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RS Helps Companies in the Energy and Utilities Industry Amp Up Asset Management Efforts

February 1, 2024

RS offers an extensive range of remote condition monitoring solutions ideal for amping up asset management efforts in the energy and utilities industry.

Energy and utilities industry assets extending throughout the oil and gas, water and wastewater, and electrical grid segments are extremely valuable in terms of both monetary and social costs. But many of its assets in the U.S. — particularly those in the water and wastewater and electrical grid segments — are currently subject to significant risk, ranging from aging infrastructure and supply chain disruptions to labor shortages, natural disasters, and geopolitical events like direct attacks. Thanks to the 2023 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the energy and utilities industry segments will receive a portion of more than $50 billion earmarked for critical improvements, many of which can be implemented with the help of robust remote condition monitoring solutions.

Remote condition monitoring technologies, such as sensors, PLCs, and IIoT technologies, are some of the most effective asset management solutions available today. These solutions allow users to remotely access real-time data about the status, behavior, and performance of connected machinery. Users can then leverage this data to proactively identify and correct potential problems before they result in unplanned downtime, add associated expenses, or compromise site safety. Some even allow users to implement corrective actions remotely, which can be especially beneficial for energy and utilities operations with hazardous environments or remote facilities.

As such, these products are key to helping energy and utility companies overcome current challenges, eliminate unplanned downtime, improve profitability, better protect employees, equipment, and the environment, and reduce the time, cost, and manpower associated with conducting on-site maintenance and repairs.

What’s more, these technologies have proliferated in recent years, which has made implementing them far easier and more affordable than you might imagine. RS offers an extensive selection of remote condition monitoring solutions optimized for use in harsh environments, like oil and gas, water and wastewater, and electrical grid facilities, from many of the automation and process control industry’s most trusted suppliers.

Remote condition monitoring solutions essential for improving asset management efforts in the energy and utilities industry and readily available at RS include:

  • Industrial controllers like PLCs, which receive performance data from one or more machines and devices, present that data to on-site or remote users, and send operating instructions based on the analysis of that data to locally or remotely connected equipment, including motors, valves, and safety shut-offs. Opto 22’s groov edge-programmable industrial controllers (EPIC) are engineered to provide control, connectivity, data handling, and visualization at the edge of your network and are ideal for IIoT and automation applications. They have a compact and sturdy form factor rated for operating temperatures extending from -20°C to +70°C and are equipped with a high-resolution, resistive-touch LCD display for I/O and network configuration, troubleshooting, and system HMI, as well as a variety of security features that — combined with their rugged form factor and extensive functionality — make them especially well-suited for use in oil and gas applications.
  • Remote I/O modules, which enable data communication between a central processing unit, like a PLC, and remote devices, like sensors, control valves, motors, and actuators, within an extensive network. Phoenix Contact’s Radioline remote I/O modules are equipped with trusted Wireless 2.0 technology optimized for reliability in large industrial environments, as well as AES encryption, frequency hopping and coexistence management capabilities, and a thumbwheel that allows users to assign inputs and outputs quickly and easily without any programming. They’re also capable of transmission ranges up to 32km, transmitting both I/O signal and serial data, and supporting various network structures ranging from simple point-to-point connections to complex mesh networks with up to 250 stations. In addition, models like the RAD-900-DAIO6 feature NEMA 4X housings and are rated for use in ATEX Zone 2 environments, designed to reduce installation time and complexity, and compatible with AC mains or DC control voltages.
  • Flowmeters, which measure the volume of water traveling through piping. Endress+Hauser’s Picomag Series electromagnetic flowmeters are designed to support space-saving initiatives, flexible installation, secure and simple commissioning, and intuitive operation. They also leverage a bidirectional measurement principle that’s virtually independent of pressure, density, temperature, and viscosity, which makes them ideal for process quality control and monitoring in utilities applications. Other features that make them well-suited for water and wastewater applications include shock-, vibration-, and ingress-resistant (IP65/67) form factors equipped with IO-Link capabilities, various I/Os for all line sizes, and a large, user-friendly, backlit display for local process monitoring.
  • IIoT gateways, which aggregate data from multiple smart devices, sensors, and IIoT modules and send it to the cloud. Red Lion’s FlexEdge IIoT gateways have a future-proof modular design that allows users to add field-installable sleds as requirements change or new communication standards emerge; make it quick and easy to configure secure communications or robust automation capabilities; and boast HazLoc certifications including UL Class 1, Division 2 and ATEX/IECEx. In addition, models like the DA70A support more than 300 industrial drivers and IIoT cloud connectors, are compatible with almost every PLC and industrial equipment brand, and offer a variety of security features, including VPN client/server capabilities with certificate generation and real-time data, event, and security logging with cryptographic signature support.
  • Protocol converters, which enable interoperability between devices or systems with incompatible communication protocols. Moxa’s MGate MB3170 and MB3270 Series serial-to-Ethernet Modbus gateways have a rugged, DIN-rail-mountable design with optional built-in optical isolation for serial signals and support auto device routing for easy configuration, TCP port or IP address routing for flexible deployment, up to 32 Modbus TCP servers, and up to 31 or 62 Modbus RTU/ASCII slaves. They also feature built-in Ethernet cascading for easy wiring, emergency request tunnels for QoS control, and embedded Modbus traffic monitoring for easy troubleshooting and are available with operating temperature ratings extending from -40°C to +75°C.
  • Panel meters or digital power and energy meters, which display the analog or digital signal value of connected devices, such as sensors, and often include alarm and data transfer capabilities. Trumeter’s Vista Touch power meters provide optimal power monitoring for single, split, and three-phase networks and support proven industrial communication protocols including Modbus RTU (RS485) and TCP/IP (Ethernet). These IoT-ready power meters also feature a vibrant graphical display with a touchscreen interface that enables full configurability and a free subscription to the Trumeter Cloud Dashboard that enables built-in remote monitoring capabilities right out of the box. Additional features include 1% accuracy across the rated input range, standard ¼ DIN mounting, and the ability to load and save configuration data to a USB flash drive for quick setups.
  • HMIs, which are graphical control panels used to monitor and manage PLCs, remote terminal units (RTUs), and other intelligent electronic devices (IEDs). Beijer Electronics’ X2 and X2 extreme Series HMIs feature robust die-cast aluminum form factors that ruggedly withstand mechanical stresses and extreme temperatures and have IP65/66, NEMA 4X/12, UL50E Type 4X/12, and marine protection ratings ideal for demanding industrial environments, as well as UL, CE, FCC, and KCC certifications to ensure quality assurance and global compliance. They also feature high-performance LCD touchscreens with customizable interfaces, integrated IEC 61131-3 PLC functionality for enhanced control, and ARM processors that deliver swift program execution and screen transitions, which is essential for complex visualization tasks.
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