Tag: adaptive control

Implementing Energy Solutions that Don’t Jeopardize Your Plant’s Operations

Pharmaceutical manufacturers require 100 percent reliability in their chilled water plants to maintain product quality, ensure the validation of test results and eliminate manufacturing downtime.

Having the “correct” plant chiller sequencing set once is simply not enough to meet ongoing operational demands. On a daily basis, increased loads occur, weather conditions vary and unexpected maintenance issues happen. That’s why continuous, automated optimization is key.

Pharma facility directors can reduce energy costs even in the most demanding environments by tapping into tekWorx engineering expertise and adaptive control algorithms.

Pragmatic optimization solutions

At tekWorx, pragmatic solutions and proven chilled water plant optimization technology help companies minimize plant kW/ton while maximizing the use of existing equipment and limiting implementation downtime. Our CEO® solution, which utilizes the Niagara 4® platform, uses adaptive algorithms to continuously analyze real-time process variables and then automatically adjusts key parameter values for real optimization.

Easily integrated with any BAS, any mechanical configuration and any equipment make/model, the CEO® is the leading choice for effective, operator-free optimization.

Allergan chilled water plant optimization results

tekWorx recently worked with the Allergan Global Energy team to optimize their Irvine, CA, manufacturing site’s chilled water plant. While producing popular products such as BOTOX®, JUVEDERM® and LATISSE®, the company struggled to meet an installed capacity of 6,300 tons due to hydronic issues and the load shedding required on high temperature days.

After an initial assessment, the tekWorx engineering team devised a customized adaptive control strategy enabling the site to:

  • Maximize capacity using minimal kW/ton
  • Improve equipment utilization, which in turn improves redundancy
  • Decrease manual intervention
  • Reduce equipment wear and tear

The team integrated the CEO® solution with Allergan’s BAS to improve utilization and performance – all with minimal downtime. This pragmatic solution yielded tremendous bottom-line savings:

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For more information

Discover how we put our Approachable Expertise® into action for other pharmaceutical companies by reading our online case studies for GSK and Merck. Then contact us to discuss how we can work together to reduce your energy and operating costs with no downtime.

All Energy Optimization Solutions – Simply Put – Are Not Created Equal

As you work to save kWh and $, you want an energy optimization solution that automatically and continuously minimizes consumption. That means it requires no manual intervention to optimize your chilled water plant.

Energy optimization

Optimization projects usually start with an evaluation of the current plan. The evaluation results in recommended measures to reduce kW/ton and a corresponding energy savings projection.

Under the Model-and-Tweak approach, the optimization plan, or “Model,” uses collected data to create a series of operating “recipes.” These contain the values of key operating parameters for the full range of expected load and ambient conditions. As these conditions change during actual operation, the BAS looks up the corresponding values. It then uses them in its program to control the plant equipment.

Model and Tweak: Practical Limitations

The impact of the Model part of the Model-and-Tweak approach on optimizing kW/ton depends heavily on two unavoidable aspects of developing any model:

  • Similarity to the actual system: For example, are there allowances for conditions that cannot be practically modeled, such as piping idiosyncrasies or electrical service limitations? The model can also often miss the all-too-often scenario where the drawings don’t exactly match the “as-built” reality.
  • Operating assumptions: Most models assume that the correct control sequence will always be followed during actual operations. We all know that rarely happens. Models also don’t consider common operational issues, such as equipment performance that doesn’t match the specs or maintenance problems that require override.

The Tweak process compensates for the inherent Model limitations. It starts with actual plant efficiency and equipment operating data collected by the BAS. The Model-and-Tweak supplier technicians periodically review the data and then determine revised recipe values to adjust for the Model limits and further reduce the kW/ton.

The BAS uses the revised parameter values, and the collect/analyze/tweak process is repeated. As with the Model, practical limitations hinder the Tweak effectiveness, in large part because there’s no way to predict the frequency, duration or timing of the disruptive events. The frequency of the Tweak and the technician skill level can also play a part.

Adaptive Control: Real-Time Energy Optimization

The adaptive control approach also starts with a model that produces a set of initial values for the key operating parameters. The difference: The system uses the model’s initial value just once. It doesn’t continuously rely on these values with their inherent limitations. Then, the adaptive algorithms continuously analyze the real-time process variables and automatically adjust the parameter values on-line without operator intervention.

Adaptive control based energy optimization ensures a more energy efficient system than a model-and-tweak solution for three major reasons:

  • There is no manual intervention
  • Using real-time operating data automatically accommodates the piping idiosyncrasies, spec deviations and maintenance events that cannot be modeled
  • There is no delay between the Model and the Tweak – the adjustments immediately impact efficiency

For more information

To learn more about how tekWorx can use the adaptive control approach to increase your plant’s KWh efficiency and cost savings, contact us. Then, follow us on LinkedIn for the most up-to-date news and events.

