Posts Tagged ‘Energy Management & ISO 50001’

Energy Data Management: Insecure cloud? Disadvantages and concerns

Friday, January 15th, 2016

LockAs tempting as the implementation of an EDMS solution in the cloud appears, there is some cause for concern. After last weeks’ blog articles describing EDMS solutions in the cloud, I’d briefly like to discuss these concerns.

Internet access is absolutely necessary because the service is only available online. The connection should ideally be stable, quick and synchronous.

In addition, the data is outside your own area of responsibility and some companies fear that they can no longer fully monitor it. The access to data also appears to be a weak point if it is transferred using the internet. In addition, data could get into the hands of others or be tampered with through hacker attacks.

However, if we assess these perceived weak points in detail, we understand that data in the cloud is subject to the same risk of attack as data that is stored locally in your own infrastructure. Successful hacker attacks usually are focussed on data that is in local IT infrastructure and not in the cloud. However, as a result of the centralization in datacenters, the danger of an attack is however increased.

Major cloud providers such as Microsoft are aware of this and know that their business model can only work if customers have trust in their products. For this reason, data security is of the utmost importance in Microsoft Azure. A range of integrated security measures ensure data security in the cloud. The exchange of data to the cloud is in encrypted form. Customers can select the datacenter where they want the data to be stored – there are two in Europe, for example. Microsoft provides more detailed information on the security measures for Azure at

Outlook: A short conclusion on the previous blog articles about EDMS in the cloud

The cloud model has passed the start-up phase and established itself worldwide. Most of all, it is small and medium-size companies that can benefit from innovative solutions with the help of the cloud because the cloud removes the need to heavily invest in the setup of a comprehensive infrastructure and staff. The zenon Energy Data Management System is optimally tailored to meet such demands and it is being continually developed. The next version of zenon Analyzer, 3.0, will offer a number of updates such as efficiency class analysis, dynamic normalization of measured data, weather adjustment and much more. Let yourself be amazed!


The Possibilities of zenon and zenon Analyzer in the Cloud

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The cloud offers some interesting benefits that make moving an energy data management system to the cloud interesting for companies of any size. You can implement the cloud solution flexibly, because both zenon and zenon Analyzer offer secure connections to Microsoft Azure. The following scenarios are possible:

Scenario 1: Data in the Cloud

With this variant, the software components, zenon Operator, zenon Supervisor and zenon Analyzer, are installed locally. The data is stored in the cloud. Energy data is recorded free from error in the LAN and does not depend on the internet connection. Only in the next step is the data stored in the cloud. If the internet connection fails, the data is cached locally until the connection is re-established again. The data that is stored decentrally can be called up from the cloud regardless of location. If the energy manager is not at the same site or if a company has several production sites, this is a decisive organizational advantage. Another plus is that upfront investment costs and running costs are low.


Scenario 2: zenon Analyzer in the Cloud

In this process, zenon Analyzer is installed in the cloud in full. The data is stored locally on the respective zenon Operator or zenon Supervisor. For reports, zenon Analyzer gets this local data and creates the respective reports. This solution is primarily interesting if there are several production sites that record data independent of one another. The investment costs and running costs are low; the solution can be easily scaled up if required.


Scenario 3: Both Data and zenon Analyzer in the Cloud

With this scenario, the infrastructure is almost completely moved to the cloud. The data is stored in the cloud and zenon Analyzer is also installed in the cloud. You thus no longer need to worry about data storage and the server infrastructure. The internet connection is no longer a limiting factor, because the data connection within the cloud is extremely fast. Here too, there is a decisive advantage in location independence: regardless of whether you have several production sites, regardless of where the energy manager is, the data can always be evaluated and analyzed anywhere. With this solution too, the costs are low and the storage capacity and computing power can be adapted individually and expanded quickly.


Energy data management with a certain something – Reports from the cloud

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

If you have decided to introduce an EDMS, you have several possibilities for implementation. EDMS is generally set up locally and embedded into the existing IT infrastructure. Here there will be one-time investment costs in hardware and software, and the ongoing support must be guaranteed. The advantage of this solution is that you have it all in your hands, although the centralization, the cost of investment and the administrative expenses can be disadvantageous, at least initially. Alternatively, you can move parts of the EDMS to the cloud and thus minimize the investment costs and the ongoing support work.


