and configure an automation system for Mintails' Mogale Sands Plant ("Mogale Gold"). The system connects to, monitors, controls, and acquires data from a large assortment of field devices, equipment, and instrumentation and also manages the many mechanical and chemical processes used to remove the gold from the tailings.
Programmable Automation Controllers: Finding common ground and determining where there are differences
The PAC is a multi-discipline, integrated control and communications platform programmed with flexible, general purpose, and straightforward programming techniques, making PAC programming easier to learn and understand.
Energy Efficiency & Technology
Cutting-edge Cooler Hits 90% Efficiency with Help from Networked Controls
The AZFlow water distribution system uses an embedded SNAP control system from Opto 22 as its central component. The system gathers sensor data such as surrounding air temperature and humidity, then sends this data to the SNAP processor via analog I/O modules residing on a SNAP rack. The system uses a proprietary algorithm executed by a Linux-based controller to correlate the instantaneous water evaporation and water application rates so the proper volume of water is delivered across the media.
I/O Module Replacement Advice: Plan Ahead on Instrumentation, Space, Design
Proper planning is where everything begins. Too often, I/O upgrade projects are reactionary. Perhaps there are new and specific production problems, or maybe the control system is very old and, due to attrition, there's no one left who understands it; or maybe the person or persons who designed the control programs have left the company, modifications need to made, and now there's no one left who understands how to make the necessary software changes. Smooth I/O upgrades almost always require a huge commitment in terms of proper planning, which should take into account things like interdepartmental collaboration, costs, time, personnel, and of course, wiring.
Inside Process: Instrumentation Challenges of Walnut Processing
Woodside Electronics Corporation http://www.wecotek.com/ provided walnut grower Fedora Farms with burners and control fans for their walnut dryers, along with appropriate sensors and a system controller. The instrumentation included portable moisture meters to work a custom set of radio frequency circuit boards designed by WECO that monitor the dielectric constant of the nuts in order to determine their moisture content. This method involves passing low-frequency radio signals or electrical currents through the walnuts. Correlations are established between the conductivity of the product and the amount of moisture it contains. So when the walnuts' conductivity reaches a predetermined value, they're considered sufficiently dried. Fedora Farms' automation system uses the moisture information to open and close the air door under every bin at just the right time. Fans and burners are shut down as soon as the nuts in the bins are dry. This makes processing faster, increases profit, and also saves energy.
Virtual Power Plant Implements Opto 22 SNAP PAC System for Hydrogen Production
For large enterprises like power plants and water treatment facilities, it is common for myriad disparate control systems to be in operation. In most cases, the control equipment--sourced from different vendors, each with its own area of expertise--is often composed of a programmable logic controller capable of operating a particular piece of equipment, but with little additional functionality. The operator interface to these controllers is typically some form of a local display panel with some or no connectivity to the rest of the enterprise. To address Sotavento's multiple control system issues, Gas Natural contracted systems integrator Optomation Systems to design an integrated supervisory system for the Sotavento site. The system is based on the Opto 22 Snap PAC System platform.
Control Engineering Asia
Optimistic for '11
Bob Sheffres, Vice President, Opto 22: "Some of our largest successes were the result of new and existing customers in China vigorously consuming our new hardware and software offerings that were specifically designed to meet requests and requirements for controller redundancy. For 2011, we are anticipating similar success. We have new real-time energy monitoring products that can be applied across virtually any industry, which we are certain will be very well received."
5 Tips to Launch Your Energy Monitoring Project
The premise is simple -- to reduce energy costs, manage energy consumption. However, managing consumption requires that you monitor and understand your energy usage. Here are five tips that will help you get started:
1. Get buy-in from the top.
It's easy to switch to fluorescent light bulbs or raise the temperature on the A/C, but real energy management is going to require support from the top. How do you sell energy monitoring at the highest levels of your organization? Presently, few organizations are set up to account for their energy usage. Power bills typically go straight to personnel in accounts payable, who don't ask questions but simply cut checks. Even if managers look at a power bill, the bill shows no detail on when or where energy was used.
