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

Minneapolis, MN—Honeywell reports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has picked it 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.


Minneapolis, MN— To help the nation's manufacturers save energy and reduce emissions, Honeywell reports that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has picked it 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 con-trol many processes. For instance, industrial processes that physically or chemically transform materials are large users of heat and energy, and their lack of precise, descriptive, real-time information causes sub-optimal or non-controlled processes and higher-than-necessary energy consumption.

'This project is a bold step toward capturing the potential in emerging wireless and sensing technologies to serve the needs of manufacturers across several industries,' says Dan Sheflin, VP and chief technology officer of Honeywell's Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business. 'Honeywell is delighted to work with the DOE and other industrial players to drive practical, low-cost systems that will produce a significant change in the way manufacturers operate, and make U.S. industries more efficient and competitive worldwide.'

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.

'The ultimate objective is to help industry optimize the use of energy, space and other resources,' says Sheflin. 'Wireless and sensing technologies, including advances in installing and managing sensors and other control devices, can help manufacturers save time and money; use timely, more robust data; and be more aware of their processes.'

Eight key industries use significant amounts of heat and energy to physically and chemically transform raw materials ultimately used to produce finished goods. Classified by the DOE as 'Industries of the Future,' these industries, including aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, metal casting, mining, petroleum and steel, offer an opportunity for improving efficiencies that will contribute to reducing industry's energy consumption. Collectively, these industries supply 90% of the materials vital to the U.S. economy; produce $1 trillion in annual shipments; directly employ more than 3 million people; and indirectly provide an additional 12 million jobs at all skill levels.

The project is also important because it can forge strong, innovation-enabling partnerships between the DOE and U.S. industry that can increase industry competitiveness. The project brings together industrial leaders who will share, with the federal government, the expense of finding new solutions. This co-investment allows the DOE to offer a project that can increase the competitiveness of U.S. companies by decreasing the cost of innovation and accelerating the adoption of new technologies.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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