All industrial manufacturers are under great pressure to improve the energy efficiency of their machines, manufacturing processes, and site infrastructure. Fortunately, many techniques are available to help them reduce their energy consumption. These range from upgrading or installing more efficient machines and systems to using Industry 4.0 digital technologies to monitor processes and equipment, and provide insights into where improvements can be made.

Although ever-increasing energy prices are an obvious reason for reducing consumption, there are other important reasons too. Reputable manufacturing companies of any size and in any industry recognise that they inevitably tend towards large carbon footprints, and will do what they can to minimise their adverse effect on the environment. And, irrespective of a company’s enthusiasm for going green, they must comply with Government initiatives and legislation such as the UK’s net zero Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy.

This strategy covers the full range of UK industry sectors: metals and minerals, chemicals, food and drink, paper and pulp, ceramics, glass, oil refineries and less energy intensive manufacturing. These businesses account for around one sixth of UK emissions, and transformation of their manufacturing processes is key to meeting the UK’s emissions targets over the coming decades.

Another compelling reason for manufacturers to go green arises from their stakeholders’ expectations. Customers, for example, increasingly base their purchasing decisions on a supplier’s green credentials alongside the conventional considerations of price, quality, delivery and service. Employees also want to work for an organisation that cares about the environment, with solid reduction policies rather than just ‘greenwashing’ with policies that lack real substance.

Making manufacturing industry more efficient requires sustained effort from both governments and manufacturing companies – yet as Fig. 1 shows, it is well worthwhile, as industry accounts for a significant amount of energy demand in countries around the world.

Industry’s contribution to the energy demand of countries around the world
Figure 1: Industry’s contribution to the energy demand of countries around the world

Practical solutions

Although the threat – and reality – of global warming have led to daunting challenges related to reducing energy consumption, technology has given us tools like Industry 4.0 to help come up with sophisticated and effective energy solutions. Very broadly, these can be divided into a three level hierarchy.

At the base, right on the factory floor, we have process equipment such as electric motors and drives, which can be energy-optimised at a local level. We also have an ever-increasing choice of clever yet low cost sensors that can provide realtime data across the entire manufacturing estate – from the shop floor to the offices.

At the second level we have industrial computing, typically implemented as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which can monitor and control large volumes of manufacturing equipment and realtime sensors, extract useful information, and implement control strategies across multiple machines.

Sensors, machines, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) can then all connect into a top-level, enterprise-wide energy management system, providing optimisation, monitoring and control strategies for an entire site – or possibly multiple sites.

Below, we start with a brief discussion on Industry 4.0 as the context for modern industrial energy management hierarchies. We then illustrate this hierarchy with examples – electric motors, variable frequency drives, motion sensors and occupancy detectors at the lowest level, programmable logic controllers for the next up, and then energy management systems for the highest level.

We finish with some examples of further energy-saving opportunities.

Summary of topics covered:
  • The contribution of Industry 4.0
  • Energy-efficient motors and drives
      - Regulations
      - Motor starters
      - Variable frequency drives
      - Extra focus on variable frequency drives
  • Motion sensors and occupancy detectors
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
  • Energy monitoring systems
  • Further energy-saving examples
      - Power efficient relays
      - Energy efficient power supplies – Smart/intelligent power supplies
      - LED Lighting Solutions + Energy efficient LED safety lights
  • Industry 4.0

    Whatever systems and equipment a company installs, they need to use digital technologies to gain a competitive edge in optimising their plant’s overall productivity and energy efficiency. Today, these come under the umbrella of Industry 4.0; the term used to describe the integration of digital technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and big data analytics into industrial processes and systems.

    Industry 4.0 can improve energy efficiency by enabling real-time monitoring and optimisation of energy consumption, predictive maintenance of equipment and machinery, smart integration of renewable energy sources and storage, and demand response to balance supply and demand.

    According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency is essential for achieving net zero emissions in the energy sector by 2050. The IEA estimates that energy efficiency can deliver 40% of the emissions reductions needed to reach this goal. Industry 4.0 can help accelerate the deployment and adoption of energy efficiency solutions across various sectors and regions.