Control System Powers New Marine Vehicles
When he designed a 20-ft prototype unmanned ocean vehicle, Payne Kilbourne used Opto 22 SNAP PAC input/output modules and programmable automation controllers. The system can handle the large quantity and variety of inputs and outputs needed for power and navigation, as well as sensing, monitoring, and gathering data. Thus, the SNAP PAC serves as a central controller that uses both serial and Ethernet communication to connect and regulate a multi-vendor team of micro controllers and marine instrumentation, each with its own area of responsibility, including wing (sail) control, steering, and power management.
What's New in Ethernet
The latest news and trends for Ethernet center around: switches that can handle application in harsh environments, security, wireless, as well as the introduction of new Ethernet compatible versions of standard networks, some of which operate without an Ethernet switch.
Tips on Designing an Energy Monitoring System
Machine designers, integrators, and many others require systems to help them monitor and gather the power consumption data that will ultimately help them slash their energy bills. To assist in this endeavor, Opto 22 offers several design tips.
How to Choose a Controller
A dozen application-specific lists and more detailed information help sort through controller choices.
Energy Management Strategy, Roadmap Needed?
A lot has been written about energy management and how manufacturers can turn fixed energy costs into a variable cost and improve efficiency at plants, factories or commercial buildings. At a recent energy management software conference in Chicago, Arun Sinha, Dir. of Business Development, Opto 22, discussed how to gain insight on the energy management culture and technology trends.
Get Paid to Cut Power Consumption
The ability to measure and model energy consumption has benefits that go beyond allocating energy costs to products and processes. It also allows companies to participate in the demand-response programs being offered by many utilities. In these programs, utilities pay businesses to reduce their energy consumption during times of peak demand.
Energy Saving Opportunities
At Supervalu, the OptoEMU Sensor monitors both pulse-emitting devices (such as utility meters and sub-meters) and the voltage and current of several load panels, chillers, and refrigeration units. Explains AEC's Nathan Bartlett, "We were brought in to design and build a system that provided better sequencing of [SUPERVALU's] refrigeration system and broader, more comprehensive and more powerful demand-response automation in general." To achieve precise levels of control and automation, AEC installed additional Opto 22 components. The company's SNAP PAC System utilizes integrated circuit temperature detector (ICTD) sensors to monitor temperatures, and analog and digital output signals to expertly manage compressors, control solenoids on evaporators and switch relays. Bartlett says that the system can provide interfaces to any piece of industrial-grade equipment. In this case, the system handles about 1,500 inputs and 500 outputs, enabling full demand-response automation of Supervalu's industrial refrigeration, ventilation, and soon, even the HVAC and lighting systems.
Sourcing Tomorrow's Automation Innovations
Says Opto 22 CEO Mark Engman about the next wave of innovation for manufacturing, "It's all about mobility. Everyone in today's developed world has become accustomed to having the ability to communicate, get information and exchange data from wherever they are. This is simply the way people are now working, playing and interacting with others, both personally and professionally. This expectation will soon extend into the world of manufacturing and automation. Automation professionals, for example, will want to access real-time plant data on the go, so they can monitor processes, energy usage and machine
Graphics Lighten the Programming Load
Article quotes Ben Orchard and discusses PAC Project and Opto customer Malisko Engineering.
Low Cost PAC Redundancy
"In China, you can't even bid on a project unless you can check the box that you have redundancy," says Benson Hougland, Opto 22 Vice President, Marketing. "It was out of that need that one of the company's newest products was born. The Opto 22 Snap PAC Redundancy Option Kit (Snap-PAC-ROK), unveiled on March 29, can be used to design an Ethernet-based redundant control system with maximum reliability and distributed intelligence that can instantly recover from failure."
Machine Control Integration Produces Savings
Plants are relying on new generations of more fully integrated control technology to run smaller, faster and more efficient machines.
