Saving money on energy using electronic control panels

There’s lots of advice around in the electicity industry on how to save energy and improve efficiency using control panels. Often the problem is that the advice you read only gives one point of view, or the information provided only checks some of the issues. Here are DualTec we’ve got lots of experience and knowledge in manufacturing control panels and providing Electrical Testing & Inspection and Automation & Control, so we’re perfectly positioned to provide reliable, unbiased and exact solutions to all kinds of control system and automation issues. Saving of energy is a must both from an environmental point of view as well as from a financial point of view. From industrial scale control panels to smaller systems or even residential houses, efficiencies brought about by control panels lead to cost saving and a greener environment.

The term ‘energy efficiency’ signifies the proportion of energy that can be converted from one form to another form. Basically, energy efficiency can be termed as minimising the losses from sourcing into the required form.

In the energy transfer process, the output or the ‘desired form of energy’ (joules) is always lower than the source of the energy (joules) . During the energy conversion, some of the energy is unintentionally lost in the process of conversion.

Our methods for energy saving by using control panels are as follows.

  1. Power factor correction method: The efficiency of a piece of equipment can be increased by reducing the power factor of the equipment which in turn increases the efficiency of the equipment. Due to increased efficiency, the mechanical and electrical losses are decreased and hence the cost of maintenance decreases and the savings increase.
  2. Saving energy from resistance loss: Reducing the power factor works in inductive and capacitive equipment like induction motors and pumps but in the case of resistive loads these methods can’t be used. But by using a smart control panel the current passing through can be controlled in a more calculated way. Hence for instance, energy lost due to overheating can be saved. And due to reduced heat , the requirement for any coolant also reduces. At DualTec we use smart and controlled ways to save energy anywhere we can see losses.
  3. Effective power distribution: At DualTec we believe in distributing power according to its priority of energy requirement. Most of the losses occur due to unmonitored power wastage. By using programmable logic controllers (PLC) , power can be shared among the equipment that needs it, depending on the amount and priority of electrical power required.
  4. Measurement and understanding of energy use: Smart control systems are designed to self-calculate and measure the usage of energy in any connected equipment. By monitoring the use of energy, the energy wastage can be calculated and restored to a minimum level of waste.
  5. Controlling Fixed Speed v Variable Speed: In this case, DualTec would look at applications that are variable speed, and perhaps change them to fixed speed making energy efficiencies. Just reducing the speed won’t always reduce enery wastage however, so the control panel has to be programmed accordingly.
  6. Control panels with Adjustable speed drives (ASDs): ASDs in control panels match the speed vs load demands for pumps and motors. For motors their energy use is proportional to the cube of their inflow rate and relatively minor reductions in the inflow may result in significant cost in energy savings. At DualTec we use ASD equipped control panels which results in improved overall efficiency and control of the equipment. It also reduces the wear on the equipment, thereby reducing future maintenance costs.
  7. Increase the savings by reduction of demand in holding tanks: PLC controlled holding tanks are used to control the flow of the production cycle, which can enhance the energy efficiency and reduce the demand for adding pump capacity. Energy savings may be as high as 5-10% for each of the steps.
  8. Automation of Lights, fans and ventilators: By using PLCs or other automation devices, the energy lost due to unutilised power in the form of lights and fans in workshops and offices can be reduced hugely. This results in a cut in the cost of power used for other than that which is used for the equipment.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more – here at DualTec can advise on how to use smart and automated control panel systems which can result in big cost savings on poorly configured energy management systems.