    Energy-efficient electric motors and drives

    Electric motors account for 70% of the total industrial electrical energy demand and 38% in commercial buildings. And the trend is rising, because the demand for drive systems with electric motors will continue to grow significantly as living standards continue to rise .

    Simultaneously, these figures already open an opportunity for enormous savings potential for the humble drive train through efficient and intelligent system solutions. For example, recent studies assume that energy costs can be saved by up to 30% on average, both for new purchases and for the operation of electric drives. According to the target definition of the new Ecodesign Directive, which became mandatory for new products in Europe on July 1, 2021, this means around 40 million tons of CO2 reduction by 2030 for the EU alone. If this is extrapolated to a global savings potential, it is easy to see why the energy-efficient use of electric drive technology will play an important role in achieving the Paris climate targets.

    One reason why electric drives have such an energy impact is because they are so ubiquitous; they are found in pumps, fans, compressors, air-conditioning systems, cranes, elevators, and conveyor belts – there is virtually no industrial sector today that does not rely significantly on the use of electric motors.

    And, as during an average 15 years of operation, an electric motor costs around 20 times more to run than it does to buy, investing into optimising their efficiency makes great commercial sense as well reducing carbon footprint.

    Standards and regulations

    To make it easier to select energy-efficient drive components, classifications for their efficiency were introduced in 2008. For motors for operation on the public grid, they are defined in the international standard IEC 60034-30-1, together with the legal requirements for energy efficiency. The efficiencies or efficiency classes at 50 Hz and 60 Hz are defined for single-phase and three phase motors (with exceptions). A distinction is made between four efficiency classes (IE = International Efficiency):

    • IE1: Standard Efficiency
    • IE2: High Efficiency
    • IE3: Premium Efficiency
    • IE4: Super Premium Efficiency

    A fifth efficiency class, IE5, has not yet been defined in detail, but is to be included in the next edition of the standard.

    Efficiency curves for asynchronous motors according to IE classification
    Figure 2: Efficiency curves for asynchronous motors according to IE classification

    Maximising the energy saving potential of electric drives

    There are two key methods for optimally exploiting the energy-saving potential in electrical drive technology: either by motor starters with which the motors are operated at fixed speed after starting or by speed starters and frequency drives which allow variable speed.

    In most applications, electrical motors operate at a fixed speed. In these cases, the motors regulate their own power consumption. This enables them to operate across a very wide load range with maximum efficiency. Motor starters are the most efficient solution for controlling motors in applications where the speed is fixed, and the loads are variable. Motor starters also include contactors, soft starters, and circuit breakers.

    Above a load level of around 60%, the use of a motor starter means that considerably less energy is consumed by the drive system than if the motor is switched or controlled by a frequency drive.

    Fig.3 summarises the options available for motor starters and frequency drives.

    Motor start variations
    Figure 3: Motor start variations

    Direct starter: Direct motor starting is the simplest and most cost-effective way to start three-phase asynchronous motors. The stator windings are connected directly to the electrical network in a single switching operation. Direct starting is best suited for drives on strong networks, which allow high starting currents (torques).

    Star-delta starter: With star-delta starting, the three-phase asynchronous motor is started by switching over the windings. The bridges in the terminal box of the motor are omitted and all six winding connections are connected to mains voltage with the so-called star-delta circuit (manually operated switch or automatic contactor circuit).

    Due to the reduced starting torque, the star-delta connection is suitable for drives with low load torque (ML) or load torque that only increases with speed, such as pumps and fans (ventilators). It is also used where the drive is only loaded after start-up, for example in presses and centrifuges.

    Soft starter: Soft starters enable a continuous and shock-free increase in torque and offer the possibility of targeted starting current reduction. For this purpose, the motor voltage is increased from a selected starting voltage to the rated motor voltage within an adjustable starting time. Whether users want to avoid pressure surges in pump systems, reduce starting currents with large flywheel masses or want to ensure smooth start-up in their conveyor system, soft starters offer a gentle alternative for smooth and gentle starting of the motor for many applications. In terms of energy, the soft starter is almost comparable to a star-delta combination, because here too the devices switch on a bypass after the start and thus the thyristor losses (are minimised?).

