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The Buenavista del Cobre copper mine, in Cananea, México

Power supply for industry

Intelligent power distribution in industry brings advantages

Over the coming ten years, electrical power will become the most important source of energy worldwide due to the increasing share of renewable energy sources. Power quality, supply security, and energy efficiency are already vital requirements for the industry’s power supply. Let us explain how these challenges can be mastered in different industries by using the examples of a Mexican copper mine, a Europe-wide supplier to the automotive industry, and a chemical plant in Singapore. 

Power moves everything: from the industrial sectors of oil and gas, mining, chemicals, and the automotive industry to data centers and airports. However, the previous unidirectional power generation and distribution system is being replaced by multidirectional alternatives. Ralf Christian, CEO of the energy management division at Siemens, says: “Today, more and more electricity is being generated in a decentralized way from renewable energy sources. It is the basis for a sustainable power supply in industrial plants, buildings, and infrastructures.” A growing number of companies are already generating their own power using renewable energy, for example to cover peak loads during production-intense periods. 

Feeding an increasing amount of renewable energy into the grid makes power systems more and more complex. This can result in voltage fluctuations and can therefore disrupt plant operations and even cause downtime. Ensuring plant availability and profitability with new technologies such as digitalization is essential. The answer is to design a holistic, reliable, adjustable, and intelligent power supply system. The following stories illustrate three examples from different industrial branches.

Power grid monitoring in real time at Grupo México

Ensuring a stable power supply for a flexible and efficient production in increasingly complex power grids requires planning and investment security. A comprehensive energy monitoring system enables a company to remain competitive. 

The same goes for Grupo México, where efficient and market-adjusted production methods ensure high availability. The Mexican company automated the power supply of its Buenavista del Cobre copper mine and was able to reduce downtime thanks to a predictive maintenance concept. To achieve this, Grupo México implemented an intelligent network control platform that is remotely operated from the control room. This new system provides Grupo México with a real-time overview of its power grid. Doris Solomon, supervisor at the distribution network control room, says: “You have a full remote overview of what is currently happening at all the substations.” This allows the employees at the control center to quickly assess new situations and make the right decisions. As a result, disruptions are prevented, downtime is reduced by 60 percent, considerable cost savings can be made, and personnel safety is increased. “With this project, we strengthened our position in a competitive market. We are now able to run our system much more flexibly and reduce the overall power consumption costs,” summarizes Alberto Arriaga, project manager at Grupo México.

By automation of the power supply disruptions are prevented, downtime is reduced by 60 percent, and considerable cost savings could be made at Buenavista del Cobre copper mine

Lowering power consumption at Gestamp

The new and changing mix of power consumers and feeders requires an automated power supply system with an increased data volume for monitoring. As energy costs are substantial for industry, however, maximizing the efficiency of power supply and consumption is of utmost importance. The automotive supplier Gestamp from Bilbao, for example, collects energy data from all power consumers using a complex monitoring system and forwards them to the Siemens control center in Seville for analysis. The persons in charge at Gestamp receive a detailed analysis of all consumer data including specific suggestions for improvement in real time via a web interface. “Thanks to a cloud-based efficient energy management platform that uses big data to optimize consumption, Siemens has enabled Gestamp, a multinational company in metal autoparts manufacturing, to reduce energy consumption by up to 15% at 14 of its plants,” says Santiago Esarte, energy efficiency manager at Gestamp, about the energy monitoring system. 

The plant consumption rationalization resulting from the data analysis and the solutions offered by this platform has enabled Gestamp to save almost 45 Gwh within the past 12 months

Integrated power management solutions at Evonik

An advantage of automation is that it makes power supply and distribution more intelligent. Holistic concepts that ensure stable and reliable power supply where and when it is needed are in high demand.

Evonik was looking for a reliable partner to provide a fully integrated power management solution for its first plant in Singapore that produces methionine, an amino acid used as feed additive in animal nutrition. A reliable power supply system was required to keep production up and running, as well as to fulfill the requirements of the process industry. For Evonik, these included ensuring plant flexibility, high plant availability, and optimal power and resource consumption, while safeguarding the high investment costs. "We were impressed by the product quality, expertise, customer service, and commitment Siemens presented," says James A. Ledger, project manager at Evonik. "Even under difficult and critical circumstances, the project management team mastered the challenges with great personal commitment."

With a fully integrated energy management solution for power supply, monitoring, control, and automation in its methionine plant in Singapore, Evonik hones its competitive edge
Picture credits: Siemens AG 1,2; Gestamp 3; Evonik (SEA) Pte Ltd 4