Consumption data concerning the use of electricity, water, heat or gas in networked buildings, properties, towns or plants can be made available via the Cloud. These large quantities of data – often referred to as ‘Big Data’ – can be used by building occupants, building operators or municipalities in order to optimise energy consumption. Malfunctions and excessive consumption can be easily identified. This identification of malfunctions, as well as gathering detailed, highly accurate consumption statistics – often remotely – is streamlined through this process.
Beckhoff supplies the ideal platform for Smart Metering in PC-based control. Consumption data is cost-effectively acquired via modular Beckhoff I/O terminals. These flexible devices are ideal for the most diverse types of signals, either by the direct connection of a sensor, by distributed I/Os on a fieldbus (e.g. EtherCAT, PROFINET or BACnet/IP) or via lower-level buses such as M-Bus. Control, regulation, and data pre-processing are performed by an Embedded PC, which is easily scalable with different performance classes. The programming of PLC functions, the integration of program codes as required (such as for C++), and the configuration of I/O points, database interfaces, and the OPC UA (Unified Architecture) communication protocol, all take place in the universal TwinCAT engineering environment. A modern, Cloud-connected system interface can be realised via the TwinCAT database server. Optionally, the data can also be buffered and analysed locally in an Embedded PC.
With OPC UA, the Embedded PC serves as the client and the higher-level energy management software as the OPC UA server. OPC UA offers the option of secure data communication, standardised according to IEC 62541.