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Category "Industry 4.0"

21Nov

Make judicious use of limited resources by implementing IoT (IPDS & RT-DAS)

by Team Digireach

We are entering an era of scarcity. The population is increasing rapidly across the world but the resources at our disposal is always limited. We need to find innovative ways to make maximum utilization of the existing raw material.

Create and collect: Sensors for collecting data from the end-points. This may be speed of wind, vibration, moisture etc.

Communication: Data collected from the sensors are then transmitted to the storage units for further processing

Accumulation: Data from various sensors are aggregated over a period of time to make a repository for further study

Analyze: Valuable insights are driven from the collected data. Graphs and patterns which are formed over a period of data generation is then analyzed using intelligence. This analysis can be done by an operator or an algorithm based on previous experience.

Action: Preventive actions or modification in the course of operation can be done to tweak the process. These small changes in the operation based on intelligible and concrete data collected from the operating units leads to optimum utilization of resources at hand.

The above steps if done in an appropriate manner can lead to judicious usage of the limited resources. ‘OPTIMIZATION’ is the key word. Implementation of IoT (Internet of Things) leads to optimization. Existing resources used in a more efficient manner. Successful installations can lead increase in revenue and improvement in quality of the final product.

IoT is basically collecting the data, organizing them, and getting insights to improve the operation to get monetization and quality benefits. Previously invisible data are now tracked all thanks to the assembly of sensors, communication networks and processing ability. What allows us to create information from action is the use of sensors, a generic term intended to capture the concept of a sensing system comprising sensors, microcontrollers, modem chips, power sources, and other related devices.

The Indian government is implementing schemes in the electrical sector to harness the latent energy which is wasted in our distribution networks. IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme) and RT-DAS (Real Time Data Acquisition System) are some the technology/ schemes which have been floated and have the backing of the government.

IPDS

    1. Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in the urban areas.
    2. Metering of distribution transformers / feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
    3. IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network
    4. Schemes for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and IT enablement of balance urban towns
    5. Underground cabling to include additional demand of States and smart metering solution

RT-DAS

To accurately measure reliability of power distribution network and facilitate utility to take suitable administrative action for enhancement of power reliability. The measurement of reliability shall be ensured by a real time data acquisition system (RTDAS).

 

21Oct

Why electricity needs to be monitored?

by Team Digireach

We are entering an age of data and information. Nowadays, its is easy and very much possible to track any kind of data. Electricity is our top-most source of energy. Tracking and monitoring of our consumption of our electricity can lead to extensive savings and improvement in our usage.

Advantages for Electric Companies

  • Constant tracking of energy parameters leads to increase in efficiency.
  • Automatic monitoring of electricity usage. This eliminates manual monthly meter readings.
  • Prevents failure of the system by predicting avenues of failure so that pre-emptive steps can be taken to address the same.
  • Reduce power outages (blackouts). Real-time data from energy meters gives the operators knowledge of the status of the power infrastructure and it’s usage
  • Dynamic pricing. Demand and supply of power will define the cost.
  • Avoids the capital expense of building new power plants
  • We will be ushering in a new age of market dynamics in electricity demand. This arrangement/ data can be further optimized based on requirements of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the future.

Advantages for Users of Electricity

After the electric company has fully installed its advanced metering infrastructure, smart meters offer the following benefits to electricity customers:

  • Reduces the number of blackouts and system-wide electricity failures
  • Trend can be gauged from the graphs of electrical data. This can give a detailed feedback to the power companies. Necessary tweaks can be incorporated in the generation, transmission or distribution to optimize power consumption.
  • Constant tracking of power consumption can enable the consumers to make necessary changes in their habit of electricity intensive machinery utilization.
  • Dynamic pricing according to the day of the year and the time of day can lead to better utilization of existing resources. This can also lead to lower electricity bills for consumers.

As mentioned above, it’s a win-win situation. The earlier we usher in IoT and monitoring of data in the electricity sector, the greater advantage for the authorities and consumer it would be.

Smart meters and an IoT-enabled electricity infrastructure can provide quick, accurate measurements of electricity use while eliminating the need for estimated monthly bills or home visits from meter readers. The graphs and data collected across a period of time can help the authorities to plan and prioritize better.

This can lead to a reliable and strong electricity infrastructure for the future (Read: IPDS and RT DAS). Welcome Electricity 4.0.

10Sep

Advantages of IoT in Solar

by Team Digireach

Renewable sources of energy are the way of the future. One of the primary sources of this alternative form of energy is solar. It’s abundant, it’s clean. It is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the world, increasing in worldwide capacity by an average of 40 percent every year.