Why use Cloud Services?

The cloud offers some interesting benefits that make moving an energy data management system to the cloud interesting for companies of any size. The advantages are both financial and organizational:

  • Low, one-time investment costs
  • Location-independent EDMS
  • Quick and simple availability

And: it is the ideal solution if you are looking for a system that you can expand flexibly according to your needs. If, for example, production is distributed over several sites, then it does not matter where the energy manager is based. Integration is not significantly different from a local installation. You can implement the cloud solution flexibly, because both zenon and zenon Analyzer offer secure connections to Microsoft Azure. The following scenarios are possible:

  • Data in the cloud; zenon Analyzer local
  • zenon Analyzer in the cloud; data local
  • Both data and zenon Analyzer in the cloud

These three scenarios will be described in more detail in next week’s blog post.

zenon EDMS: Energy Data Management with a System

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

EDMS Energy consumption comparison per bottleCurrently only a few topics are as widely discussed as the directive of the European Union to increase energy efficiency. There are a number of solutions which support companies to achieve their energy goals. However, most are limited to the minimum legal requirements for the monitoring and recording of energy consumption and load profiles. This is an option, of course, but not the best one by a long shot. This is because implementing the legal requirements is, at best, just a scratch on the surface. A meaningful evaluation of energy efficiency is only possible if the energy used is also compared to the actual value created. To do this, it is necessary to include production data. Only then is it possible for companies to see how efficiently they really use energy.

zenon Energy Data Management System

When it is a matter of not just somehow managing energy data, but also increasing efficiency and reducing costs, we recommend our zenon Energy Data Management System (EDMS). First of all: it is not an off-the-shelf EDMS, but instead a customized solution package that can be individually adapted to your requirements. It meets the requirements of the TÜV SÜD “Certified Energy Data Management” standard and was certified accordingly. The zenon EDMS thus provides you with optimum support when implementing your ISO 50001 certification too.

A particular advantage of the zenon EDMS is that you do not need any specific hardware for the recording of consumption data. The zenon EDMS adapts to your infrastructure, not the other way round. Integration with existing systems can even take place during ongoing production. It also supports over 300 communication protocols and interfaces. You can thus include energy data from various sources. Metering points that do not allow automated recording due to their location can be read and recorded manually as offline meters. These meters and the attendant measuring devices are managed and administered in zenon using the specialized Metering Point Administration module.

When setting up the meters and measuring devices, you can set the parameters for recording the data in full. After this, you can flexibly visualize the energy consumption data in the familiar zenon way. Reports and key figures can also be displayed in real time.

High quality evaluation of historical data is another essential function of an effective energy data management system. The reporting software zenon Analyzer, with its enormous variety and flexibility, comes into play here. Reports are not predefined and fixed in zenon Analyzer; they are available as report templates. You can simply amend these with the supplied zenon Analyzer Management Studio. Once you have configured a report template optimally for your requirements, you can derive the report from it. In this way, a number of reports can be created from just one report template, offering many different perspectives on energy consumption: be it for a machine, a production list, the complete operating area or with filtering for batches, shifts and much more.

Even the basic zenon EDMS license includes ten report templates with different subject areas for trend reports, load curves, cost evaluations, annual load duration curves and more. As an option, further analyses such as a Sankey diagram, waterfall diagram or OEE analysis are possible.

With the zenon EDMS and zenon Analyzer, you no longer only measure and report on energy data, you can also assess it in relation to other recorded values and thus measure productivity or review it against your own key performance indicators. You not only record how much energy you have consumed; you can also evaluate how this energy was used. For example, you can receive key figures detailing how much energy you have used per day, per batch or per item.

You can access these reports at any time using whichever web browser you prefer. You do not need to install a client or a plug-in. You can create the reports required on a cyclical basis automatically and receive them via email.


