U.S. Energy Dept. to use Honeywell's sensing, Ember's wireless technologies

To help U.S. manufacturers save energy and reduce emissions, Honeywell's Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business and Ember Corp. report that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has picked them to participate in a $10-million project co-funded by the department to develop wireless and sensor technologies that can meet plant-floor control challenges, and ...

01/01/2004


To help U.S. manufacturers save energy and reduce emissions, Honeywell's Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business and Ember Corp. report that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has picked them to participate in a $10-million project co-funded by the department to develop wireless and sensor technologies that can meet plant-floor control challenges, and help manufacturers reduce operating costs up to $1 billion per year.

DOE states that manufacturers in several industries face physical and technological barriers that limit their ability to effectively move and manage operational data throughout plant-floor environments. Consequently, they lack accurate, real-time process information sufficient to control many processes.

The project's potential return is significant because of the total energy that U.S. industries consume. DOE and Honeywell believe that solutions comprising sensing, wireless, and control technologies can drive energy savings of up to 256 trillion BTUs per year lessen environmental impacts and increase yields.

Six business units from Honeywell's ACS group have teamed with Honeywell ACS Labs and nearly 20 other industrial team members to establish a cost-shared project that aims to improve process control and automation capabilities specific to industrial applications. Honeywell will work with project team members to develop and apply sensing and wireless technologies to energy-intensive industrial operations. By improving processing and control methods, the DOE project's partners believe manufacturers can improve efficiencies in measuring, analyzing, and controlling gas and liquid process streams that frequently are inefficient and costly.

For example, Ember, a developer of embedded wireless mesh networking technology, and Honeywell ACS business will create a new wireless system architecture that minimizes power consumption in heavy industrial facilities. Ember will provide the embedded wireless networking intelligence that ties together sensor, radio communications, and security technologies from other team members. Ember's EmberNet is a resilient mesh networking protocol that creates robust, self-organizing, self-healing, easy-to-deploy networks.

Ember and Honeywell plan to develop monitoring applications to stem energy loss from industrial components like steam traps, electric motors, etc. Honeywell estimates the wireless mesh network monitoring applications can save up to 192 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) of energy per year, with corresponding cost reductions and environmental benefits. That's nearly as much energy as the entire state of Washington generated by burning natural gas in 2003.





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