Thursday, August 2, 2018

Five steps to improving manufacturing efficiency

July 25, 2018

Many manufacturers still lack visibility of the energy performance of devices and equipment running in their plants.

If you want to make efficiency improvements and save costs but don't know where to start, a recent blog post from UK energy provider Centrica Business Solutions sets out five steps for manufacturers to follow:

Step 1: Get buy-in from the rest of the business

This is a critical first step and must involve everyone from the top executives to the shop technicians. Set out the problem and business need, supported by statistics and data, and involve the whole team in creating a resolution that improves processes and shows sustainable ROI.

Step 2: Set achievable goals

Employees will lose their motivation if you set a target that's impossible to reach.

To improve manufacturing operations and cut costs, companies must set realistic, measurable goals, Centrica Business Solutions says. These goals should be based on real data from systems and devices used within the manufacturing process.

Step 3: Monitor devices

Smart sensors on machinery and equipment can help manufacturers to monitor their operations and understand energy consumption at each stage of the manufacturing process.

With capabilities such as real-time notifications that alert users to a system fault or potential downtime, manufacturers can make informed decisions about management and consumption. Up-to-date information from smart monitoring also enables system-wide improvements to be made.

Step 4: Improve maintenance schedules

Aggregated energy data can be used to identify systemic issues relevant to energy-intensive production assets. Optimise maintenance schedules with heavy energy consumption to take advantage of lower energy costs during off-peak hours.

Manufacturers can also realise efficiency gains by transitioning from preventative maintenance of equipment to predictive maintenance. This saves costs as equipment is less likely to fail and any issues are identified ahead of time.

Step 5: Empower employees

Engage your employees in the effort to improve operational efficiency and reduce energy consumption by arming them with information about the negative impacts of poor energy efficiency, and the positive effects of their behaviour.

There are multiple ways to make your manufacturing operations more energy efficient, but this five-step plan will put you on a path to success!

To learn more about preparing industrial plants for energy management, click HERE


Friday, July 20, 2018

Digital technologies set to revolutionise manufacturing

July 18, 2018

Digital technologies are reshaping the manufacturing landscape, says a new report from Capgemini's Digital Transformation Institute.

According to the report, the global manufacturing industry could see up to $685bn in value-added revenue by 2020 through the development and sale of smart, connected devices.

But while the potential returns are significant, manufacturers that want to benefit will need to increase their digital capabilities and invest in digital continuity.

The research examines how manufacturers are balancing two priorities: using digital tech to get legacy products to market quicker, while investing in new smart products that allow them to derive revenues from services.

Capgemini notes that many firms have responded enthusiastically to new technologies and are already rebalancing their IT investments accordingly. Around 50% of manufacturers aim to spend more than €100m on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) platforms and digital solutions in the next two years, while the proportion of IT budget earmarked for maintaining legacy systems has dropped significantly, from 76% in 2014 to 55% in 2017.

Yet few companies are making significant progress in transforming their approach to innovation and engineering. Among firms that are lagging behind, there is little data-sharing or digital continuity across the product lifecycle, they are not making adequate use of digital technologies, they are not making effective use of their partner ecosystem, and they lack employees with the new skills needed.

Companies that have successfully transformed engineering and product innovation, meanwhile, display a range of characteristics that represent best practices, Capgemini said: they have a concrete digital vision and roadmap, make better use of the partner ecosystem, invest more in digital technologies, recruit talent in digital skill-sets, and create a culture of experimentation and agility.

Jean-Pierre Petit, head of digital manufacturing at Capgemini, commented: "With the significant potential gains of smart, connected products and digital continuity predicted in the next two years, the requirement to invest in new technologies is too large for manufacturers to ignore. However, the road to getting there is a challenging one. Manufacturers must balance the priorities between sustaining their core businesses while investing in digital acceleration. They must make investments in digital skills, ecosystems, tools, roadmaps and new ways of working.

"It will be a lot of work, but for those that get it right there is a sustainable leadership to gain."

To learn more about how implementing an energy management system could make a change, click HERE.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How industrial firms can cut their energy consumption

In commercial and industrial buildings, as in the home, monitoring your energy usage is the first step to taking control of your energy bills.

