Power distribution systems and automation systems are evolving and converging to drive better efficiency across industries. Integrating these systems allows industrial companies, especially energy intensive ones, to save money across the value chain, stay competitive, and provide insight and support for fully optimized operations across the organization.
Traditionally, power distribution and automation systems were sourced, engineered, and operated independently. This is changing as the worlds of energy and automation develop into a more digitally connected environment. For example, ensuring that power-sensitive automation equipment remains operational requires a robust power monitoring program. Conversely, automation systems can boost power reliability and cost savings by improving the speed and accuracy of processes.
The linchpin of this convergence is digitization. Now, using intelligent devices and advanced tools, critical facilities’ power and automation systems can communicate with each other and cooperate for optimal performance.
Industrial automation systems bridge the divide between complexity and human capabilities by using control devices and technology for automated operation and control. They support better and faster decision making by providing operational insight, encourage more efficient use of resources to maximize assets and production output, simplify tasks, and integrate the implementation of plant strategies. Automation systems also boost production value, cut costs, improve safety, and help businesses comply with regulations.
Power management systems are also becoming more technologically sophisticated to keep up with the changing needs of electrical distribution systems. This is becoming increasingly difficult as power management systems must now accommodate and manage more complex and sensitive loads and generation. Meeting these challenges requires intelligent power systems that allow for a faster response to energy opportunities, optimize reliability and power quality, and mitigate risks in critical power environments — all based on actionable information and analytics. These tools also help influence not only how energy is consumed, but also how it’s managed, which can cut energy waste, save money, and improve energy efficiency.
What’s clear is that integrating power and automation systems using the connectedness of IoT can bring together the best features of both systems — enhancing processes and bringing safer, more reliable, efficient, sustainable, and connected power.