If you do not measure, you cannot improve - so goes the saying. Which means measurement is the first and necessary step towards improvements, but not an end in itself. This is where standard metering products come in. Having measured, further steps towards improvement go beyond Metering.
What is it that can be improved? And how does one go about it? In the context of industrial operations, improvements can be towards:
Standard Metering Products cannot fully meet the needs of such applications. In most cases a customized solution that cost effectively addresses the specific needs beyond metering has to be evolved. The needs vary from customer to customer and application to application. Hence customization. It may happen that a part of the customized solution includes standard metering products but the solution itself goes beyond metering.
Let us consider few typical examples illustrating the scope of customization beyond metering.
A customer runs a sophisticated Machine shop with ten state of the art NC Machining Centers each costing around two crore rupees. To keep track and ensure that his investment is fully and productively employed, he wants records to be automatically generated and maintained showing shift-wise:
- Duration of which each Machine remained switched off
- Duration of which each Machine was ON but idle
- Duration of which each Machine was ON and engaged on a job
- Energy consumed when the machine was running idle
- Energy consumed when the machine was engaged on a job
(d and e are also used for billing customer towards energy component used on his job)
In many industries (for example, manufacture of automotive axles) Friction Welding is a typical operation. The welding process itself takes a fraction of a minute. But the handling of the work piece (removing the completed piece, bringing in the new piece, aligning it and fixing it in position in the machine) takes several minutes. This means that the productivity is governed by the mechanical handling process rather than the actual welding process. Optimizations require accurate tracking and automate recording and analysis of the timings that go into the process. Incidentally, it might also keep track of related data - for example, number of pieces produced in each shift.
When the Friction Welding machine referred to in Example 2, runs idle for a large part of the working cycle, it still consumes substantial amount of energy (typically, say, 10% of the full scale energy consumption). Also, while running idle, the power Factor is very poor (typically 0.1 to 0.15), which makes the operation even more energy inefficient. In most cases energy consumed during idle running is more than that consumed on job. Obviously, there is a need for improving the energy efficiency and Power Factor during idle running. For improving Power Factor, a Power Factor correction capacitor cannot be switched in and out every few minutes - in during idle running, out during loaded running.
It therefore calls for a customized solution!
In most cases, the spindles of a Ring Frame in a textile mill are belt driven. Even a small amount of residual fluff in the air, which is unavoidable, tends to accumulate in the belt drives and clog them over time, leading to progressively increase friction in the drives. This reflects in increased kW consumption of the motor. Keeping track over time of the kW consumption at a specific point in the doff depending on the material (cotton, synthetic etc) as also the count of the yarn, thresholds can be set for the Ring Frame to be taken up for maintenance, irrespective of the time elapsed since last maintenance. This generally leads to improved operations and reduced burned on maintenance.
Customization is virtually a marriage between what is needed and what is possible. Were ELTRAC to become your partner in optimization, then identifying what is needed falls largely in your domain (with support from ELTRAC if necessary). Identifying what is possible in relation to what is needed falls largely in ELTRAC's domain. Successful customization results from close interaction between ELTRAC as the Solution Provider and you as the Beneficiary.
ELTRAC is happy to offer its services to take on Custom Projects in metering and optimization as also in related areas going beyond metering.