Faster, Cheaper, Smaller Stimulates Better Data Acquisition
The industry appears to be signaling a need for better energy monitoring, observes Arun Sinha, Opto 22's Director of Business Development. What's behind that, he says, is the growing energy awareness in industry and among consumers. But because this awareness crosses into commercial sectors, "we think there's a growing need for a traditional DAQ provider to provide something for energy needs." And because there may be non-automation end-users in commercial businesses, DAQ devices must be "friendly" to those people "who don't know how to program a PLC (programmable logic controller)."
Industrial Embedded Systems
Pay the Toll Machine
PayWerks embedded Opto 22 programmable automation controllers as a key component in its Advanced Toll Payment Machines. These controllers provide the intelligence that enables the ATPM to know the amount of the customer's toll and gives them the ability to pay it. The controller connects to infrared lane sensors that identify the class of vehicle - single-, double-, or multi-axle. The sensors then communicate with the controller, transmitting the data via a standard serial connection to input modules that work with the PAC.
Simplify Signal Processing - Signal Conditioners and Input Modules Cut Control System Costs by Offloading Tasks From Processors
"One of our customers is using our SNAP load cell module in an application that involves weighing grain on a large platform-type scale," says Ben Orchard, application engineer at Opto 22. The customer needed to obtain a more accurate measurement that would compensate for the oscillation and interference caused by workers treading on the scale, and by scale movement and vibration as loads were being brought on and off. "When they configured the load cell module with our PAC Manager configuration software, our customer used the analog filtering functionality to condition the raw load cell signal."
Digital Speed Breathes Life Into Analog I/O
"The little slices between adjacent values are so narrow and fast that today's digital I/O signals are becoming indistinguishable from a true analog I/O signal," explains Tom Edwards, senior technical advisor at Opto 22. "In our case, we have 16-bit resolution A/D converting that divides a 16 mA signal into 64,000 parts, so the original and digital signals look the same. Other developers can use far higher resolution for applications that need more precision."
Is Redundancy Necessary or Superfluous?
"With concerns for improving overall product reliability, PAC and PLC systems used for machine control are often required to feature redundancy," says Surge Yu at Opto 22. He cites companies such as Con-Weigh and Boeing as requiring redundancy in their machine's control systems and notes that often the value of what's being produced might be the impetus for redundancy.
Serious Sustainability: There's a Lot More to Truly Going Green Than Efficiency. Here's How Some Experienced End Users and Their Applications Are Mastering Process Sustainability
Since Jeff Lebesch began making his Fat Tire Amber Ale in 1991, his New Belgium Brewing Co. (www.newbelgium.com) has grown to occupy a 50-acre campus in Fort Collins, Colo., with multiple brewing processes, water processing systems and building and facility management systems, which are monitored and controlled by more than 10,000 digital and analog I/O points that are organized into eight control zones. Seven of these zones, including the brewhouse, filtering, malting, yeasting, cellaring and other complicated brewing processes, are controlled by Opto 22's SNAP programmable automation controllers (PACs), which monitor and regulate oven temperatures for drying and roasting the grains, machines that crush and mash them, and water and resting brew mixture temperatures. To help power all its brewing and support operations, New Belgium has used a series of wind turbines for more than 10 years.
Wireless Field Devices Are Shipping, but Adoption Questions Remain
"The importance of WiFi, VoIP and other backbone technologies is huge because Wi-Fi is 'wireless Ethernet,' a well-established, widely deployed and proven networking standard. WiMax is essentially high-powered Wi-Fi, and VoIP is, as the name implies, Internet Protocol (IP)-based. Thus, any industrial application that uses Ethernet, wired or wireless, as the physical medium, and IP to effectively broker all the requests between the application layer and the physical layer has a far greater ability to integrate into existing applications and play nice with all the other industrial technologies and networks that are out there."
