Energy harvesting in use on wireless sensors

The Sensors Show in Rosemont, near Chicago USA, is a regular annual event in June, but Walt Boyes of reports that the show seems to be shrinking, year on year. However, one of the suppliers to the sensor industry that attracted Boyes’ attention again this year was Perpetuum, the UK-based supplier of electromagnetic vibration energy harvesting devices that can power wireless sensors. Last year at the same show, Perpetuum won a “Best of Sensors Expo 2010” award in the technologies category, for their PMG FSH free-standing Harvester, optimised for industrial machinery asset condition-based monitoring.

The award was based on a joint demonstration between Perpetuum and Dust Networks, using energy harvesting-powered wireless sensors in a GE Bently Nevada Insight.Mesh network for vibration monitoring. “The proven performance of Perpetuum Vibration Energy Harvesters makes them an excellent choice for powering WSNs,” said Steve Turley, ceo of Perpetuum. “With their robust construction and high efficiencies, Perpetuum Harvesters are ideally suited to industrial condition monitoring applications and allow end users to achieve economic and flexible WSN deployments without concern for battery life. Their ability to power the Dust Networks WSNs from even very smooth running machinery is critical to successful deployment.”

“The combination of our low power SmartMesh products and Perpetuum’s energy harvesting technology creates a system that can run indefinitely without maintenance, which further enhances the ROI of WSN solutions”, added Joy Weiss, president and ceo of Dust Networks.

Bently Nevada is first to market

April this year saw a full press announcement by GE Measurement and Control Solutions, who are the suppliers of Bently Nevada systems. In this, GE claims that Essential Insight.mesh 1.1, the latest version of the Bently Nevada wireless condition monitoring solution, offers the world’s first electromagnetic vibration energy harvester powered sensor mesh network, which eliminates the need for batteries and associated maintenance. This external power source is also quoted to allow the selection of more frequent data collection, therefore meeting a broader range of applications.

“The addition of Essential Insight.mesh 1.1 is another example of how GE continues to invest in wireless technology and enhance our current solutions,” said Sean Coyle, Bently Nevada Product Line Manager. “The addition of these features provides our customers with flexible options and alternatives to the traditional battery powered device.” Significantly, the release also advises that Essential Insight.mesh platform has Zone 0 hazardous area certification, allowing deployment anywhere in the plant.

Each device supports four measurement channels with up to six types of displacement/vibration measurement per channel, including acceleration enveloping, overall value, waveform, and spectrum.

National Instruments wireless networks

For the Sensors Show 2011, Perpetuum were able to announce a further commercial offering of their energy harvester power source, from National Instruments, with their WSN-3226 Wireless Measurement Node, which is suitable for voltage or resistance measurement sensors, such as RTDs and potentiometers.

“As a leader in the wireless sensing and industrial automation market, NI is excited to offer Perpetuum’s vibration energy harvesters as a solution to battery replacement for our WSN nodes,” said Nick Butler, Product Marketing Manager for Wireless Sensor Networks at National Instruments. “This solution can significantly reduce maintenance logistics and costs for customers.” NI also offer a solar powered WSN node for outdoor batteryless wireless monitoring systems.

Keith Abate, director of business development at Perpetuum, commented, “We are pleased to add National Instruments to a growing list of global automation leaders selecting Perpetuum’s energy harvesting solutions to power their wireless sensor node product lines.”

Who will be next?

Perpetuum display of vibration energy harvesters with wireless sensors

From the Perpetuum product display at the Sensors Show, it would appear that there are a few more suppliers of wireless sensors and systems testing the Perpetuum vibration energy harvester as a power source. The picture indicates potential further use with pressure transmitters from various sources, and what would appear to be a wireless gateway! For Perpetuum, the next big event will be the ISA Automation Week in October, so maybe further applications of energy harvesters will be revealed then!


Schneider Electric announces PlantStruxure

Schneider Electric has announced the launch of its PlantStruxure architecture, a new collaborative system that allows industrial and infrastructure companies to meet their automation needs and at the same time deliver on growing energy management requirements.

PlantStruxure integrates both hardware and software components throughout the plant, offering flexible, scalable and collaborative architectures. It delivers a complete process management solution that allows companies to optimise their energy usage and drive maximum efficiency within their operations while also improving productivity.

