Optimising quality control of small and large public utilities and industrial plants is a crucial factor when it comes to reducing company costs, maintaining sustainability and meeting consumer demands. This is especially true when considering the energy sector, which plays an essential role in our daily lives and in the future of the planet.
In particular, in order to properly monitor and control the entire distribution network in an accurate and efficient way, technologies such as Distribution Management Systems (DMS) are used. These IoT-based solutions are able to improve reliability and quality of service by reducing outages, minimising outage time and maintaining acceptable frequency and voltage levels.
Oscar Cipolla founded E-Labos in 2017 to improve these quality control processes, after recognising a real need for digitalisation and centralisation. His objective was to manage distribution within public utilities. “Thanks to the rise of new technologies and the IoT community, I was able to identify potential ways to both solve old issues and meet the emerging demand for high quality standards for public utilities and industrial plants,” Cipolla states. He also points out, “at E-Labos we use the latest technologies available in electronics for our incorporated solutions – including the internet, Wi-Fi, MODBUS485, embedded micro controllers, open source code and 3D printing for prototyping”.
“To me innovation means solving old issues with new and smart solutions that reduce both time and time to market”
Oscar Cipolla, Founder of E-Labos
Tailor-made solutions alongside Enel
E-Labos mainly serves as an online platform where large and small utility companies can obtain personalised solutions to optimise their distribution. “Specifically, we want our technical solutions to bridge the gap between the customer and the committed engineer,” Cipolla asserts. Through an open partnership, the company works alongside its clients to develop projects from ideation to tangible prototype. The typical time to market – from the very first draft to the working prototype – is less than 13 weeks. Cipolla states, “we want to be able to provide tailor-made solutions, by adopting the latest technologies and counting on the strong know-how of our team of engineers, readily available to deliver state-of-the-art results”.
“To be an innovator means to look at the future, respect the environment and satisfy customer needs”
Oscar Cipolla, Founder of E-Labos
Amongst the solutions E-Labos has designed and produced for Enel, the POC 25 and POC 100 deserve a special mention because they provide a unique system to measure factors such as water leakage, power monitoring and voltage levels. The POC 25 incorporated Wi-Fi technology and was part of a pilot project – engineered and delivered within 6 months – to collect and share data from medium voltage/low voltage substations. The POC 100 is an advanced version of the previous model and was directly connected to Enel’s structure. This version is smarter and provides more data than the POC 25 (more than 120 substations are now live and linked to a single dashboard, providing consistent and meaningful data).
Enel met Cipolla and E-Labos in 2016, after incorporating them in our E-Distribuzione team for the development of a 3-phase power analyser based on an open-source platform. Collaborating with our technicians and manufacturer, E-Labos provided us with a smart and timely solution that was reliable and cost-effective.
CES and the future
We have worked with E-Labos to combine our knowledge and expertise about the latest emerging technologies, in order to both improve the quality of existing plants and develop new solutions. From the early days of our collaboration to our recent, joint participation at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, we have witnessed how the company’s creative solutions can improve plant distribution management, making industry processes more efficient and leading us towards a more sustainable world.
Finally, Cipolla points out, “being an Enel business partner has helped E-Labos to be considered as a serious player in the market”. With new projects coming in and adaptations of previous ones in the pipeline, E-Labos is currently looking to hire new talent to support their growth and demand. The startup is continuously pushing the boundaries and looking for the newest frontiers in order to develop the best solutions for their customers. By keeping up with technology trends and ensuring their products are timely and effective, E-Labos provides consistent work that is customer-focused and meets the unique needs of each client.