Energy as a Direct Cost
More companies are finding that folding energy into overhead is no longer necessary. Applications exist today for modeling energy usage in processing plants, and reaching across corporate networks to track energy as a direct cost of products. The energy savings can be enormous.
A fundamental tenet of process control is that you must be able to measure a variable before you can control it. So, given the volatility of energy costs these days, it’s no wonder that even energy producers like Valero Energy Corp., purportedly North America’s largest independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products
» INDUSTRY TRENDS:
Shale Gas Ethane Remains Petrochemicals Game Changer
Overall, chemicals manufacturers continue to focus on improving efficiencies and on new leading-edge product innovations, as well as strengthening research and development (R&D) activities.
A new competitive advantage is emerging for U.S. petrochemical producers, according to Martha Moore, senior director for policy analysis and economics at the American Chemistry Council, Washington, D.C. Plentiful shale gas and the ethane it contains create the advantage
» SAFETY SYSTEMS:
Rodney Law finds it surprising just how many people have ignored pneumatic power in the past when they designed their safety systems. “It’s a big part of the energy stored in a piece of equipment,” says the manager of the controls engineering department at Farason Corp., a builder of flexible automation in Coatesville, Pa.
Law has been noticing a change in attitude recently, however. More manufacturers have been asking Farason to include pneumatics, as well as electric and hydraulic actuation
Synchronize Clocks for Better Performance
The push to keep large, complex production lines working at high speeds requires technologies that tightly control timing. In many high performance environments, synchronization is as important as determinism. Technologies like PXI backplanes and the IEEE 1588 standard can help.
Synchronized clocks are critical in a broad range of environments. In utility power grids, clocks must be synched so the many switches run by different providers interconnect smoothly. In factories, production speeds can be increased when all the system components are synchronized to a single clock