Managing your meters, providing the values – the Metering Point Administration

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

MeteringPointAdministrationDo you want to establish energy data management at your plant? You´re using a mixture of meters with just a display and no I/Os etc. connected to zenon? You want to have an overview of the meters and metering points at your site? zenon´s new Metering Point Administration might be the perfect tool for you.

The Metering Point Administration allows you to maintain a list of metering points and meters, stored in an SQL database. You are provided with all the required properties (type, manufacturer, serial number, equipment model, etc.) to easily group the list as you wish and find what you are looking for. By using the same database structure as the Industrial Maintenance Manager (IMM) you can even define maintenance tasks for your meters.

Every metering point provides values to zenon. Absolute values read from the metering points (automatically or manually) can be converted into relative values and be automatically stored in archives. This conversion considers the exchange of meters which would normally lead to negative relative values and thus to incorrect reports. If, for whatever reason, there are still incorrect values in the archives, the metering point administration offers a convenient way to modify them. The archives filled by the Metering Point Administration work perfectly with the zenon Analyzer to provide all different kinds reports, including OEE and EDMS reports.

Paving the Way for more energy efficiency – Energy Management Systems

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Among the different technologies, we will now concentrate on “Energy Management Systems”. According to the Energy Efficiency Report (see my previous blog entry), these solutions enable the efficiency of industrial plants to be maximized by monitoring their consumption, production and utilization. These systems comprise specific equipment for the measurement of energy consumption or for interface with existing devices connected to centralized data collection, processing and display units. These units display energy performance indicators (EnPIs), signal any faults and generate reports to support of management decisions. Such systems can also send commands to the process in order to optimize its operation.

A so-called EDMS (Energy Data Management System) based on zenon Supervisor and zenon Analyzer offered by COPA-DATA belongs to this category of products. It is interesting to note that the payback period for these systems is under one year. Actually, for some industries, payback comes in just a few months. According to the report, energy management systems in an industrial environment can provide energy cost savings ranging from 3 % to 10 % with cost outlays ranging from € 20,000 to € 150,000, depending on the complexity of the plant.

What turnover can be expected from energy efficiency interventions?

Considering all industrial, residential and service businesses in the mechatronics industry, the report estimates an “anticipated” potential overall annual turnover in the Italian market, from now to 2020, of approximately € 7.4 billion or about 0.4 % of Italy‘s GDP. Looking at energy management systems in the industrial sector alone, potential sales of € 53 million per year have been estimated, as broken down in the figure below.

As a result, these interventions could bring 8.3 MTOE (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent) of final energy savings: more than half of the energy efficiency objective set by the National Energy Strategy (March 2013 SEN).

Potential anticipated market in 2020 for macro industrial sectors in Italy, expressed in millions €/year.  Source: Translated an re-drawn based on the Energy Efficiency Report 2013. Energy & Strategy Group. Polytechnic University of Milan.

Potential anticipated market in 2020 for macro industrial sectors in Italy, expressed in millions €/year.
Source: Translated and re-drawn based on the Energy Efficiency Report 2013. Energy & Strategy Group. Polytechnic University of Milan.


The 2013 Energy Efficiency Report presents a situation that is essentially positive. On the one hand, the legislation and government incentives could be improved and expanded, on the other, there are some very interesting prospects for diverse types of interventions that can be implemented right now, such as inverters, electric motors, cogeneration and energy management systems.

There is an important internal market business opportunity in the Italian mechatronics industry with increased competitiveness for manufacturing companies through energy cost reductions. In the end, all of this will bring reductions in atmospheric emissions in compliance with the “20-20-20 Climate and Energy Package” objectives. Let us then seize this opportunity. Let us follow Henry Ford‘s suggestion quoted at the outset and learn something new. We are ready to provide support for your implementation of Energy Data Management Systems (EDMS) using zenon, which is TÜV SÜD certified in compliance with chapter 4.6.1 of the ISO 50001 standard.

The environment and our children will be thankful.


