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Cost-effective Energy Monitoring Solution Allows Italian Eyewear Manufacturing Factory to Effectively Reduce Energy Costs



Many countries continue to expand the use of renewable energy. And along with it comes the soaring electricity bills. Take Italy as an example, since the promotion of non-nuclear applications began many years ago, more than 40% of the country's electricity now comes from renewable sources. As a result, its generation cost stays at a high level. According to information published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Italy has the most expensive industrial electricity rates in the world. Such expensive energy prices have caused Italian manufacturers to think about how to effectively reduce the energy costs of factories. Fortunately, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) could help them to get more with less. Using a gateway device to collect energy consumption data and Supervisor Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) data, manufacturers can carry out management efficiencies to improve energy generation and reduce energy consumption costs. Advantech provides a highly integrated solution for factory energy monitoring management. It enables system integrators to easily complete the bottom layer acquisition and upper layer integration through an open and flexible platform with complete communication protocol support to quickly develop energy monitoring systems.

System Requirement

Net Surfing is an Italian System Integrator specializing in providing enterprise asset management and IoT solutions. Over the years, the company has helped many manufacturing companies achieve efficient asset management and optimized energy management. Recently, Net Surfing was commissioned by a world-renowned eyewear manufacturer to implement an energy monitoring system for its main factory and five sub-factories in Italy. The manufacturer wanted set up a data center at the main factory and hoped to collect all energy consumption data (electricity, gas, water) from the six factories scattered in different locations and congregate it to the data center for unified monitoring. The manufacturer also had security concerns so requested a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to the private Cloud.

In order to meet the needs of the eyewear manufacturer, Net Surfing intended to build a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and self-develop an energy monitoring system called I4.0 Supervisor, so it was necessary to purchase gateway and SCADA software. The related products must meet the following conditions:

  • Support Modbus protocol and provide Ethernet connection to collect and upload data.
  • Support VPN allowing sub-factories to send data to the data center through a secure channel.
  • Provide temporary data storage at local sites to avoid data loss caused by network interruption.
  • Sufficient I/O tags to connect and add devices at any time.
  • Flexible and open development platform to facilitate data collection and integration with CMMS.
  • Support mobile devices allowing users to monitor at any time.

System Description

For this project, Advantech provided a distributed solution that could be quickly built and easily expanded, including an industrial communication gateway ECU-1051TL with protocol conversion software WISE-Edgelink as well as remote monitoring software WebAccess/SCADA. WebAccess/SCADA software installed in the data center will visualize and display energy consumption data on the computer for the administrator to monitor in real time. Even if the administrator leaves the data center, they can access the system to retrieve data by mobile phone or tablet. WISE-EdgeLink supports a variety of communication protocols (Modbus, IEC 60870-104, DNP3, BACnet and OPC UA), so that ECU-1051TL can effortlessly collect underlying device data and securely upload it to the system. Currently they only needed to acquire electric meter data through Modbus, but in the future, if the factory adds new machinery or equipment that uses other communication protocols, they can still directly collect it through ECU-1051TL. The operation process is as follows: Each of the six factories installs an ECU-1051TL to acquire data from measurement devices, electric meters, and sensors through Ethernet and RS-485. The remote sub-factories upload data to the data center via WAN/VPN and the main factory sends data via LAN TCP/IP. The provision of 2000 I/O tags (equivalent to the collection of 500 electric meters of data) makes the deployment of data acquisition easy for the project without worrying about shortages. The data preprocessing function not only performs protocol conversion, but also encrypts the data, thereby enhancing the security of data transmission.

Project Implementation

  • WebAccess/SCADA: Browser-based HMI/SCADA software
  • ECU-1051TL: Industrial communication gateway for IIoT application, embedded with intelligent protocol conversion software WISE-EdgeLink

System Diagram


Controlling production costs is always a challenge for manufacturing. If manufacturers want to maintain high profitability and enhance market competitiveness, reducing energy consumption is definitely one of the necessary means to control costs. In the past, manufacturers received their electricity bills and paid on time, but they did not know which equipment was the power-hungry machine. Even if they wanted to save energy, they did not know where to start. Now, Advantech's cost-effective solution not only enables System Integrators to complete their project development in an efficient way, but also enables factories to permeate into the detail of energy management by using energy monitoring systems. The eyewear manufacturer of this project had made good use of the system for further in-depth analysis. By optimizing some lines in the factory and replacing the equipment with poor performance, energy costs have reduced by 10% to 15% within a few months. Such obvious implementation results are of course highly praised by users.

Trial Download

Free download for Advantech WebAccess /SCADA 9.0 version and Free75 tags License with all functions.