Energy management starts with energy monitoring

Posted by Dan White on May 8, 2024 8:25:33 AM

Start analyzing your energy data to manage and reduce your energy consumption.

Managing and reducing your energy consumption sounds like a no-brainer. Save thousands on electricity, maintain critical machine health, reduce carbon footprint? Sign me up! 

Where to begin? Well, the best place to start is analyzing your energy data, but unfortunately, you can’t find that data on your electric bill—it’s barely a summary. To manage your energy, start by measuring it. Once you determine where, when, and how that energy is consumed, areas for improvement become obvious. 

How Can Energy Monitoring Help Me?

Not-so-stable Pricing

Did you know that in many districts the price of power changes during the day? That’s right. It spikes up during peak hours and drops down during off-peak hours. Don’t blame the utility companies. They are just trying to manage the grid to avoid overload.

But variable energy pricing created an opportunity for Opto 22, a manufacturing company that uses more than 500 kWh daily. Adding a few groov RIO Energy Monitoring Units (EMU) gave the company the data to see easy ways to save tens of thousands of dollars each month.

groov RIO EMU with Current Transformers


Powerful Predictions: Unlocking Machine Health Insights

Energy is used in every industrial process and is normally fairly predictable. But add energy monitoring to a process, or even just a single motor, and new insight emerges. At some point, that motor’s electric current consumption will change. The reason? It could be a bad motor winding, inadequately lubricated bearings, a clogged cooling fan, fluctuating incoming voltage—you name it. 

One thing is certain: a sudden change to the baseline operating current indicates a problem that could cost you time and money. That’s why Industrial OEM Alta Refrigeration includes a groov RIO EMU in every system they build and install at customer cold storage sites. Cataloging energy usage in 10-minute intervals provides insight to help keep refrigeration running at peak performance. As Peter Santoro, controls engineer at ALTA, explains, “Often, we know what the problem is before the customer calls.” (Read ALTA’s case study.)

groov RIO EMU monitoring a pump

Pricing Per Part

Most organizations consider energy costs just part of overhead—ongoing expenses of running a business that aren’t directly tied to a specific product or service. The bill gets paid by accounting, and most production environments never see a detailed breakdown of where their kilowatts are going. That makes it easy to pass blame onto other departments and hide energy inefficiencies. 

But Mercer Technologies, an OEM of heat treatment furnaces, took a new approach. “In our most recent design, we’ve utilized the groov RIO EMU to monitor energy consumption of a particular furnace,” says Cody Young, Mercer’s Controls and Automation Engineer. “With energy monitoring, we can calculate in real time how much it costs to heat treat parts, and we can now accurately assign the cost of energy to the production of a particular component.” (Read Mercer’s case study.)

Environmental, Social, and Governance

Businesses now have to balance profitability with environmental impact. Products and brands that uphold ESG principles tend to experience stronger growth compared to those that don't, and government regulations and incentives for reducing carbon footprint are on the rise.

The State of Indiana recently launched their Energy INsights Program. Sponsored by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the program offers smart manufacturing starter kits to small and medium manufacturers with the goal of reducing energy costs by 5-15%.

Each kit contains all the energy monitoring equipment a company needs to get started—an Opto 22 groov EPIC  processor preloaded and licensed for use with Inductive Automation’s Ignition SCADA and a few groov RIO EMUs equipped with I/O points and current transformers to measure power consumption in real time. 

Plug into Power Awareness

Ready to get started? Watch this IntegrateLive! Webinar to see how easy it is to wire up a groov RIO EMU to a field device, commission it with your web browser, and immediately start monitoring the data flow with the SCADA software of your choice. You may be surprised how quickly you can start reducing energy expense, tracking machine health, allocating costs, and meeting ESG goals.

Topics: Energy management, groov rio emu, energy monitoring

Written by Dan White

Dan has worked at Opto 22 for more than a decade. His Tufts Engineering background, MBA in International Business, and prior industrial controls experience give him a unique edge in automation. Dan enjoys staying active through biking, basketball, skiing – and keeping up with his three young kids!
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