Motor Management System How to Benefit from Motor Management as Data Provider
The trend toward linking up the production and control levels in a network is now making itself felt in low-voltage switchboards in the process industry. The critical point in this field is that the communication-capable switching devices are able to provide direct and secure exchange of data. The OPC UA protocol helps to make the data of the loads and the motors accessible via the switchboard.
Parameters, operating states, quantities and masses have always played a vital role in the process industry. It is always the case that the more detailed the data available, the better the processes can run. However, not every single piece of information always flows to the plant’s control system for processing as the engineering and control input would be too complex and ultimately redundant.
That is where “Industrie 4.0”, or the fourth industrial revolution, comes into play. The trend toward smart systems right down to the lowest field level is intended as an elegant solution to the problem of data reduction. If information is preprocessed and exchanged on parallel communication channels, the strain on the process control system can be eased although, in total, more data from the process is taken into account. The role of low-voltage switchboards is changing along with increasing digitalization in industry.
Whereas switchboards were previously mainly used for power distribution and protection, nowadays process technicians and switchboard manufacturers are looking for ways of developing them into intelligent subsystems. This step can be made by using motor management systems such as Simocode pro from Siemens. Such systems not only record electrical variables such as current, voltage, power, etc. but also statistical information with the aid of operating hours and switching counters.
Such devices serve as data suppliers, whereby the actuator, that is to say the motor feeder, becomes the sensor. Put briefly, a motor management system knows key characteristic values concerning drives in the process industry and shares them with the switchboard. From the switchboard, the system controller or control system receives relevant information whenever it is required. This makes it an important link in end-to-end networking as we head toward Industrie 4.0.
Smooth-running data exchange requires communication technology at machine level. This is called OPC UA (Unified Architecture) — also known as the IEC 62541 standard — and has been established for around ten years. This architecture is service-oriented (SOA); its structure consists of several layers, and the communication standard offers independence from a specific platform, scalability, a high level of availability and Internet capability. This provides us with the basis for an intelligent link-up of information which even transmits meta-information to controllers, servers as well as MES and ERP systems, thereby taking into account different needs and situations. Data rates are high and transmission is tamper-proof.
With its pumps, compressors, fans, etc., the process industry is one area in which a high-performance motor management system such as Simocode pro from Siemens plays a vital role. It can capture information on currents, phase angles, motor temperature, ground faults and a whole lot more. Furthermore, the devices possess features such as teleservice, network integration and Web capability. The critical point is that the large amount of measured data available needs to be used effectively — that is to say, if necessary, it has to find its way to the plant control system or the control level. The motor management equipment helps here by providing data via Ethernet with the aid of the OPC UA server function integrated into the switching device.
On the one hand, this allows parallel M2M (machine-to-machine) communication to be established, which puts no extra load on the actual plant control system, and on the other hand it opens up a direct information channel to the control level.