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Energy efficiency - this year's theme at Hannover

Author : J GALE

12 April 2011

This edition of the newsletter provides focus on the Messe exhibition which took place recently in Hannover, Germany. HazardEx and Hazardous Area International were there to see the new innovations on show. These were based in a number of halls for those involved with the hazardous areas industry; however the main focus for this sector and the industrial automation arena was in Hall's 9 and 11.

The Industrial Automation fair was in fact restructured in order to integrate it more closely with Hannover Messe’s energy-industry content: in 2011 its Process Automation section (formerly Interkama+) was relocated to Hall 11 and thus had a direct interface with the energy-themed tradeshows. It was therefore also closer to Halls 14 and 15, which had a strong focus on energy efficiency. 

Industrial Automation 2011 featured a new theme area located strategically in Hall 9, between its Factory Automation and Process Automation sections. Known as ICT in Automation, it focused on industrial communication technology and automation-related IT hardware and software. Manufacturers have long been using advanced automation technology to cut costs and increase productivity. However, one of the biggest challenges facing these companies today is to find solutions that save energy, resources and, ultimately, the environment. This is the domain of process automation. Modern process automation employs metrology and analysis equipment, computer-based technologies and software engineering to streamline the measurement and the closed and open-loop control systems used to manage production processes. The end-result: industrial processes that are clean, safe, reliable and, most importantly, efficient. Process automation thus has applications in a wide range of areas, including the chemicals, pharmaceuticals and metal production sectors as well as the oil, gas, paper and cement industries.

Conserving energy with automation, process automation alone has the potential to reduce energy wastage by 10 to 15 per cent on average. Recent studies show that as much as 80 per cent of the energy value chain – from energy source to end-user – is affected by inefficiencies of some sort or other. These include transmission and conversion losses and sub-optimal production processes. Clearly, to ensure success in business and protect the environment, we need to produce and use energy much more efficiently than is currently the case. In complex chemical plants, energy costs account for about 20 per cent of total production costs, while in the metal production industry they account for as much as 50 per cent of total production costs. The good news: intelligent process automation solutions offer enormous potential for energy savings. Process automation is the brains behind energy-intelligent production, wielding a sophisticated array of measurement and analysis equipment and software to devise strategies for energy-optimised industrial plant operation. It is an environmentally sustainable route to enhanced competitiveness.

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