    Speed starters and frequency drives: Increasing the efficiency of a system is always a combination of improving the energy efficiency of individual components and a cross-product view of the overall system.

    Speed starters are a new category of devices for controlling asynchronous motors, which are functionally located between the motor starters and the frequency drives commonly used today, and which combine the advantages of the two existing categories (simple handling like a motor starter, variable speed like a frequency drive). They are used for simple applications in which a variable speed is required, and the functional range of conventional frequency inverters is not necessary or even too complex.

    For many decades, mechanical methods for controlling the flow of liquids and gases were the only way to adjust the flow rate to the requirements of the process. The motor runs practically continuously at the rated speed ("nominal speed") required for the maximum flow rate. The valves and throttles used for mechanical control are sources of conversion losses, usually in the form of heat. Today, the speed of the drive can be controlled directly so that the flow rate of a liquid or gas can be adjusted to the current demand. Despite their own heat loss, speed starters and frequency inverters thus usually improve the average efficiency of drive systems over the entire operating range.

    Which approach is best?

    Which of the three motor starter variants is most suitable for a specific application can only be clearly determined after a thorough analysis of the system parameters (e.g., project specifications, load profile, physical dimensions), functional requirements (power supply, network capacity, investment costs) and operating conditions (system productivity, process quality, operating costs).

    Especially for fixed-speed applications, motor starters are not only the cheaper but also the more efficient solution compared to frequency inverters, regardless of the IE class of the motor (IE2/ IE3/IE4). It is therefore always necessary to consider all system relevant factors in order to select the best automation solution

    Variable frequency drives (VFDs)

    Above, we have discussed the relative merits of the various drive technologies available. Nevertheless, Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) - sometimes called Frequency Drives, Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) or AC drives – remain as a popular approach to improving electrical motor efficiency. Accordingly, we give a summary of their operation below.

    The VFD is fitted between the mains and electricity supply and the motor. This processes the AC power through four stages on its journey from the mains supply to the motor .

    1. Convert incoming AC power to DC: Incoming three-phase AC power is fed into a rectifier that converts it into DC power (Fig.4) AC to DC conversio
      Figure 4: AC to DC conversion
    2. Smooth the DC wave: DC power is fed into capacitors, smoothing the wave and producing a clean DC supply. (Fig.5) Smoothing the DC wave
      Figure 5: Smoothing the DC wave
    3. Convert the DC to variable AC: The variable speed drive calculates the motor’s required voltage and current. DC power is then fed into an inverter producing AC power at the precise voltage and current needed. (Fig.6) Converting DC to variable AC
      Figure 6: Converting DC to variable AC
    4. Calculate and repeat: The variable speed drive continuously calculates and adjusts the frequency and voltage providing only the power (speed and torque) the motor needs. This allows large amounts of energy to be saved.

    Torque control and speed control: When the variable speed drive operates in torque control mode, the speed is determined by the load. Likewise, when operated in speed control, the torque is determined by the load.

    Direct Torque Control - an improved VSD technique developed by ABB : Variable-speed drives (VSDs) have enabled unprecedented performance in electric motors and delivered dramatic energy savings by matching motor speed and torque to the driven load requirements. Most VSDs in the market rely on a modulator stage that conditions voltage and frequency inputs to the motor, but causes inherent time delay in processing control signals. In contrast, premium ABB drives employ innovative direct torque control (DTC)—greatly increasing motor torque response. DTC technology also provides other benefits ranging up to system-level features.

    As the name suggests, DTC controls motor flux and torque directly, instead of trying to control motor currents indirectly like AC vector drives and DC drives. This means better accuracy in matching the driven system’s load requirements. Originated by one of the founding companies of ABB and patented in the mid-1980s, DTC eliminates the need for an extra modulator stage thus achieving control dynamics close to the theoretical maximum.

