Audits Uncover Potential Energy Savings
“The core of our business is upgrades,” said Lou York, director of development, CaseiZ. “We’ve worked in just about every industry you can name – and have discovered compressors that are more than 30 years old.”
To assess current performance and potential efficiency gains, customer engagement typically begins with an energy savings audit.
“Usually, we spend about a week at a facility installing data loggers to determine baselines and discover inefficiencies,” said Allen King, Jr., manager of operations, CaseiZ. “Then, we recommend a solution focused on energy reduction.”
Potential energy savings of 25% to 50% are typically uncovered – and most are attributed to updated automation platforms and system integration. Here’s an example.
“At the basic level, each compressor is sold individually, installed in the utilities room and designed to run by itself,” explained Sullivan. “So we often find compressors that are not part of the overall automation system. They’re simply running local control and doing their own thing.”
CaseiZ relies on a Rockwell Automation platform to modernize and integrate obsolete systems. Applications typically include Allen-Bradley® CompactLogix™ or ControlLogix® controllers and FactoryTalk® View HMI – with integration on an EtherNet/IP™ network.
From Static Report to Real-Time Visibility
As a value-added service, CaseiZ also offered customers a monthly energy report to track system performance to energy savings objectives. The report was static in nature and labor-intensive to produce.
“We would remotely access the local control panels to harvest a month’s worth of system data,” said King. “Then, we would manually generate a report.”
The monthly snapshot was helpful in identifying deviations from expected performance. But uncovering the cause required additional investigation.
“We did not have continuous visibility into operations,” said Sullivan. “Someone would have to log in to the system and look for the source of inefficiency.”
To improve response time and issue resolution, CaseiZ developed AirView Cloud, a monitoring system based on the ThingWorx IIoT platform. Part of FactoryTalk® InnovationSuite and powered by PTC, ThingWorx connects disparate devices, applications and data streams to enable secure access to industrial operations data.
Using ThingWorx tools, CaseiZ and their customers see the runtime patterns and utilization of individual machines in real time. They also receive alerts for critical issues such as a compressor tripping offline or a KPI falling below a certain threshold.
“These systems are very dynamic,” said King. “Now, if a compressor fails or a customer makes an unexpected adjustment, we instantly see that drop in efficiency and can address it.”
“And all that time we spent gathering data and generating reports now can be spent responding to issues,” York added.
Maintaining Maximum Efficiency
CaseiZ first applied the AirView Cloud solution at an automotive plant. And in less than a year, the company has expanded the solution across more than a dozen diverse companies.