The Internet of Things Technology for supervising solar power generation can greatly enhance the performance, maintenance and monitoring of the plant. IoT can enable us to do intelligent fault detection and power optimization.

Photovoltaic (PV) array analytics and monitor is necessary for remote farms. Monitoring the solar energy incident on the panel can help us evaluate and plan the energy generation. Auxiliary electronics need to be attached to each solar panel to make this monitoring a reality. Real-time data generation of the efficiency of solar panel can help us sense the trend in solar array effectiveness and robustness.

In addition to providing companies with real-time alerts, leveraging IoT in solar energy can lead to improvements in smart metering. This makes energy production more efficient both in terms of cost and logistics. Solar contains a diverse portfolio of rooftop projects located across the city or large scale project installation in remote locations where high sunlight incidence is prevalent.

It is vital to track the data collection. Digital Reach provides the resources and installation expertise to handle the tracking of relevant data. The solar plant data for a range of parameters covering modules, inverters, arrays etc. are captured. The interval at which the data is captured can also be regulated as per the requirement. This data serves as a basic building block for further optimization and assessment of the working of the plant. Necessary changes and adjustments can be done to extract the maximum possible output from the existing installation.

The data which gets collected from the assembly of sensors can provide an array of reports that integrates power generation estimates. Data visualization options can be integrated in the software. The operator or the management can play with the appropriate display of relevant data, KPI construction, dashboards etc. to facilitate easy analysis.

Other operation and maintenance (O&M) details such as log report/ attendance of personnel/ service and other data can be integrated into the dashboard so that the management gets a holistic perspective of at the plant level. Also, the data which has been collected over a period can be integrated to new-age technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence to gather more insights.

1Sep

Energy industry-Smarter, Efficient, Distributed.

by Team Digireach

Optimizing maintenance schedules can significantly improve reliability. Preventative measures taken to improve reliability by keeping equipment in optimal condition and detecting problems so that necessary repairs can be done before it fails.

The energy sector is undergoing a massive transformation. IoT sensors measure parameters such as vibration, temperature and wear to optimize maintenance schedules.  Data and other energy parameters are tracked via energy meters. In addition to providing more information to utilities, IoT technology can help customers to be more informed about their energy usage. Internet-connected smart meters collect usage data and send it to both utilities and customers remotely.

The data collected can be used to generate reports. Based on these reports, action can be taken by the utility companies or the customers at a personal level. The reports and graphs can enable the authorities to take action and optimize the energy consumption by identifying leakages and optimizing generation, transmission and distribution.

IoT technology has improved to a great extent in the electrical utility sector. The data collection points, memory space, data processing at the edge-level or the cloud-level can be chosen appropriately so that optimized data collection and preventative action can be taken.

IoT technology can enable the integration of more distributed resources into the grid, but it can also improve grid management in other ways as well. Placing sensors at substations and along distribution lines provides real-time power consumption data that energy companies can use to make decisions about voltage control, load switching, network configuration and more. Some of these decisions can be automated.

Sensors located on the grid can alert operators to outages, allowing them to turn off power to damaged lines to prevent electrocution, wildfires and other hazards. Manual activity of isolating problem areas takes up a lot of time and leads to unwanted losses.  Smart switches can isolate problem areas automatically and reroute power to get the lights back on sooner.

Load forecasting is another aspect of smart power of the future. Power usage data is already collected using an assembly of IoT gateway, cloud, processing power and memory. There are pockets of high power generation and high power consumption both region-wise and time-wise. Load forecasting can help in managing congestion along transmission and distribution lines and help ensure that all of the connected generation plants meet requirements related to frequency and voltage control. This power consumption data can also help companies decide where to build new infrastructure and make infrastructure upgrades. More informed decision and investments in the power sector can go a long way in providing reliable power capacity for each location.

The IoT is transforming nearly every sector of our economy, including the one that powers — the energy sector. Over the coming years, the energy industry is going to get smarter, more efficient, more distributed and more reliable, thanks in part to the IoT.

21Aug

Why IoT Platforms

by Team Digireach

An IoT Platform enables direct provisioning, management, and automation of connected devices within the Internet of Things Universe. It’s basically a multi-layer technology that connects the hardware, irrespective of it type, to the cloud using flexible connectivity options, security mechanisms and data processing powers.

We’ve seen what an IoT Platform is (for more detailed information, click here), so now let us see why an organization should use an IoT Platform, and what factors to keep in mind before selecting a platform.

