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Hybrid virtual metering points – a low-cost, near real-time energy and resource flow monitoring approach for production machines without PLC data connection

Abstract

Transparent energy flows within a factory are the prerequisite for energetic improvements of the involved production machines. With the ongoing digitalization of industrial production, innovative ways of creating energy transparency on the shop floor are emerging. Virtual energy metering points predict the power consumption of a regarded entity and can therefore enable a cost-effective increase in energy transparency on machine level. However, many machines, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have no external data connection, which prevents the use of data-based energy prediction models. In this paper, a near real-time deployable approach to predict the current energy consumption of production machines without a programmable logic controller (PLC) data connection is presented. By using a Raspberry Pi as low-cost edge analytics device, its integrated camera films the optical signals from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) of different PLC modules, which display the switching state signals of various machine sub-units. In a next step, the filmed PLC information is translated into state signals, which are correlated with temporarily measured electric energy data of the production machine as well as its principal sub-units. After an automated model training and hyperparameter optimization process, the empirical black box model is deployed in a near real-time environment on the Raspberry Pi. Thus, a hybrid virtual energy and resource flow metering point of the production machine as well as its sub-units is generated. In addition, challenges like model training for predicting different production processes as well as the necessary data set size for VMP model generation are addressed. The approach is tested and validated for a metal cutting machine tool and a cleaning machine of the ETA Research Factory at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

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Autor|en des ETA-Teams