As energy savings become increasingly important for manufacturing, Rexroth has pointed out four common errors in construction of industrial automation systems that lead to energy waste. Here’s how to avoid those errors:
Build for fluctuations. There will be fluctuations in energy demand. No way around it. When you set up your systems to run at full power even when that amount of power is not needed, you’re wasting energy. You’re probably also increasing heat and thus requiring additional power for cooling to keep your machinery stable. In stead, plan for fluctuations in energy demand and configure your system to respond to those fluctuations.
Don’t waste braking energy. Every acceleration demands deceleration, and the energy used for that purpose can be lost as heat. In fact, it makes sense to trap all energy that would otherwise be expressed as heat and use it again. There are many ways to do this, some more complicated than others, but they’re worth the effort. Regenerative drives are one of Rexroth’s options.
Don’t always design for load peaks. Every electrical component has to be designed to handle load peaks, even if those peaks last only for milliseconds. Or maybe not. Using an intelligent energy management system can allow you to avoid load peaks and therefore to use smaller, less costly components.
Use simulation software. Once upon a time you had to build and then see what happened. Now, simulation software allows you to go through multiple iterations and improvements before moving from simulation to reality.
Design thinking can make big differences in the amount of energy waste you end up with in your factory.