“Today industrial companies face a multitude of challenges on different fronts, including increased competitive pressures, a volatile global economy, tighter compliance and regulatory requirements and higher costs of materials,” said Michel Crochon, Executive Vice President, Industry Business, Schneider Electric. “To compete in this new world, collaboration and decision-making based on actionable and relevant information is essential. PlantStruxure breaks down information silos with open, standards-based technologies to drive speed and agility — helping users gain a unique competitive advantage. ”

PlantStruxure allows easy collaboration between plant and operation managers, as well as engineering and maintenance teams through its powerful software suite combined with field proven hardware and open Ethernet-based technologies. It enables high process availability and offers redundancy and functional safety at each level of the architecture, to meet the requirements of industries such as food and drink, oil and gas, chemical, petrochemical, power and mining. Through architectures based on intelligent energy management solutions, organisations that use PlantStruxure™ benefit from reduced project development, operation and production costs, while gaining real-time visibility of business performance, improved compliance and ROI.

“Traditionally, process automation systems, energy management systems, production management systems, and even plant design and engineering tools have each occupied separate domains. Manufacturers and the industry in general are increasingly moving to single environment encompassing production management, energy management and control systems functions as well as business information,” said Crochon.

With PlantStruxure™, Schneider Electric leverages its experience in the domains of automation, process control and energy management to deliver a system that provides a single architecture for all process control needs. The solution allows users to optimise their plant efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve energy efficiency by implementing strategies that combine all of these aspects across the entire lifecycle of their system.

Craig Resnick, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group, authored the white paper ‘Schneider Electric Deploys New PlantStruxure Platform.’ He comments:
“Conventional approaches to process automation and operations management are evolving as processors and manufacturers demand enhanced visualisation, intelligence, control and agility, which requires increased power and energy management capabilities.”

“A collaborative framework, such as Schneider Electric’s PlantStruxure platform, will encourage the further breakdown of barriers to information by enabling a more comprehensive multi-disciplined operational strategy, which in turn impacts productivity, responsiveness, lifecycle costs, energy efficiency, and most importantly, profitability.”

EOH to represent IOM in South Africa

Invensys Operations Management announces that EOH, the largest enterprise applications provider in South Africa, will be its sole representative in sub-Saharan Africa. EOH is the largest enterprise applications provider in South Africa and one of the top three IT service providers (
“Invensys Operations Management has had a presence in South Africa for more than 20 years, supported by our strong ecosystem of regional partners, but now we will be represented solely and directly by EOH,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive officer for IOM. “The agreement is largely attributable to EOH’s extensive knowledge in the mining and manufacturing sectors, as well as its reach in the local market. We believe it will broaden the scope of our product and service offerings in sub-Saharan Africa and help us execute and deliver upon projects more cost effectively. Additionally, EOH’s impeccable record of success as a Level 3 BBBEE-rated business solidified the decision.” 
IOM is a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, its solutions are utilised by more than 40,000 clients around the world in more than 200,000 plants and facilities. The new office in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, will serve as the primary point of contact for IOM in the region.
EOH’s solid track record in the mining and manufacturing sector creates a solid foundation for IOM to work from, said Asher Bohbot, chief executive officer of EOH. “South Africa has an aggressive energy expansion goal as the leading economic power in Africa and is a key player in the continent’s energy and oil industries. South Africa has an increasingly vital role in the global process industry, including the upstream oil and gas and power generation markets, with coal-based fuels being a significant component of the nation’s energy sector. Our new agreement with Invensys Operations Management allows us to deliver exceptional service and support to these important customers as they pursue real-time operational excellence.”
Besides project engineering, the new IOM facility at EOH will include a training and customer support service centre, as well as a sales and marketing point of contact. Invensys offerings include process control engineering that is utilised by large companies such as Eskom and Sasol in the form of distributed control systems (DCS) to control their processes, boilers and electrical power grids. Some of the global brands that fall within the Invensys stable include Eurotherm, Foxboro, InFusion, SimSci-Esscor, Triconex and Wonderware. EOH has been the exclusive provider of Wonderware software and services in the region for more than eight years.
“The newly established Invensys Operations Management office at EOH will be the main point of contact for clients, as well as for Invensys-supplied products, solutions and services. With the continued support of the South African community, government officials and our strong network of South African partners, EOH looks forward to developing more business for the benefit of our clients and communities in the region,” said Bohbot.