Over the past years, environmental awareness and regulations have increased significantly due to rising climate change concerns. Stricter environmental regulations could further accelerate rising energy costs, which are already one of the largest expenditures that food and beverage manufacturers face. Improving energy efficiency has thus becoming an important strategy in driving business improvement, boosting profitability, and increasing growth.
According to McKinsey, many companies are now leveraging energy efficiency as a key competitive differentiator. Innovative manufacturers have taken advantage of digital transformation to implement digital energy management systems for improved profitability.
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However, there are several challenges manufacturers face in implementing energy efficiency measures. Often, manufacturers have failed to deploy adequate energy metering devices at their sites. This limits the effectiveness of their existing energy management solutions. In addition, over the years companies tend to implement multiple software systems to address various aspects of production efficiency in their plants. These multiple implementations create data silos and complicate holistic analysis. Breaking down these silos and aggregating energy data is the foundation of an effective digital energy management system.
The first step is to document energy usage profiles of production lines, processes and equipment in the plant. This enables manufacturers to monitor energy consumption with precision and benchmark against best practices, identifying potential areas for improvement. A consolidated measurement system allows operators to answer critical questions such as:
- What is the energy and power demand of my entire operations over the past months?
- When is the peak load demand and energy usage?
- What is the energy cost to produce each unit of produced goods?
- Is there any observable gap in energy usage across different crew shifts?
More than a technology
Effective energy management is more than just a monitoring solution. Comprehensive energy management requires a holistic end-to-end approach from identifying energy improvement areas to closing the loop for continuous improvement in processes and operations. Leveraging PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) methodology, an iterative four-step management method for continual process improvement, is therefore crucial to close the performance loop.
A comprehensive Energy Management solution
At the foundation layer, energy usage and operational data is collected from hardware devices such as energy meters, PLCs, DCS, MES or Historian databases. Next, the combined energy and production data is synchronized, contextualized with production information (order, material etc.) and processed through the energy management platform. This process transforms the data into actionable insights and uncovers potential pathways for energy efficiency improvement. These insights provide the starting point of the PDCA process, identifying efficiency gaps and reducing energy costs as a result.
3 core functions of energy management
A comprehensive energy management platform not only allows users to gain insights into energy usage as the starting point of the PDCA process but also helps monitor power network quality and optimize electrical equipment utilization. Using energy management operators can improve equipment reliability and reduce unplanned downtime through the following capabilities:
- Actionable insights – Link energy data with operational data to obtain insights into energy consumption of production operations
- Optimize electrical equipment – Extend equipment lifespan and reduce asset failures caused by power trips or harmonics by correlating abnormal equipment behaviors with unusual energy usage patterns
- Improve electrical network reliability – Monitor power network quality in real-time, generating notifications and alerts for abnormal power operations
Investing in digital energy management at your plant can generate huge ROI through improved efficiency, yield and asset availability. To learn more about the benefits of a holistic energy management system, join our webinar “Reduce Energy Consumption in Production Operations”. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of improving operational visibility, read the ARC whitepaper “Executive Guide to Real Time Operations.”
What energy management measures have you taken in your facility? Let us know in the comments.
6 years ago
Very helpful information for automation and electrical engineers