Once you know which systems in your facility use the most energy, it makes it much easier to understand where savings could be made, explains lighting consultant Daisy Energy in a recent article.

However, there are many things that can be done -- with or without an energy audit -- to reduce the energy consumption of your business.

Here are eight top tips:

1. Changing shifts to avoid peak energy costs: If your energy provider offers variable rates, find out when the highest and lowest charges apply and think about adjusting employee shifts and machine operating times to off-peak hours.

Similarly, demand side response incentivises a business to reduce consumption or switch to on-site energy generation resources in response to signals when demand on the grid is at its highest.

2. Daylighting: Using skylights and windows to bring natural light into your building can reduce the need for artificial lighting, and the latest energy efficient windows won't cause heating or cooling issues.

In existing structures, adding windows to the North-facing wall of your building will provide relatively even light, with little glare and almost no unwanted summer heat gain, Daisy Energy says.

3. Lighting controls and energy-efficient lighting: With energy consumption from lighting ranging from 35-75% of a business's total energy usage, using lighting controls such as dimmers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors, photosensors and timers can have a big impact on costs and extend the life of your lighting.

Switching to LED lighting is another sure-fire way to cut energy costs as it uses at least 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

4. Building recommissioning: This involves investigating, analysing and optimising the performance of equipment and building systems to ensure they are at optimal operating capacity.

According to Industrial Controls, studies show that this process can lead to reductions of 10-15% in annual energy costs.

5. Reduce the load put on the HVAC system: Make sure air vents are clear of obstructions, and properly seal doors, windows and roofs. A programmable thermostat allows you to program automatic adjustments in temperature in different areas at different times, to ensure no air is being circulated in unoccupied areas. Re-directing waste heat from the factory floor to heat water and warm spaces also decreases the load on the HVAC system and increases energy efficiency.

6. Service compressors and motors to keep everything running efficiently.

7. Turn off equipment not in use.

8. Motivate all employees to take responsibility for energy savings: Invite workers to contribute energy saving ideas; recognise those who reduce their consumption; and educate all employees about new energy-saving equipment, sensors and practices.

To enquire about an industrial energy management software and view some more case studies, click HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Demand response flexibility can cut energy bills by 10%

June 13, 2018

Industrial users can reduce their energy bills by up to 10% by participating in demand response programmes, according to the UK's Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE).

With demand-side response, energy users vary the amount of electricity they use at certain times in response to a signal or incentive from their energy supplier. For example, they can power down certain equipment for a while, use on-site generation and/or battery storage technology, and use more power when supply is plentiful.

Businesses that are able to be flexible in their energy use can benefit from price fluctuations in the energy market and receive payments for reducing how much energy they use at times of peak demand or when the capacity of the grid is constrained for technical reasons.

A joint report from ADE and RenewableUK says that UK industry is not yet taking full advantage of the significant cost and carbon savings available from demand response and flexible grid services.

The report, 'Industrial competitiveness in a low carbon world', sets out a new model of industrial energy use in which industrial firms are able to boost their competitiveness while also helping the UK to achieve its decarbonisation targets through active participation in the energy market.

ADE director Dr Tim Rotheray explained how, despite often being presented as being mutually exclusive, there is clear alignment between decarbonisation and industrial competitiveness.

"New business models reveal the sleeping potential for flexibility embedded in industrial processes which can be harnessed without disruption to core activities. By tapping into this potential and creating a more flexible power system, we can create a win-win situation for industry and deliver cost-effective decarbonisation," he said.

"A more flexible power system creates a stable power grid, which can then accommodate more renewable energy to meet our decarbonisation targets at least cost. The industrial energy users providing flexibility also benefit with lower energy bills and increased competitiveness when operating in a decarbonising global economy."

To read on about software tools to apply, click HERE

Friday, June 1, 2018

Energy efficiency allows firms to tap 'hidden fuel'

May 31, 2018

At a time when the global demand for power is continuing to rise, energy efficiency is comparable to a new source of energy within the global power grid.

In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has described energy efficiency as the world's "hidden fuel" because of the huge energy savings that can be made.

