Measuring and Controlling Power Consumption by Type of Use

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"The evolution of the laboratory to industrialization is based on NI LabVIEW software to tie different NI hardware platforms together. We used NI PXI hardware to test the system, NI CompactDAQ and NI CompactRIO for first deployments, and NI Single-Board RIO devices for industrialization."


The Challenge:
Industrializing an innovative system to measure and analyze power consumption by type of use without needing a sensor for each device to qualify.

The Solution:
Using NI hardware to design and deploy measurement systems based on nonintrusive sensors positioned on the electrical switchboard of the installation.


The largest energy consumers are now measuring power consumption by type of use, which is less than 0.1 percent of buildings in France. With the lack of data describing the details of the consumption, there is no optimal analytical approach. Existing technical solutions have multiple drawbacks, including high cost, implementation complexity, and a lack of interoperability or compatibility with installed equipment.

To meet this universal need for electrical measurement, we developed a technology for analyzing electricity consumption by type of use that reduces measurement costs and simplifies site deployment. Qualisteo, supported by the Paca EST incubator, is an eco-innovation startup for energy savings, winner of the Talents 2011 for Company Creation for Innovation in PACA, the European Cleantech Challenge, and the Most Promising 2011 competitiveness cluster SCS award.

By relying on NI hardware, we offer products with nonintrusive sensors positioned on the electrical switchboard of the installation where all devices are connected to qualify without needing a sensor.

Cost-Effective Solution From Single-Point Measurement

This approach addresses the limitations of current systems. It synthesizes the indicators of electrical use with very low capital costs and operates from a single measurement point. The system applies advanced signal processing and pattern recognition to identify the starting, stopping, and change of regime of devices according to their electrical signature.

We rely on an innovative, patented process from university research. After transferring the technology and setting up the first deployments, we industrialized the process. We worked with NI to implement a top-down approach from research to industrialized product for international deployment. Beyond helping industrialize the system, NI contributed to the local university network by collaborating on a daily basis with teams through support and publications.

PXI for Experimentation, NI Single-Board RIO for Industrialization

The evolution of the laboratory to industrialization is based on NI LabVIEW software to link different NI hardware platforms together. We used NI PXI hardware to test the system, NI CompactDAQ and NI CompactRIO for first deployments, and NI Single-Board RIO devices for industrialization.

For example, the product shown in Figure 1 is based on NI CompactDAQ hardware and uses an NI C Series module to process multiple channels acquired by the sensors. Figure 2 shows the product installed cleanly at a client location.

Common Software for Different Targets

We based the design of the acquisition software on discussions and validation with NI technical support. The software is user-friendly and we used it to construct an evolutionary basis for other products using NI CompactRIO technology and NI Single-Board RIO for loop producer/consumer, loop process stability and qualification, and display and data processing. Thus, we compiled the software we previously designed in LabVIEW and ran it on the laptop. When using NI CompactDAQ, we can integrate one reconfigurable I/O (RIO) platform taking advantage of a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and a processor.

Scalable Methodology Toward Real Time

The functional architecture of our products is presented in Figure 3. The signals from nonintrusive sensors (300 Vrms, 5,000 Arms) are conditioned, acquired, and digitized with C Series modules (NI 9225, NI 9239, NI 9205) common to NI CompactDAQ and RIO platforms. Building on a methodology that is scalable to real time using NI CompactDAQ (NI 9163, NI cDAQ-9188) associated with an external controller, an integrated CompactRIO (cRIO-9076) system, and finally an embedded NI Single-Board RIO device (NI sbRIO-9631), we opted to embed our real-time processing algorithms to reduce the volume of data to send.

This data is then presented in several forms including reports, interactive screens using native LabVIEW ergonomics, and HMI development. Integration into building management or control and monitoring systems (NI 9472 C Series) is then possible to automate the smart management of power consumption.

A Single Configuration and Processing GUI

The configuration and data processing software is presented with the same HMI regardless of the hardware platform (NI CompactDAQ, CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO) to simplify training and handling of the operator carrying out the product installation. This program integrates key features such as configuring an existing hardware facility, saving and loading a default configuration, displaying real-time data from the sensors, and calculating the representation formatting of integrated signals from the sensors and their functions to recognized devices.

Web services technology publishes the data on various remote screens to let the operator verify the compliance of the facility. The collected data is aggregated in a database to generate the consumer’s views.

New Services and Test Benches

Using one LabVIEW strength—the ability to achieve a scalable hardware/software codesign—we can integrate new software capabilities on a widely proven and tested hardware system, bringing significant value and new services to the client such as control and monitoring and a warning system.

Using another LabVIEW strength—the ability to create a test bench—we can also create automated testing of our products in production to qualify the equipment, identify defaults, and stress a material before deployment at the customer premises.

Author Information:
Benjamin NICOLLE
300, route des Crêtes
06560 Sophia Antipolis
Tel: +33 (0)4 22 13 03 82

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