Because IoT is a system of systems i.e. it’s a network of devices and software applications, it has a lot of sub-domains of expertise, which is rarely accommodated by a single organization in itself. Since IoT depends on the correct synthesis of engineering fields as distinct as mechanical, electrical, software, etc, IoT Platforms are a great way to overcome technical difficulties arising from managing various teams of specialized engineers.

However, a single IoT platform cannot cater to all the various needs of the industry. Thus, there are a near infinite number of platforms for the various different breeds of applications, to cater to the needs of all industries and organizations.

Unlike other platforms (mobile platforms, desktop platforms, etc.), IoT Platforms have a lot more variety and customizability available to the businesses which employ them. This, in addition to the various benefits which IoT offers, is why IoT Platforms are in such demand in recent times.

There are some factors which need to be considered while deciding on the most compatible IoT platform-

  1. Scalability and Flexibility- whether the platform will scale with the changes in scale of the system. Also, it has to flexible for the various technological changes which will undoubtedly occur every few years, i.e. the network should be integrable with different networks.
  2. Stability- the platform provider should be trustworthy and be capable of providing the platform for a long term. If the provider folds, the business may crash.
  3. Model Pricing and Business type- whether the platform is suitable for the type of business it needs to be used for, and also whether the pricing is suitable for the services offered.
  4. Time to Market- i.e. the time it will take before the platform is up and running for use in public domain, and how the provider would help in getting there.
  5. Security- lastly, one of the most important factors, security. Security is absolutely critical to every IoT system. Each aspect of the platform should have security built into it. Device-to-cloud security, application authentication, data encryption, etc are some of the things to be on the lookout for.

IoT solutions are getting more and more complex and dynamic, involving larger ecosystems of devices. With all the new types of remote interactions between humans and devices, IoT platforms are spearheading a new model for the digital transformation.

21Jul

Automatic Power Factor Controller

by Team Digireach

Efficient generation of power at present is crucial, as in the present technological revolution, power is very precious and its wastage is a global concern. We need to find out the causes of power loss and remediate them to improve the power system. This is where the power factor comes into play. Power factor measures a system’s power efficiency and is an important aspect in improving the quality of supply. It is defined as the ratio between the KW (actual load power) and the KVA (apparent load power) drawn by an electrical load. It is simply a measure of how efficiently the load current is being converted into useful work output.

The actual amount of the power being used, or dissipated, in a circuit is called active power (P), and it is measured in watts. Active power is the product of the sinusoidal voltage and current wave form. Reactive power is the power consumed in the ac circuit because of the inductive and capacitive field. The unit used for measuring reactive power is KVAR. Apparent power is the combination of the active power and reactive power.

Hence, the lower the power factor is, the lower is the economic efficiency of the system. A low power factor can be the result of fluctuating current waveforms i.e. unstable input, or a significant phase difference between voltage and current at load terminals. Usually the presence of inductive loads reduces power factor by causing the current to lag behind the voltage and this can be corrected by power factor correction methods.

Power factor correction (PFC) is the process of compensating a lagging current by a leading current, through connecting capacitance to the supply. The capacitor draws current which leads the voltage, thereby offsetting the lag caused by the inductive elements. This Automatic Power Factor Controller (APFC) is designed such that they utilize the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT) to the fullest, to closely monitor the working of the system and make necessary changes to the capacitive components to ensure the power factor is made as close to unity as practically possible without causing unintended side-effects.

APFC devices find application in industries, power distribution system and commercial power lines to increase stability and efficiency of the system. They help in reducing charges on utility bills by pulling in high current drawn from the system. Lesser power consumed means lower greenhouse gas emissions and lesser fossil fuel consumption by the power stations, thereby benefitting the environment.

11Jul

Sensors and Data Streams in IoT

by Team Digireach

Internet of Things (IoT) brings a whole new world of data, real-time streaming requirements, operational difficulties, security, and a large stream of massive data that needs to be made available for use at scale. IoT devices find application in various settings- factories, industries, power plants, vehicles, etc. to name a few. These devices output massive amounts of data from the sensors they use. This data is streamed non-stop and is used for making future predictions, assess the current conditions, optimize the working, etc.

The data from the onboard sensors is based on things like humidity, temperature, air conditions, luminance, etc. The data from these sensors is used by billions of other devices, people, organizations and places. While the management of such a network has its own problems, the opportunities are abundant too.