    When ABB introduced its first direct torque control AC drive to the market in 1995, DTC was already a leading technology. Subsequent improvements in processor computational power, application programming, and communication interfaces have continually enabled higher DTC performance, providing premium motor control for a broad range of applications.

    ABB’s DTC variable speed drive
    Figure 7: ABB’s DTC variable speed drive

    Energy saving through speed control

    Variable speed starters and variable frequency drives seem, at first glance, to be the most expensive solutions for the variable speed control of asynchronous motors. They involve higher acquisition costs in comparison to motor starters and they also require additional installation procedures. Soft starting motors, however, offer economic benefits because of their energy efficiency and process optimization during operation, at the latest – as Fig. 8 shows.

    figure 8
    Fig.8: The upper curve shows the energy consumption when using a throttle device and in the lower curve the energy consumption when using a frequency drive. Due to the variable speed, flow and energy consumption in the system are lower. The energy saved is represented by the green shaded area.

    Using data for motor energy optimisation

    Data are essential for every modern process. In motor applications the focus is usually on energy consumption and optimisation, from multi protective circuit breakers to variable frequency drives. For example, Eaton products collect a wide range of data, which is transmitted via bus systems.

    Process data from smart devices and central control systems are transmitted via NubisNet gateways and they can then be stored and processed on different servers and IT infrastructures.

    Motion detectors and occupancy sensors

    Motion detectors are electrical devices that utilise a sensor to detect nearby motion. Such devices are often integrated as components of a system that automatically performs a task or alerts a user of motion in an area. They are vital components of security, automated lighting control, home control, energy efficiency, and other useful systems .

    An active electronic motion detector contains an optical, microwave, or acoustic sensor, as well as a transmitter. However, a passive detector contains just a sensor and only senses a signature from the moving object via emission or reflection. Changes in the optical, microwave or acoustic field in the device's proximity are interpreted by the electonics based on one of several technologies.

    Most low-cost motion detectors can detect motion at distances of about 15 feet (4.6 m). Specialised systems are more expensive but have either increased sensitivity or much longer ranges. Tomographic motion detection systems can cover much larger areas because the radio waves they sense are at frequencies which penetrate most walls and obstructions, and are detected in multiple locations.

    Motion detectors have found wide use in commercial environments. One common application is activating automatic door openers in businesses and public buildings. Motion sensors are also widely used in lieu of a true occupancy sensor in activating street lights or indoor lights in walkways, such as lobbies and staircases. In such smart lighting systems, energy is conserved by only powering the ights for the duration of a timer, after which the person has presumably left the area. A motion detector may also trigger a security camera to record a possible intrusion.

    Steinel passive infrared motion detector
    Figure 9: Steinel passive infrared motion detector

    An occupancy sensor is an electronic device that detects motion and recognises when a person has entered a room. There are various occupancy sensing technologies, but the most common are passive infrared, microwave, ultrasonic, and video image processing.

    Typically ceiling mounted, the sensors are usually connected to a building's Internet of Things (IoT) network and feed data back to building management systems and booking systems that can automate systems for lighting, HVAC, and ventilation control whilst providing data for occupancy analytics systems to understand desk usage, meeting room efficiency and space utilisation.

    An occupancy sensor typically works by detecting motion and changes in its environment; each sensing technology does this in a different way. For example:

    • Sensors that use basic passive infrared (PIR) technology detect movement and changes in their field of view. These sensors are simple, providing basic occupied or unoccupied data. A common example of a PIR sensor is a desk sensor that is typically placed on the underside of a desk and is used to detect and report desk occupancy.
    • Ultrasonic sensors emit high-frequency sound waves outside of the human hearing range and use the doppler effect of returning sound waves to detect people.
    • Time of flight infrared sensors use a similar principle as ultrasonic sensors; however, instead of sound, they use infrared light. By emitting invisible infrared light, AI onboard these sensors learns their surroundings and detects changes when people pass by. These are advanced occupancy sensors that count people and can provide accurate data for occupancy levels and space utilisation.
    • Camera-based occupancy sensors have a camera onboard for image processing. Typically, the camera is activated to record when motion is detected. Naturally, this type of equipment may trigger security and privacy concerns for occupants.

