Updated date:

EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert: An Engineer's Review

The author is a Facility Management Engineer where the latest version of Power Monitoring Expert has been implemented successfully.

The Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure™ Power Monitoring Expert is a popular energy management, monitoring and analytics software. Fortunately the author had the chance of implementing its latest version (PME 2020) in the facility where he works as an engineer.

He will therefore give a rational review of the Power Monitoring Expert software, its functionality and practical usefulness. In this process he will comment on:

  1. Power Monitoring Expert's System architecture.
  2. Dashboards and Gadgets.
  3. Single Line Diagrams.
  4. Reports.
  5. Alarms and Notifications.
  6. Designer, Ion Modules and their Capabilities.

This review can serve as an excellent firsthand reference for engineers willing to deploy the Power Monitoring Expert solution in their respective facilities.

EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert

EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert

Power Monitoring Expert's System Architecture

The PME system architecture consists of:

  1. The main server where the application is itself installed. The server is connected to either a network or the world wide web, through which the PME web based application can be accessed.
  2. Network switches which connect gateways to servers via Ethernet protocol.
  3. Ethernet gateways that link up MODBUS devices with Ethernet switches. Up to 30 individual MODBUS devices can be connected in a daisy chain configuration to one gateway.
  4. Individual MODBUS devices - These are the devices whose data and measurements are read through the entire system architecture by the web based application. They can be power analyzers, flow meters, limit switches, sensors, protection relays, circuit breakers and much more.
Simplified representation of Power Monitoring Expert architecture.

Simplified representation of Power Monitoring Expert architecture.

System Deployment Costs for Power Monitoring Expert

Overall, the PME is an expensive onetime investment. Once the system is deployed, their are zero operational and maintenance costs associated with running the system, other then the energy costs spent in powering the servers and other electronic equipment.

The major costs associated with a single system deployment can be brocken down as follows:

Cost of a single power monitoring expert solution deployment.

System ComponentCosts

Power Monitoring Expert Software

The software is available in incremenatal liscences with costs around $8,000 depending on the region of sale.

Main server

A decent server usually costs around $8,000 - $10,000. One such unit is required.

Network Switches

Network switches are usually present in facilities where an IT infrastructure already exists, if that is the case no additional hard investment is required.

Cabling works from server to network switches

Fiber optic cables are usually present in facilities where an IT infrastructure already exists, if that is the case no additional hard investment is required.

Ethernet Gateways

Gateways cost around $600 - $800. Multiple gateways maybe required depending on dispersion of daughter devices.

Cabeling works from Gateways to Network Switches

Category - 6 ethernet cables must be laid from network switches to gateways, cost will vary according to the lenght of cable required.

Modbus Devices

Cost of measurement devices such as energy analyzers vary widely depending on the options they provide. Cheapest can be as low as $100.

Working with Gadgets and Dashboards in Power Monitoring Expert

Dashboards are the mainstay of the PME web application, different types of gadgets can be imported on to the dashboard to build the interface.

These gadgets are able to portray the measurements using sleek and clean graphics in the form of tables, bar charts, pie charts, trend lines and much more.

Representing energy consumption throughout the facility using the Pie Chart gadget.

Representing energy consumption throughout the facility using the Pie Chart gadget.

24 types of gadgets are available, a selection from which is stated below:

Types of gadgets available in Power Monitoring Expert.

GadgetsGadgets

Consumption Rankings

Trend Charts

Pareto Charts

Live Tables

Bar Charts

Heat Maps

Sankey Diagrams

Various Power Quality Gadgets

Power Factor Impact Trends

Aggregate Consumption Rankings

Showcasing energy consumption trends through trend and bar charts.

Showcasing energy consumption trends through trend and bar charts.

The graphical user interface built in the web application is colorful and appears pleasing to the eyes, however the gadgets offer limited flexibility in the sense that you cannot modify a gadget to your own preferences. So once you use them, you will find yourself limited by what has already been programmed for each gadget.

The table gadget can be used to display real time data from individual devices.

The table gadget can be used to display real time data from individual devices.

Displaying Weather Feed Data in Power Monitoring Expert

It is possible to import current weather data into the PME web application through XML APIs and it can be conveniently displayed on the screen using daily trend charts.

Importing weather feed data in Power Monitoring Expert.

Importing weather feed data in Power Monitoring Expert.

Creating Operational Single Line Diagrams in Power Monitoring Expert

The Power Monitoring Expert offers the ability to create flexible single line diagrams through its Vista® interface, which can then be displayed in the web based application. These operational single line diagrams give the following functionalities:

  1. They can be made live by displaying custom and inbuilt measurements from ION handlers of different devices.
  2. They are interactive and it is possible to hyperlink multiple SLDs in chronological order.
  3. It is possible to include different types of images in diagrams to make them look more realistic and close to the theme of the facility.

A live operational SLD of my facility given below, displays these functionalities:

Live operational single line diagrams created for PME.

Live operational single line diagrams created for PME.

