Austrian electrical wholesaler Rexel Austria has placed an order with Siemens to deliver a cloud-based energy monitoring system that will be deployed in its logistics centre in Weisskirchen.

The system is expected to reduce annual energy consumption by up to 15 per cent.How IoT is utilized to deliver energy savings

The scope of supply includes 66 communication-capable 7KM PAC 1500 and 7KM PAC 4200 power measuring devices, powermanager energy monitoring software, and connection to MindSphere, the IoT operating system from Siemens.

A separate app, which is programmed by Siemens developers in Austria in close collaboration with Rexel, analyzes current power consumption values and makes the savings potential visible only to Rexel – Siemens is not given access to the data.

In this way, Siemens says it is helping Rexel efficiently control power usage while also developing a new business model: Rexel is planning to use this technology at another site belonging to the company and, in the future, sell the energy saving solution to other SMEs in all industries.

Industrial plants and commercial buildings such as data centres, office complexes, shopping centres and logistics centres are among the largest consumers of any energy system. Operators are faced with the challenge of using power as efficiently as possible to reduce consumption and in turn cut costs.

“The EU Energy Efficiency Directive provided the necessary impetus for a proper development,” said Michael Hauser, head of the Industry Business Unit at Rexel. “A 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption is a respectable amount for a high-bay warehouse. We’re pioneers in energy management and have also discovered a new business model.”

The measuring devices record energy flows in Rexel’s central warehouse around the clock. The sensors and measuring devices are connected to MindSphere and supply data on how much energy each machine is using for each activity. This data serves as the basis for operational energy management according to ISO 50001 and can be used in various energy consumption analyses.

Rexel is one of the first companies to transmit energy data to the MindSphere, Siemens’ open, cloud-based IoT operating system that connects products, plants, systems, and machines and makes it possible to use the massive amounts of data from the Internet of Things in comprehensive analyses.

Thanks to a specially developed app, data analyses are now possible in the cloud and the optimization potential is tremendous: Rexel currently consumes 1.4 GWh of electricity and 1.3 GWh of thermal energy per year. Using the new energy technology, it expects to save roughly 150,000 kWh of electricity per year with no loss of quality or convenience.

Rexel intends to use the experience it has gained with Siemens in the course of optimizing its own energy use for a new line of business: advising industrial and commercial customers.

Christoph Czaby, Business Manager Energy Solutions at Rexel Austria, explained: “To make the system more user-friendly, we’re working with Siemens in Austria to develop our own application – or MindApp – for MindSphere that supplies the collected energy consumption data to customers in a simple and straightforward form.”

The MindApp should be ready for use by the summer and Siemens believes the Internet of Things is much more important for small and medium-sized companies. “SMEs don’t have the large IT departments and computing centers that exist in larger companies, so they have to be able to rely on expert partners such as Siemens with its MindSphere,” said Rainer Brade, Product Manager for Energy Monitoring at Siemens Austria. “There they can precisely analyze their data and develop recommendations for action.”

IoT in the energy sector is a key pillar of Electrify Europe conference and exhibition in Vienna next month. For more details click here.