The current digital revolution is driving an overhaul of long-standing industrial processes. Digital platforms are recasting the relationships between suppliers, workers, and customers, while digital transformation unlocks new plant productivity and performance levels. Digitization in the water and wastewater segment, including motor management, enables more reliable and consistent consumer service while reducing the water infrastructure’s carbon footprint. This has evolved from traditional to advanced systems that track real-time operational data.
Let’s consider the digitization of the widespread set of pumps and the motors that drive them. Motors consume between 60- 95% of the electrical energy in a plant, so efficiently driven motors can substantially contribute to an organization’s cost control and sustainability.
The connection and communication between the motor control equipment and the automation system are vital to minimize motor failure. Creating a strategy that links motor control, automation, and energy management is key to helping plants reduce production costs while increasing production capacities and efficiency. The overall energy costs are then reduced, and motor energy is monitored and controlled so that function is better aligned with the processing workload.
Today, advanced connectivity and a holistic approach make it more affordable and feasible to implement a comprehensive motor management strategy.
Productivity tools now accompany motor management digital technologies
Traditional motor management strategies often fail to optimize motor performance. In some cases, piecemeal support solutions that only focus on the individual motors are used instead of a more integrated, holistic perspective that helps to optimize plant-wide operations.
Advanced approaches to plant design now combine power and process management. Within the realm of motor management, solutions that digitally unify energy and automation management systems have been shown in the field to deliver benefits of:
- 20% improvement in motor availability
- 50% reduction in motor downtime
- 4x faster recovery after an unexpected stop
Water & Wastewater plant engineers have several options for efficiently operating their motor and drive installed base. A prime example is the Altivar™ Soft Starter ATS480’s design and configuration tools, which can reduce engineering time and cost through simplified selection and integration in the power and plant architecture.
However, the multitude of technology and design choices for water infrastructure motor applications can overwhelm engineers. Selecting and configuring the proper motor and drive combination can be time-consuming and error-prone. For these reasons, companies like Schneider Electric™−a specialist in low- and medium-voltage motor control with deep knowledge of direct online soft starters and variable speed drive solutions− have developed tools that reduce design time and risk of failure.
The EcoStruxure Motor Management Design tool and the Schneider Electric Ecostruxure Motor Control configurator tool are examples accessible from any web browser and free of charge to users.
The EcoStruxure Motor Management Design tool allows plant floor engineers to:
- Easily compare different motor control solutions within a power system and quickly determine the adequate compromise in various interconnected aspects such as transformer sizing, motor starting, and power.
- Instantly see potential energy savings and carbon footprint reduction when appropriate.
- Save valuable time searching and defining the relevant products and equipment to compose a comprehensive motor management architecture.
EcoStruxure Motor Management Design tool helps improve the efficiency of specifiers, panel builders, and contractors when selecting a motor, motor starter, and drive solutions. It combines extensive power system engineering calculations with component selection, integrating all the design aspects of the motor application in one place. Engineers using it have saved up to 80% of their time when performing the “what if” analyses needed to validate whether the right technology decision is made.
The EcoStruxure Motor control Configurator provides full motor control solution configurability, including electromechanical devices such as breakers, contactors, soft starters, and variable speed drives, regardless of the power level. This tool is globally deployed on local Schneider Electric websites and accommodates many local languages. Users can seamlessly configure, create a bill of material and purchase their optimal solution order through this configurator. Over the last two years, 70,000 configurations have been completed using this tool.