Along with the need to feed this growing population is awareness of the impact the necessary increases in production have on the environment. An increase in energy usage required to drive production, increased waste for landfills, and depleting natural resources will all result from higher, more concentrated population levels.
In this scenario, manufacturers have the responsibility of balancing the need to meet increasing demand with operating safely and sustainably at the lowest possible cost.
Most manufacturers are starting to track energy consumption in some capacity, whether at a site level or down to specific production lines. By monitoring consumption, these companies can make operational changes to reduce energy consumption and costs.
Access to historical data also permits management personnel to address intermittent or persistent power-quality issues, such as voltage sags or harmonics. By doing so, they can save thousands of dollars in damaged equipment or poor-quality product, and avoid penalties associated with power-factor problems on the energy grid.
This type of data monitoring and analysis is critical to make improvements. After all, you cannot improve what you do not measure, but OEMs also can help their customers look ahead to what's next.
Visible and actionable water, air, gas, electricity and steam data allows managers and operators to constantly see and resolve issues. It's especially important to secure on-going gains because improved management of energy consumption won't necessarily deliver substantial improvements immediately.
Energy management is a marathon, rather than a sprint, with savings measured in hour-to-hour and day-to-day increments: When and why did a machine exceed typical energy draw? Why did an equipment changeover cause start-up surges? Why did a component change extend the production cycle into a peak-draw period?
Visibility is the only practical way to keep track of progress. While behaviours relying on human observation and intervention – involving managers and team members that perform the activities of plan, do, check, and adjust – the key to accelerated energy-efficiency improvements lies within the streams of data running to, through and from equipment.
Published May 22, 2014