By Kristine Inserra, Festo Corp.
Energy efficiency is exhibited only in the total application How can you save energy and hence costs in automation technology? This question is not easy to answer for production companies. They are presented with great challenges both in the planning and the operation of new and existing production plants. The reason is that all parameters must be correct in order for a system or machine to be energy-efficient. However, they are very different. What is energy efficient in one case may not necessarily be so in another case. With washing machines, for example, saving energy is very easy: you select the product with the best energy efficiency class (e.g. A++).
Why is that so easy? This is due to the pre-defined usage scenario of the products. Washing machines are closed systems. The energy consumption of several items of equipment can be compared in a standardised manner under pre-defined general conditions. When applying this example to automation technology, it becomes quickly clear that this is not so easy. On the one hand, the system limits are not so clearly definable as for a washing machine. Should only the pneumatic cylinder, the pneumatic control chain – or the entire factory be taken into account? On the other hand, you cannot define any standardised general conditions for automation applications.