Paving the Way for more energy efficiency – Insights from the Energy Efficiency Report 2013

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The time is right. The Energy & Strategy Group at the Polytechnic University of Milan issued its 2013 Energy Efficiency Report in December. This report examined the topic of energy efficiency in Italy through an analysis of the market and the players involved, with the objective of identifying and quantifying the business opportunities stemming from it. These opportunities concern the big energy consumers, where any cost reduction brings an immediate increase in operating margins. These opportunities also impact manufacturers of equipment, plants and system integrators: an industry branch where Italy has a solid tradition of expertise.

The ISO 50001 certification may be seen as a dual opportunity. On the one hand, it avoids the obligatory energy audits required by the soon to be transposed 2012/27/EU Directive. On the other hand, it encourages businesses to become aware of their own energy consumption profile and to set up a strategy for continuous improvement in energy efficiency. That is why in October 2013 there were 168 ISO 50001-certified companies in Italy, as opposed to 24 in the previous year. That is a 600% increase. Nevertheless, the gap between Italy and Germany is still huge. In October 2013 there were 2,234 ISO 50001-certified companies in Germany, also thanks to a system of incentives that provided tax breaks or energy fee discounts for certified companies. Considering the fact that Italy‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 40% smaller than Germany‘s, it becomes clear how much work there is still to do in Italy in terms of ISO 50001 certification.

That is why FIRE (Italian Federation for Energy Efficiency) has, for some time, requested targeted incentives for ISO 50001-certified businesses as a foundation for a serious energy efficiency policy that would avoid “palliative” legislative measures (such as the purported “Energy Eater Decree” of April 5, 2013) which do not address the root problem. The report estimates that ISO 50001 will create a projected business turnover of between € 50 million and € 100 million for certification support consultancy services alone.

Omitting residential construction and concentrating on industrial applications, the report analyzes the energy features of the most important industries, assessing possible efficiency improvement interventions and their impact on margins (see Figure 1). As is made clear in Figure 1, the report estimates that through the adoption of energy efficiency solutions, energy costs can be reduced between 3% and 25%, which potentially can increase margins between 1% and 27% depending on the industry.

EnMS in Italy - Imapct on EBITDA margin

Figure 1: Impact of efficiency interventions on energy costs and gross operating margins (EBITDA margin), considering the most energy-intensive industries.

This is especially interesting for the paper, glass, ceramics, brick and steelmaking industries. However, what are the expected payback periods? Payback periods are estimated depending on whether incentives will be used or not and if the replacement of existing plants is to be voluntary or forced. Figure 2 shows payback periods considering incentives, in the event of forced replacement due to obsolescence or the breakdown of existing plants and equipment.


Figure 2: Payback periods for the major industrial sectors expressed in years.

Paving the Way for more energy efficiency – findings from Italy

Monday, October 13th, 2014

ipad(3)_Energy costs report for fillings_EN


According to a 2013 Energy Efficiency Report, Italian industry could obtain up to a 27% increase in operating margins through improvements in energy efficiency, generating an internal market for businesses in the mechatronics industry of € 7.4 billion per year.


“He who always does what he can already do, will remain what he is.” I believe that Henry Ford‘s words have never been as appropriate as they are today. In the market, in professional life, in politics or even for parents raising their children, the paradigms used to decode the world around us have changed. National and European institutions are suffering from an identity crisis. They seem to be unable to find their footing to “get a grip on” today‘s systemic crisis. What is certain is that all of us, like it or not, will come out of this situation somewhat changed.

Even the topic of energy efficiency is an invitation for businesses to change. This is particularly true for Italian companies, forced to put up with 30 % higher energy costs than in Germany. This is why the Italian government has given top priority to energy efficiency within its National Energy Strategy (SEN).

Relevant national standards and legislation are being stabilized and refined. On the one hand, there is the transposition of the Directive 2012/27/EU, which imposes energy audit or certification obligations for the energy management systems of all non-SME companies. On the other hand, there is the streamlining of the economic incentives for energy efficiency called TEE (Energy Efficiency Certificates, or “White Certificates”).

Italy‘s situation is fairly clear from the standpoint of its legislation. Energy diagnoses are described in the UNI/TR 11428 standard, in anticipation of the issue of the ISO 50002 standard. The Energy Management System is defined by ISO 50001. Businesses that intend to offer energy efficiency services (ESCo – Energy Service Company) must be certified in compliance with UNI/CEI 11352. Professionals will be required to pass a certification examination in compliance with UNI/CEI 11339 (EGE – Esperto nella Gestione dell’Energia, Energy Management Expert).