    Advanced type sensors are usually installed in strategic locations to pick up motion in high-traffic or isolated areas. Designed to be discreet, they are typically ceiling-mounted devices that detect individuals and groups entering or exiting a zone – building, floor, room, etc.

    The data collected is then transmitted to a cloud-based platform where AI algorithms can calculate real-time occupancy levels and space utilisation. From here, reliable data can be integrated with other systems, such as lighting, HVAC, or booking systems when predetermined levels are reached.

     Irisys infrared time of flight occupancy monitoring system
    Figure 10: Irisys infrared time of flight occupancy monitoring system

    Programmable logic controllers (PLCs)

    The previous sections on energy efficient motors and VFDs provide good examples of how individual items of process equipment can be energy optimised. Now we move up a level to look at programmable logic controllers, and how they can interact with multiple plant and office items.

    Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) can improve manufacturing energy efficiency in several ways:

    1. Precise Control: PLCs provide precise control over manufacturing processes, allowing for optimized energy usage. They can monitor and adjust parameters such as temperature, pressure, flow rate, and speed to ensure that machines operate within the optimal energy consumption range.
    2. Demand-Based Operation: PLCs enable demand-based operation by integrating with sensors and feedback mechanisms. They can monitor real-time production requirements, adjust machine operation accordingly, and minimise energy consumption during periods of low demand. This eliminates unnecessary energy usage during idle or standby periods.
    3. Energy Monitoring and Analysis: PLCs can collect data on energy consumption from various machines and processes. By analysing this data, manufacturers can identify energy-intensive areas, detect inefficiencies, and implement energy-saving measures. PLCs can also provide real-time energy usage information to operators, enabling them to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions to optimize energy efficiency.
    4. Power Management: PLCs can control power distribution and manage equipment power cycles effectively. They can coordinate the startup and shutdown sequences of machines, ensuring that energy-intensive devices are activated only when needed. PLCs can also implement power-saving strategies like load shedding, where non-essential equipment or processes are temporarily turned off during peak energy demand periods.
    5. Process Optimisation: PLCs enable manufacturers to optimize production processes for energy efficiency. By analysing data and implementing advanced algorithms, PLCs can identify process bottlenecks, eliminate waste, and optimize machine sequencing and coordination. These improvements result in reduced energy consumption and increased productivity.
    6. Energy-Efficient Algorithms: PLCs can implement energy-efficient algorithms and control strategies. For example, they can use predictive modeling to anticipate energy requirements, optimise machine operation based on historical data, and adjust setpoints and control parameters dynamically to minimise energy usage while maintaining productivity.
    7. Integration with Energy Management Systems: PLCs can integrate with broader Energy Management Systems (EMS) to provide comprehensive control and optimisation of energy usage across the entire manufacturing facility. By exchanging data with EMS, PLCs can receive energy consumption targets and adjust operations accordingly. This integration enables centralised monitoring, analysis, and control of energy efficiency measures.

    By implementing these strategies, PLCs play a crucial role in improving manufacturing energy efficiency, reducing energy costs, and promoting sustainable practices in the industrial sector, even when they are used in standalone mode.

    Siemens offers a good example of how PLCs can contribute to an energy management strategy: their SIMATIC 7 PLCs are used for energy management in various ways. For instance, SIMATIC Energy Manager PRO can obtain energy data and more from the SIMATIC Energy Suite, SIMATIC WinCC, SIMATIC PCS 7, SIMATIC PLCs, and directly from measuring devices. Siemens SIMATIC Energy Management is a comprehensive, scalable ISO 50001-certified portfolio of products and solutions ranging from energy data recording to energy analysis.