COACH™: Integrated Chiller Control and Optimization In One


tekWorx recently announced the successful completion of multiple installations of COACH™, an integrated chiller plant control and energy optimization system scalable to plants with as few as two chillers.

Using tekWorx CEO® adaptive control technology to control chillers, pumps, and towers, the COACH ™ continuously optimizes total plant kW per ton. The field-configurable package includes a 17” touchscreen and BMS/web gateway in a NEMA 12 enclosure.

“Traditional optimization systems require a BAS to execute the control function, and the combined cost and complexity is simply impractical for smaller and mid-sized plants,” said Mike Flaherty, tekWorx GM. “Integrating the control and optimization functions not only reduces implementation cost but allows our typical 20 to 50 percent saving rage to be realized in these smaller facilities. ”

Built on an industrial-grade PLC platform, the COACH™ uses adaptive control algorithms to maximize plant efficiency in real-time with no ongoing manual tweaking. Fully interactive HMI screens, data logging, trending and alarm handling ensure the COACH™ is both user-friendly and metric-driven.

About tekWorx

Founded in 2000, tekWorx is a leader in chilled water plant optimization. Using proven adaptive control algorithms, tekWorx solutions ensure the most efficient combination of plant equipment is operating at its most efficient point. The tekWorx CEO® solution often eliminates any need for new equipment or plant expansions.

For more information on tekWorx, please visit us at http://info.tekworx.us/coach

Direct Control and Supervisory Control

tekWorx at Work-resized-600

“Plant modifications”, “updates” and “conversions” are phrases that often make plant personnel nervous. Which modifications will bring about the greatest and longest lasting results? What do I have to give up to get the latest and greatest? How much is this going to disrupt the plant and my day-to-day? Will this really save energy?

tekWorx gets it. Working with complex systems that demand different automation techniques and design depending on client’s budgets, time frames, and permitted levels of disruption, tekWorx has seen it all and has you covered. Whether the system needs to be converted from manual operation to automated control or sequence updates need to be implemented for energy efficiency gains, tekWorx CEO® uses custom algorithms to improve any chilled plant’s operations.

In a world with emphasis on short paybacks, shrinking budgets, and long term environmental impacts, tekWorx engineers are practical and pragmatic experts and ensuring clients invest only in what they really need- both in engineering and equipment. As such, there are two overarching approaches in which tekWorx retrofits chilled water plants with its PLC based CEO® system.

When working with a plant that has no Building Automation System (BAS) or has a control system that is too outdated to produce the desired efficiency gains, tekWorx CEO® acts as a BAS for the entire chilled water plant; this is known as the Direct Control Engine. The CEO® then orchestrates all cooling related components (pumps, fans, cooling towers, valves, etc.), ensuring that the best combination of system components are being used to minimize kW per ton.

The second optimization approach is the Supervisory Control configuration, common when the existing BAS system (SCI, Siemens, ALC, etc.) is in good shape. In this set up, the CEO® and BAS coordinate over the plant’s BAS network to control and optimize the plant, sending real time data back and forth to ensure components are operating at maximum efficiency.

In either configuration, tekWorx uses a model to begin, but builds on that by using adaptive control algorithms that make adjustments based on actual system conditions to truly optimize chilled water production.

To find out more information on tekWorx CEO® and adaptive control for energy efficiency, fill out our Chiller Plant Evalution Form.

Energy Expenditures Add Up for Large Hospitals


It should come as no surprise that hospitals are among the largest consumers of energy in the country. Operating continuously throughout the year with a large fluctuation of employees, patients, and visitors passing between rooms full of energy intensive medical equipment means energy costs add up quickly. The greatest operating expense lies in the sophisticated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that control the temperatures and air flow throughout the buildings and in the temperature sensitive operating rooms. According to a 2007 study, there were approximately 3,040 large hospital buildings in the U.S. averaging 644,300 sq. ft., and requiring regular HVAC maintenance and scheduled repair. Of these, 612 utilized chilled water over forced air for their cooling needs. The total kWh for these facilities was a staggering 13 billion, or approximately 21,757 thousand kWh per building. At an average electricity rate of 79₵/ kWh, the energy expenditures per building were enormous. With seven years of inflation and rising energy costs, those numbers have only continued to grow.

At tekWorx, our approach to chiller plant optimization allows chiller plants at critical facilities like hospitals to lower unnecessary energy consumption up to 50% by ensuring each piece of equipment is running at its most efficient point. This significantly reduces operating bills at such client projects as Bayfront Medical Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital (Florida). Using an adaptive control system, tekWorx continuously monitors critical system parameters in real time and automatically adapts online operations. The result; a lot less kWh, lower maintenance and training costs, and better control of overall operating costs. For more information on tekWorx successes in chiller plant optimization check out our Solutions page.