Your wrist monitor can track your fitness in real time. Why can't we do the same thing with manufacturing energy consumption?
Well, we can.
Look around and you'll see plenty of wrists adorned with wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit. These seemingly simple devices make it easy to track calories, sleeping and physical activity, sync stats, visualize data, see trends and hopefully, help you reach your goals.
The concept is a familiar one: you can better manage what you can measure and visualize. The tracker makes you more aware of what's happening so you can adjust your performance – eat less and walk more, for example.
Before these trackers, you had to manually log different variables – a time-consuming endeavor that was inconsistent at best, and impossible to display. People made decisions without a lot of data; maybe measured weight with a scale and daily steps with a pedometer, but nothing at a granular level.
Technology has advanced to the point of allowing individuals to actively manage their health through the availability of real time data to support better decision making; that same idea applies to how manufacturing companies use energy.
Rising energy costs are impacting the financial health of organizations, but many users do not have access to energy consumption data as it correlates to production processes.
Most track energy at the mains – but that's like taking your temperature to measure your health. Utility bills provide data that's already 30-45 days out of date – and that's not the real-time, granular data needed to support energy reduction.
So with the advent and advancement of technology for manufacturing, similar to a FitBit for individuals, it is now possible to get a perspective of energy consumption in terms of product produced; for example, kilowatts per gallon.
Devices and equipment can now report energy consumption similar to how trackers report steps, sleep and calories. In terms of performance, that technology enables manufacturers to easily view energy performance, see trends, and make adjustments and decisions that save money and energy.
Rather than turning dials to save nickels, you can now use new methods for accessing energy-consumption data from within your existing automation systems.
And it doesn't require an advanced degree in power quality. It simply requires engaging the people within your organization that look at efficiency every day of the week – the manufacturing support teams.
Get smarter about new opportunities to reduce expenses by thinking more holistically about energy management and the significant opportunities it presents.
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