Industrial Automation Asia
PACs & I/O Go Wireless
The automation industry increasingly finds wireless attractive, and for several reasons. Running a wired network incurs significant labour and material costs, while wireless networks cost far less. Wireless offers connectivity for remote areas or areas not currently served by wired networks.Wireless controllers and I/O can manage devices and processes even in inaccessible areas, or areas where network wiring is difficult or impossible to install. And wireless can offer a way to provide proof-of-concept for a new project before incurring the expense of a wired network.
Opto 22 Advertisements
September 2012 - present
Download full page "Choices" ad PDF
You choose where to do control.
With SoftPAC, you can take advantage of a PC's extensive memory, file space, and speed for your control application. Software-based PAC or hardware PACs? The choice is yours.
Hand in Hand
February 2012 - present
Download full page "Hand in Hand" ad PDF
Mobile meets automation. Have instant access to your PACs and I/O in the palm of your hand. Ideal for commissioning, debugging, and mobile connectivity.
Available on both iOS and Android platforms.
Energy Monitoring Made Simple
Download full page "Energy Monitoring Made Simple" ad PDF
December 2011 - present
Introducing the OptoEMU Sensors.
Collect energy usage data from your building, electrical subpanels and equipment. Then deliver real-time data to business, facility and production systems to help reduce energy costs and increase revenue through demand response programs.
You"ll Never Get This Email From Us
September 2011 - December 2011
Download full page "You'll Never Get This Email" ad PDF
Opto 22 engineers support you for free. Even the phone call is free, and a real person answers the phone. You talk with an experienced Product Support engineer from our California office.
After-hours help is free on our website too. You'll find OptoKnowledgeBase articles, videos, user's guides, self-training guides, and OptoForums.
Not only free, but great support. See what our customers are saying about us.
Not Your Ordinary Public Works Department
June 2011 - November 2011
Download full page "Waterford" ad PDF
Outside, another well-kept barn. Inside, one of Waterford Township's model water treatment plants.
Engineers and administrators come from all over the country to see Waterford's integrated remote monitoring, SCADA, and GIS systems.
And now Waterford Township is tackling energy costs. We're glad we could help.
Three Cheers for New Belgium Brewing
November 2010 - November 2011
Download full page "Three Cheers" ad PDF
Three cheers for New Belgium Brewing, Food Engineering's Sustainable Plant of the Year for 2010.
Wind-powered brewery, their own water treatment facility that co-generates energy from methane gas, and much more.
New Belgium's commitment to great beer—and a better future—is clear. We're glad we could help.
April 2010 - October 2010
Download full page "Questions" ad PDF
Will wireless work in my application?
How does redundancy work?
Do I need channel-to-channel isolation?
What are my I/O options with Allen-Bradley?
Is Ethernet reliable for automation?
How do I track energy?
We've got answers. Call us.
Wired or Wireless?
May 2009 - March 2010
Download Half Page spread "Wired+Wireless" Ad PDF
Opto 22 offers wired plus wireless networking on its SNAP PAC Controllers and I/O Systems. Why choose? Get both.
You Complete Me.
October 2008 - June 2009
"You Complete Me" half-page spread PDF
"You Complete Me" 4-page insert PDF
Intelligent Remote I/O for Allen-Bradley Logix-based systems.
Not just a bus-coupler and not another PLC, SNAP I/O from Opto 22 is an intelligent, remote input/output system that gives you the advanced process control features you've always longed for.
"Jam PAC'd" 4-page insert PDF
January 2008 - September 2008
Now including EtherNet/IP. The SNAP PAC System, only from Opto 22.
Nobody makes better I/O than Opto. And nobody has more experience making versatile programmable automation controllers.
All of this and ODVA's EtherNet/IP protocol too. Now that's Jam PAC'd.
"Sweet Suite" 4 page insert PDF
The PAC Project Suite from Opto 22: control programming and HMI software, included with every SNAP PAC.
PAC Project isn't the new kid on the block. We've been developing flowchart-based control software integrated with our programmable automation controllers since 1991.
Today's PAC Project Suite is a result of that continuous engineering effort, field-proven by thousands of installations worldwide.