Intelligent Edge to Drive Energy Efficiency, Environmental Sustainability, Analog Devices' Cotter Says

Intelligent Edge to Drive Energy Efficiency, Environmental Sustainability, Analog Devices' Cotter Says

The application of "intelligent edge" to industrial processes will have a positive impact on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, Martin Cotter, Analog Devices' (ADI) president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"Edge" is a term used in technology to describe where data is generated such as a smartphone, a robot in a factory or sensory technology in a hospital. Adding cloud capabilities to the site where data is generated is called "intelligent edge."

"Transformation of industry through digitalization of factories and buildings is going to have such a big impact on sustainability," Cotter said. "The need to drive more efficiency on every Joule of energy is critical. Everybody talks about energy. So, therefore, having smarter edge is one way to really deliver on that efficiency."

Industrial output increased about 90 times from 1820 to 2020, but that came at a cost: carbon dioxide emission rose 700 times, resulting in a 1.1 degrees Celsius increase in average temperatures, he said.

"So we are destined today to break the 1.5 degrees (Celsius) limit that's there from the Paris Climate Accord," Cotter said. "In order to get back to that limit, we need to deploy technology that will drive an 80% reduction in CO2. That's going to come from two essential sources; one is driving a greener source of energy through renewables, but the other is driving efficiency of existing industry. So that's really about every single Joule we use has got to do twice as much as before."

Using intelligent edge in the automation of factory processes will help mitigate climate change by enabling higher energy efficiency, which should result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Cotter said moves such as changing motors, which produce about 65% of the energy in factories, may result in increased energy savings. Some experts believe upgrading a factory motor to one that's more efficient would save energy.

"That's probably the biggest single place that we could drive a lot more improvement," he said.

Another critical capability is identifying deployed motors that operate too near or slightly above their rated output, which results in increased use of electricity.

Intelligent edge may also be used to boost efficiency in the manufacturing process for lithium batteries, Cotter said.

"The (lithium battery) coating step has about a 5% yield hit. To make that better you need much better measurement of the uniformity of coating, (in) real-time," he said. "So if you make let's say a 2-3% improvement in the coating step, you've just made a 2-3% improvement on the output of the whole factory. So it's a huge increase in efficiency of the factory which is an increase in energy efficiency."

Intelligent edge is an opportunity that is growing, expanding exponentially."

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