Applying energy efficiency is not merely a technical issue. Of course, systems and equipment diagnoses and sizing are required. However, payback periods have to be calculated and funding sources found as well.
In the end, management has to be convinced of the advantage of the investment while personnel need to be trained in energy awareness. Indeed, using energy efficiently is, above all, a cultural issue. This is why the EGE is an interesting, innovative and polyhedral position, in line with the “change” posited at the beginning of this blog entry. This is an opportunity to be seized by young professionals and new start-ups in this stagnant job market.

In my next blog post you will get insights from the Energy Efficiency Report 2013, carried out by the Polytechnic University of Milan.

The Ergonomic Food & Beverage Factory – Application Engineering: cost-effective flexibility

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

FNB_Packaging_Line_OverviewThe automation and IT infrastructure of an ergonomic factory cannot remain “untouched” by the demands of the dynamic food & beverage market as well as internal improvement cycles, such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act. An energy data management system, for instance, needs to be adapted quickly to the realities of the plant: new equipment, new meters for various media (electricity, water, compressed air etc.). The energy manager and his colleagues can continually raise the requirements at different levels of the system. How to better involve the operator through local EnPIs? Which new analysis should be implemented through new energy reports? Which supplementary correlations between production and consumption indicators are needed?

A system which is the subject of such frequent changes should be, of course, based on a technology which is strongly built on principles such as: modularity, open communication in all directions, easy networking, extensibility scalability, and reusability. These characteristics are at the heart of zenon´s specialties, empowering the system integrator when using the zenon development environment. As a result, automation and IT specialists cannot fail to assure an always up-to-date and functional work environment for production people. In the ergonomic factory, reliable and secure systems can be integrated and maintained even under time pressure, and with far less stress.

zenon makes high technology available for easy and fast integration, through a standard and internationally-used software package. The result is that increased flexibility is no longer associated with constrictive business dependencies and high costs. The ergonomic factory is always ready to adapt to dynamic market requirements and is always in a leading position.

The Ergonomic Food & Beverage Factory – Continuous improvement: dominating complexity

Friday, September 26th, 2014

EDMS with zenonIn the food & beverage industry the efforts towards top performance are mainly based on the continuous improvement of the processes, for instance in the context of standards such as ISO 22000 and ISO 50001. Industry dynamism brings much variability in product design, packaging, process or production equipment. However, the plant managers, production supervisors, brew masters, packaging managers or process specialists are challenged to constantly keep alive the appetite for sustainable business, better performance and reduced costs.

How does zenon make the way to high performance easier? zenon´s core competencies are covering the complete information flow across the ergonomic factory. Valuable and complete visualization and analysis is possible only if data is collected from every relevant source. The time saved with less manual data input can be invested in optimization initiatives. Robust and fast data communication is the decisive base for real-time automatic calculation of key performance indicators such as OEE and Energy Performance Indicators (EnPI). Production teams with clear insight on current results can react quickly in order to ameliorate process issues. They are in control and confident with their decisions.

zenon offers much more. The archived plant production data is subject to further analysis to highlight improvement potential. Filter mechanisms and top-down interaction approaches ensure an always clearly contextualized focus on management information. Performance indicators aggregated in reports help to identify improvement measures. Where can we further improve the costs per mineral water bottle? What are the most important performance losses in our packaging area and how do we deal with them? Production management faces many such questions.

zenon processes the necessary amount of data in order to deliver business-relevant answers. In an ergonomics-based approach, this support for optimization has to be available any time for every involved team member, no matter where. PCs, panels, mobile devices or smartphones – all can become an access point to the plant optimization software tools, due to zenon’s software technologies such as Client-Server, Web Server, Message Control and zenon Everywhere.

The ergonomic factory doesn’t keep secrets from managers and production supervisors. Through openness and flexibility, zenon reduces routine work, encourages creativity in respect to improvement methodologies and secures a successful path towards top performance.