Report Generation in Power Monitoring Expert

Users can generate around 68 types of unique reports neatly sorted in 11 broad categories.

Report formats available in Power Monitoring Expert.

Report CategoriesReports

Back-up Power

Generator Activity Report, Generator Battery Health Report e.t.c

Billing

Billing Summary Report, Billing Verification Report e.t.c

Breaker Performance

Circuit Breaker Aging Report, Circuit Breaker Settings Report

Energy Analysis

Energy Regression Analysis Report, Energy Usage per State Report

Energy Management

Energy Comparison, Energy Cost, Energy Period over Period, Energy Usage, Energy Usage by Shift, Energy Usage by Time of Use (TOU)

General

Data Export Reports, Event History

Insulation Monitoring

Insulation Monitoring IEC and ANSI Reports.

IT Billing

Energy by IT Customer Report

Power Capacity

Feeder Capacity Reports.

Power Quality

Harmonics and Compliance Reports as per IEC61000-4-30 and EN50160:2010

Usage Trending

Multi Device Usage, Multiple Trends, Single Device Usage Reports

Positive Features of PME® Reports

  1. The reports can be conveniently exported in excel or pdf format and both of them are neatly formatted.
  2. Their is a wide range of analysis and data export reports available that can broadly cater to most needs of engineers.

Limitations in Generating Reports through PME

As the predictable case goes, report generation and export has limitations that restrict its usability to an extent.

  1. When generating a particular type of report you cannot modify the pre-programmed format of the report.
  2. If a certain report input parameter is absent from a particular report, you cannot add it.
Report generation in Power Monitoring Expert - Inputs to reports in PME cannot be edited.

Report generation in Power Monitoring Expert - Inputs to reports in PME cannot be edited.

Alarms in Power Monitoring Expert

The Power Monitoring Expert, web based application offers the feature of generating alarms whenever something unusual happens through the entire connected architecture. This can be a power quality event, a feeder tripping, a device going offline, changing of parameters or simply some measurements exceeding pre-programmed thresholds.

The alarms can be classified in three different priorities according to their severity, however as with the reports, their is a limitation that you cannot add a custom alarm in PME, which means that you will have to restrict yourself to the alarm options available within the system.

Alarms in Power Monitoring Expert

Alarms in Power Monitoring Expert

Designer and Ion Modules

The Designer® and ION® Modules allow you to perform custom calculations on recorded measurements from devices that are connected to your system. It also allows you to create data logs for these calculations.

ION Modules allow you to:

  1. Carry out basic arithmetic (Addition, subtraction e.t.c) on measurements.
  2. Perform integration on measurements.
  3. Take averages on measurements.
  4. Find minimum and maximum values from a measurement.
  5. Import XML data from external APIs.
  6. Create logs through data recorders.

ION modules can be linked up to perform a range of functions and thus the designer gives the engineers plenty of flexibility in performing mathematical analysis on recorded measurements.

Ion Modules in the Designer of Power Monitoring Expert

Ion Modules in the Designer of Power Monitoring Expert

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 StormsHalted

Comments

StormsHalted (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on May 10, 2020:

Chris,

We have laundry equipment, kitchen equipment, plenty of HVAC equipment, lighting loads and motor loads that do justify our choice of having remote monitoring in our facility.

Only time and experience will tell if we can actually benefit from PMEs deployment.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on May 10, 2020:

How do you control energy comsumption? If you are in need of power, there is nothing to control without shuttung down something else. You can´t simply send people home if the power monitor says: enough for today. So that "something" else may cause problems and cost.

In my experience in typical industrial environments it makes sense to invest into reactive power management/ compensation, because power suppliers charge for bad cosine.

Then it is important to have good and adequate design of the max. power input. Again power suppliers charge for the size of the power inlet. If you know, that twice a year you need to triple the power input for a short period of time, just hire a remote power generator. That is cheaper than paying year after year higher inlet prices.

In Germany we get inlet power monitoring free of charge by our regional suppliers (15 second interval). I once ran through that data. Only found out that idle power consumption was 95% attributed to IT server installation and associated equipment. You can´t switch that off, so there is no dedicated monitoring for decision making necessary.

At the end of the day, it is all about cost saving and ROI. I see no benefits that you could not achieve through engineering common sense. Sorry to say (40 years in engineering and consulting and teaching)

StormsHalted (author) from Karachi, Pakistan on May 09, 2020:

Hi Chris,

Power Monitoring Expert is an energy monitoring software, the software and the deployment of its entire architecture is a costly capital expenditure.

The benefit or the ROI is dependent upon how efficiently the engineers use it to monitor and then control the energy consumption flowing into different areas.

The conclusion is that ROI is not accumulated as a direct result of deployment of this solution but is rather the energy saving which the engineers will bring about using the insights they gather from the software and using the ever increased command they have over the consumption trends of their facility.

In my case we have been able to automate our energy billing completely through this solution.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on May 09, 2020:

Please, what is the business case? You invest into this kind of product and what is the benefit, the return on investment. Do you have figures?