Why should manufacturers choose solar?
Every company loves to receive feedback from customers. In the case of EvoEnergy, rather than simply asking clients their opinions specific to the product it installed, the business took the time to ask: why solar?
Here are the answers to those questions, from Express Bonding and A.M.P.-Rose, courtesy of EvoEnergy.
Alastair Lee, the production manager for laminate fabricators Express Bonding, talks about his experience with EvoEnergy and solar nearly two years on from their installation.
Why did you want to get solar panels for the company?
I just look at it as being the future of the way companies should be run. I wanted to reduce the electric cost and I’m trying to keep the company as green as possible and I thought that was a good way of adding to our green credentials.
Did you consider any green energy options other than solar panels?
We’ve got a renewable heating central boiler - we got that in January 2013 - and then I wanted to add to what we could do with the site, and the solar panels were the next step in the evolution.
What was it like working while the panels were being installed? Did the installation disrupt anything?
No, EvoEnergy worked around our day to day hours to avoid any disruption to the business. We don’t work on Fridays - we work 40 hours Monday to Thursday and shut down on Fridays - so they came in Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and had it finished over the course of one weekend.
Did that fit the schedule you had in mind?
A lot quicker actually. In early discussion we were looking at about a week to ten days, something like that. That was just the solar panels, then their electrician came in and connected the electrics, but it was about seven days (including weekends) quicker than I thought it would be.
Was there any one thing you wish you’d been warned about the installation process beforehand?
No, the project manager went through everything with me. He was also onsite before the installation date. We talked quite a lot about what we wanted to do and I was pretty well informed about how we would go forward with this. It was a very good team actually.
Since the installation has everything worked as expected? Has it met your expectations of what you wanted from a solar system?
It very much has, yes. It’s allowed us to install new equipment without having to think of the additional electricity consumption so much. We have increased how much electricity we use and it doesn’t add to your costs overall for the entire year because you’ve got the solar panels already there doing their bit. They’ve been excellent - they’ve been better than expected actually. The returns have been very worthwhile so far.
What’s been the most pleasantly surprising thing about having the panels?
The electric bills! Especially in the summer. I think September was probably the best, with the lowest amount that we’ve been charged.
What would be some advice that you would give to other companies looking to get a solar system?
Don’t worry about the initial cost of it, because although it does seem like quite an outlay at first, you’ll be very happy with the payments and the reduction in the electric bill.
A.M.P-Rose, an engineering company that supplies machinery to the sweets and confectionery manufacturing industry, had solar panels installed on their new factory at the end of 2015. EvoEnergy spoke to their sales and finance director, Paul Mann, to find out his thoughts on installation process and what the months since then have been like.
Why did you want to get solar panels for the company?
The pay back on solar was fairly good and with the feed-in tariff reducing at the end of that year (Jan 2016), we decided to install sooner to ensure we received the best returns possible at the time.
Was it an easy decision to install solar panels, or were there things you wanted to find out first?
There were quite a few things. One of the most important things other than the financials was to be sure that the company supplying them was competent, reputable and that the quality of the equipment was good.
When you were thinking about getting solar panels did anything in your plans change once you started talking to EvoEnergy?
I think it was fairly straightforward. They were able to do what we wanted.
During the installation process was it difficult working around the installers? Was there any disruption?
I wouldn’t say it was difficult. It was a new factory we were building, so there wasn’t any production going on in the factory at the time, but we were doing other work building the factory, so [the installers and the construction workers] had to work around each other. It all worked out pretty well.
In that regard were you able to plan the installation alongside the building of the factory?
Yes. They [the installers and the construction workers] had to work with each other at times with getting access to put the solar panels on, but it did work well overall with all of them working together.
Is there anything you wish you’d known about the installation process from the start?
No, for the physical installation I think we were all happy with that.
Has the system itself worked as expected? Has it met your energy requirements?
It’s all going very well. The information I’ve found recently is very good - you get the readout of what you generate which is good. We’re happy with it.
What’s been the most pleasantly surprising thing about having the solar panels?
The installation was very smooth - that was good.
What advice would you give to any other companies looking to get their own solar system?
Make sure they evaluate their options and be confident in the figures that are presented back to them. Also be sure that the company you go with is competent and going to be around to support you after the installation.
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.