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Communications and External Relations
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.,
May 23, 2012
In the world of international manufacturing standards, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Wayne Manges knows that his efforts are making a difference that saves money, jobs and lives.
"I feel like I'm doing something useful, lasting and challenging," said Manges, an electrical engineer and ORNL Industrial Wireless Technology program manager. "I'm also working with the best in the world in their respective subject areas."
Industry standards play a vital role in globalization, enabling companies to sell their products around the world and helping the United States with its balance of payments through improved exports, Manges said. A system of internationally recognized standards also has energy efficiency advantages, allows lessons learned in one market to help in other markets and encourages innovation.
Over the last 15 years, Manges has participated in developing and ushering through the approval process nearly half a dozen standards, including ISA100, a family of standards for Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation. Others are ISA99 (Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security), ISA107 (Advanced Measurement Techniques for Gas Turbine Engines), IEEE1547 (Standard for Interconnecting Distribution Resources with Electric Power Systems) and IEEE1451 (Smart Transducer Interface Standards).
While those numbers and descriptions mean little or nothing to the average person, industry standards improve quality of life for millions of people.
"A recognized system of standards provides no-brainer implementation," Manges said. "If you're trying to deploy something, be it a wireless network, automation system or smart grid, standards make the job easier."
Enabling interoperability among suppliers, ensuring that equipment works in the harsh environments typical in automation and providing a path toward the future are key drivers. Another benefit is that a system of standards helps knock down unproductive barriers to entry.
"Little guys can now sell into markets dominated by multi-billion dollar companies that may have owned a particular market for decades," said Manges, who has delivered host-paid talks at technical conferences in Australia, China, France, Peru, The Netherlands, India, Japan, Canada, England, Norway and at numerous sites in the United States. "Ultimately, with standards in place, the end user has confidence that the system will work as advertised."
Looking ahead, Manges stressed that the future lies in wireless systems, which are revolutionizing industry. Experts estimate that wireless sensors can improve production efficiency by 10 to 20 percent and reduce emissions by more than 25 percent. Even savings generated by installing wireless vs. wired sensors are sizable because running wire in plants costs between $160 and $4,000 per foot.
With electric motor-driven systems accounting for one-fourth of all electricity consumed in the United States, the potential for savings is enormous, Manges said. Simply equipping each motor with an inexpensive sensor that detects excessive heat or vibration can save energy and avoid expensive down time by allowing operators to take immediate action.
Manges, who grew up deep in the Appalachians of Southwestern Pennsylvania, became the first in his family to graduate from high school. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in education and chemistry from California University of Pennsylvania, a bachelor's in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, a master's degree in natural science from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee. He earned the title of ISA Fellow in 2011.
While his work has taken him all over the world, from steel mills to ships of steel like the USS Sullivans, a guided missile destroyer, Manges spends most of his time serving on or chairing committees, attending conferences and giving talks about the merits of wireless and the importance of standards.