    Simatic S7-1200 PLC CPU
    Figure 11: Simatic S7-1200 PLC CPU

    The Siemens S7 Energy Efficiency Monitor provides another example; it is a software tool that analyses energy consumption data collected from Siemens S7 PLCs and provide insights into energy usage patterns and optimisation opportunities. Key aspects of its operation include:

    Data acquisition: Siemens S7 PLCs, which are widely used in industrial automation, collect real-time data on energy consumption from connected sensors and meters. This data includes parameters such as electricity usage, voltage, current, and other relevant energy-related information.

    Data transmission: The energy consumption data collected by Siemens S7 PLCs is transmitted to the Siemens S7 Energy Efficiency Monitor software for analysis. The data is typically transferred via industrial communication protocols such as Profibus, Profinet, or Ethernet.

    Data analysis and visualisation: The Siemens S7 Energy Efficiency Monitor software processes and analyses the energy consumption data received from the PLCs. It applies algorithms and calculations to identify energy usage patterns, consumption trends, and inefficiencies. The software then generates visualisations, reports, and dashboards to present the analysed data in a user-friendly format.

    Energy optimisation recommendations: Based on the analysis performed by the Energy Efficiency Monitor software, it provides recommendations for energy optimisation and efficiency improvements. These recommendations may include adjusting equipment settings, optimising control strategies, identifying maintenance needs, or implementing energy-saving measures.

    Monitoring and reporting: The Siemens S7 Energy Efficiency Monitor continuously monitors energy consumption and tracks the effectiveness of implemented energy optimisation measures. It generates reports that provide insights into energy performance, savings achieved, and areas for further improvement. These reports can be utilised by energy managers and facility operators for decision-making and ongoing energy management efforts.

    Siemens energy management hierarchy

    We have been referring to a multilevel energy management hierarchy, from plant equipment and sensors, through industrial computing and PLCs, to enterprise-wide energy management systems. Fig 12 shows Siemens’ interpretation of this model, as used by their energy management hardware, software, and systems .

    Siemens product offering for energy management, showing energy management hierarchy
    Figure 12: Siemens product offering for energy management, showing energy management hierarchy

    Energy data management systems

    A well-designed energy data management system is an energy monitoring system with added value. It allows users to easily visualise, record, and analyse energy data for their entire enterprise – and take steps to optimise energy efficiency.

    The WAGO Energy Data Management system 2.4 is a good example of an energy data management system, based on the three-tier plant sensor/PLC/higher level networked and Cloud based system as discussed previously . Continuous acquisition and monitoring provide the basis for resource-efficient energy usage, reducing both energy costs and environmental impact. Conformity with DIN EN 50001 for energy evaluation is part of the package.

    The package comprises Web-based application software combined with a modular control system. It records measurement data for different media and influencing variables for energy monitoring and processes it for further analysis, archiving and reporting. The software automatically detects different signals from the connected meters and sensors, and they can be made available to additional energy analysis tools via simple param¬eter settings. Optionally, efficiency gains can also be displayed on dashboards – see Fig.13. This allows optimisation of energy consumption in a building or production facility – either locally or across the globe.

    Dashboards can be created and optimised for mobile devices
    Figure 13: Dashboards can be created and optimised for mobile devices

    Energy and environmental data can be captured and recorded from multiple sources, including electrical power consumption, gas volumes, heat/flow rates, volume flow and temperature. Key energy figures can be calculated from this data. Data can be stored in a database, in the cloud, or formatted as CSV files for exchange with the control system. The energy data can be monitored anywhere; on PCs or mobile devices, for example.

    Alarms are given if any preset limits are exceeded, allowing remedial action – such as switching off outputs – to be taken immediately.

    WAGO energy management system
    Figure 14: WAGO energy management system

    Fig.14 shows the WAGO Energy Management System key components and modular structure. For maximum flexibility, this can be retrofitted into existing systems, integrating sensors already in place. The controller has built-in security functions, including OpenVPN, IPsec, or a firewall to ensure security of data transmission and storage in the cloud.

    The system is based on the DIN rail mounting PFC200 Controller PLC, which can have I/O modules added as needed by each application – see Fig. 15.