First, let’s talk about the sensors. Sensors first appeared decades ago, as a means to detect changes in quantity and give the output as an electrical or optical signal. They have been used for many purposes and in various fields over the years, from utilities and energy, to manufacturing and industries. Now with the rise of IoT, the uses of sensors – and the data streaming from them – has diversified manifold and continues to do so. From the largest of aircrafts to the smallest of pacemakers, the data from the sensors flows from the devices to the network and back and this has made the IoT a major contributor to Big Data.

Today, organizations are investing heavily in capturing and store the data from the sensors, but it is extraction and analysis of that data which is the daunting task. To take full advantage of data streams in the IoT, organizations must understand the exploding number of ways “big” IoT data needs to be filtered, mashed up, compared, contrasted, interpolated and extrapolated. The 4 ‘V’s which need to be considered by the organization are-

  1. Volume- whether the massive amount of data being received can be accessed, stored, processed and analyzed.
  2. Variety- whether the various types of data and their formats can be managed on the fly.
  3. Velocity- whether the data can be captured and analyzed as fast as the rate at which it is being generated.
  4. Veracity- whether the data has been filtered, validated or cleansed and made trustworthy enough for use as basis of data-driven decisions.

If these conditions are suitably met by the organization, they can easily distinguish themselves from their competitors and be at the forefront of the IoT Industrial Revolution aka Industry 4.0.

13Jun

Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding

by Team Digireach

The maintenance of maximum service reliability has always been the primary concern of the electric utility industry. To ensure this, power systems are always designed and operated such that working is not affected in any system conditions and load requirements are always met. Usually the designing is such that it can hold up service continuity even under emergency situations, but sometimes, unpredictable conditions of faults, forced outages, etc. may occur. When this happens, it is important to ensure that steps are taken to ensure that a major system outage doesn’t occur.

Any part of a power system will begin to deteriorate if there is an excess of load over available generation. If there is an excess of load over generation ratio, the frequency decreases. It is generally recognised that a sudden drop in generating capacity results in a drop in frequency. This drop is not immediate, but rather, happens gradually.

One way to attain the balance between generation and load, before the decaying frequency affects performance, is to increase generation. However this isn’t always possible practically due to system limitations or due to time constraints. So, a more common method is to employ Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding (AUFLS). What this does is that it employs a quick and effective means of attaining a balance of generation and load. The application of AUFLS relays throughout the load area, preset to drop increments of load at specific values of low frequency, provides a simple and direct method of minimizing service interruption and alleviating system overloads.

The Load Shedding function provides under-frequency protection at the main distribution substation. As system frequency decreases, load is disconnected in discrete steps according to frequency thresholds. Protective relays are used for automatic gradually under-frequency load shedding. Under and over-frequency relays are specified by frequency settings and delays. And all this can be incorporated by using IoT Gateway which requires minimum system integration and is fully compatible with most of the applications.

7Jun

IoT in Utilities

by Team Digireach

 

IoT is considered as the next industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. The concept of IoT is to develop advanced solutions and services, enhance productivity & efficiency, solve critical problems, and improve real-time decisions. IoT is changing industry business models, and the utility industry is investing in IoT technology to transform its operations and enhance customer experience. IoT connected utilities can monitor and regulate operations in real-time to maximize efficiency and perform preventive maintenance. Moreover, IoT accelerates digital transformation in utilities.

Implementation of IoT can drastically change the direction the utility industry is headed towards. Many utility companies are on the verge if adopting IoT. Simply the investment in smart grid, smart meters, and home automation can allow utility companies to comprehensively recapture the energy industry and drive top-line growth.

When the utility industry adopts IoT, it connects with the consumer, with the grid, with the world, on a whole new scale. There’s a huge influx of data that can be harnessed to improve services. Companies can utilize smart meters and grids to optimize how the power is distributed. These systems enable greater forecasting capabilities, thereby driving down costs of generation through more efficient scheduling and reliability in the grid, as well as enabling customers to foresee spending patterns and better plan their energy usage over time.

A few applications and benefits of IoT in utilities:

  1. Smart meters are IoT-connected sensors on consumer utility lines. These report data back directly to the company, enabling real-time monitoring and analyzing of data. This can also alert company of maintenance issues and help resolve issues quicker.
  2. Condition-based maintenance routines can be improved by utilities using sensors which measure performance. Data is collected via communication networks to pinpoint problems and predict possible issues using analytics.
  3. Smart buildingscan control light and temperature in real time for maximum comfort and efficiency using interconnected sensors and building control systems.
  4. Precise water irrigation systemswith IoT sensors, including trickle and subsurface methods, greatly reduce water consumption and have the ability to integrate with utility demand response systems.
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