    WAGO PFC200 controller with on-board interfaces
    Figure 15: WAGO PFC200 controller with on-board interfaces

    While collecting sensor data locally, the system also supports multiple communications channels. These include:

    M-bus variants for wired and wireless meter data transmission

    EnOcean gateway connects a wide variety of sensor types commonly used in build¬ings, e.g., for measuring temperature, humidity, brightness, CO2 etc.

    Modbus TCP/UDP standardised fieldbus protocol via ETHERNET for communication between several EDM systems, communication with light management systems, reading energy meters, and communication with any other controllers.

    Modbus RTUb> standardised fieldbus protocols via serial interface for integrating up to 32 devices like 3-phase power measurement modules or energy meters.

    FTP(S): The measurement series saved on the controller can be transmitted to a previously selected server via FTP or FTPS. This transmission can be actuated either manually or automatically at a user-specified time interval.

    MQTT: Protocol to transfer data to the cloud, for example, WAGO Cloud, Microsoft Azure, SAP Cloud, IBM Cloud, Amazon Web Services.

    HTTP(S): Protocol for transmitting Web pages, for example based on the description language HTML5, for displaying the energy data application in any Web browser on any device.

    OPC UA: Standard for open, platform-independent communication between different Ethernet-ba¬sed systems, for example for integrating controller data into a control system.

    Further opportunities for energy-saving

    Any manufacturing facility has a huge number of systems and technologies to handle all its on-site activities – from managing the production lines to looking after the comfort, wellbeing, safety and security of everybody on the premises. Reviewing any of these systems can yield more opportunities for energy saving. Here are some examples:

    Power relays: Panasonic Industry polarised power relays have an integrated permanent magnet. magnetic field overlies the one generated by the coil and much less energy is needed to switch the relay. This results as well in more sensitive and smaller coils and hence an overall more compact design .

    Moreover, Panasonic offers bistable types in which the ON or OFF state of a relay contact can be switched by a single impulse input. The permanent magnet holds the state that means there is no constant energy consumption. Therefore, polarised relays are highly efficient and help to reduce power consumption.

    anasonic DSP Series power relay
    Figure 16: Panasonic DSP Series power relay

    Energy efficient power supplies: One of the most important indicators of a PSU’s efficiency is whether it complies with the Energy Star 5.0 guidelines, and also if it meets the requirements of an 80 PLUS efficiency level . The latter applies primarily to computer power supplies and is recognised worldwide. Additionally, for the European area, CE conformity and compliance with ErP guidelines are important.

    80 plus power supply efficiency ratings
    Figure 18: 80 plus power supply efficiency ratings

    Energy saving LED lights: LED lighting in general has always been known and valued for its energy efficiency, among other properties. However, as technology continues to advance, efficiency is being improved even further. This is highlighted by Philips’ Ultra-Energy Saving LED lights; these use new technology to cut carbon emissions, reduce material waste, and reduce energy usage. With a 50,000-hour lifetime, they last more than 3.5 times longer than regular LED lights, while using just one-third of the energy.

    Philips ultraEfficient luminaire
    Figure 18: Philips ultraEfficient luminaire


    Identifying when and where a manufacturing facility is using most energy, and then taking steps to reduce consumption, present significant challenges. Multiple systems implementing widely diverse functions call for large selections of sensor, computing and control elements to meet the needs of different applications.

    Working with a supplier like Farnell can mitigate this issue, as the company has comprehensive stocks of the various products and technologies needed to build multi-tier energy management systems that encompass entire enterprises.


    1. Whitepaper Energy Efficient Drive Systems - Energy efficiency - Global (
    2. Podcast_PowerXL-DE1
    3. What is a variable speed drive | ABB
    4. DTC | ABB
    5. Motion detector - Wikipedia
    6. Siemens ARC White Paper energy management PDF
    7. WAGO Energy Data Management 60452842 PDF
    8. Panasonic polarized power relays permanent efficiency
    9. Power Supply Units Made Easy: 80 Plus Ratings - Overclockers UK
    10. Ultra efficient | Philips lighting

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