An article for Investing News Network (INN) gives the example of heating systems in two commercial buildings -- one standard and one energy efficient. The building with the energy efficient system can provide the same level of energy at a lower cost, thereby reducing operating costs for the business and increasing net operating income.

A 2009 report from the United Nations found that "the building sector has the largest potential for delivering long-term, significant and cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions," while National Resources Canada has stated that energy efficiency, achieved through retrofits and other means, is a "high-volume, low-cost approach to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions."

One way of improving a building's energy performance is through its windows, INN noted. Properly treated or glazed windows reduce heat gain by reflecting heat energy, and can reduce the amount of air conditioning needed to offset temperature rises.

Bigger projects like replacing a heating system or re-insulating the building are known as deep-energy retrofits.

"Due to their disruptive and cost-intensive nature, deep-energy retrofits are usually triggered by non-energy-related factors, such as a significant change in building occupancy. However, taking the opportunity to replace these components with energy-efficient options can lead to substantial savings," said Paul Ghezzi, chief executive of energy efficiency specialist Kontrol Energy.

Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and energy management software can help firms get a clearer picture across the business and detect areas of high energy consumption.

The technology essentially turns a building into a live system of connected devices reporting information in real time, INN said.

"Through this real-time energy management, building owners and assets managers gain access to deep analytical profiles of how energy is used and also where there are potential for improvements and savings," Ghezzi explained.

Friday, October 21, 2016

What practices can businesses must adopt to boost energy efficiency?

The edie website recently hosted a webinar featuring a leading panel of energy managers and industry experts, to get their thoughts on simplifying energy management.
The key takeaway from the discussion was that energy managers can drive employee engagement with company-wide energy efficiency initiatives, by communicating the positive impact of change and effectively publicizing energy management systems such as ISO 14001.
As one webinar speaker – Oliver Rosevear, energy and environment manager of Costa Coffee – explained, regular communication makes employees feel part of the solution, and understand the outcome of their actions. It's crucial, he says, "that energy managers let employees understand the benefit of the impact they are having." Read more:
ISO 14001

Friday, March 7, 2014

Energy efficiency in the GreenHouse office complex with AVReporter

The following case study was created to provide an in-sight of a successful energy management system specifically designed for building complexes.
The „GreenHouse” building complex was completed in the first Q of 2013. The driving force behind the whole process in planning and executing was to achieve a truly energy efficient office building.

The green office building was carefully planned to create ideal workspaces, whilst also considering the micro- and macro environment.
Cutting-edge environmental solutions and green technologies were applied in each and every development phase to minimize the building's environmental footprint, and reduce its energy use alongside with the carbon dioxide emissions. The avoidance of an estimated 1.93 tons of CO2 per year is expected.
The building comprises about 20,000 sq m GBA above ground on 7 levels, providing 17,800 sq m GLA and 252 car parking spaces on 3 underground levels.

The project was managed by SKANSKA, combining the solutions of KONsys’s AVReporter Energy Management Software and some of ABB’s hardware and software. ABB also resides in the office building.
The project has won the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

LEED is an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings providing building owners and operators with the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance.
The program is designed to inform and guide professionals including architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, private sector executives and government officials, everybody who is working towards environmental sustainability.
The specific requirements buildings need to fulfil consist of several LEED points. The level of LEED qualification awarded will be according to these. The GreenHouse project has won the Platinum level certification.

Several new technology and knowledge transfer were used, for example intelligent building control systems, solar panels on the roof, environmentally considerate water usage, grey water recycling (i.e., wastewater from non-toilet plumbing systems such as wash water, cooking water and rain water collection used for toilet flushing and watering plants), and innovative heating and cooling solutions.
Data collection also plays a large part of the new LEED version. Collecting data on energy savings, air quality, and building performance are a part of the goals to create long-term sustainability. AVReporter Energy Management Software was used to manage the related tasks.
The following requirements were established:
- The collection of data from various electrical, water and heat meters
- Information to be accessible by web browser interface
- Different access levels with different security settings
- The monitoring of consumption and subscribed-power optimization
- Defining energy consumption per cost allocation places
- To monitor and calculate applied green energy performance
- Provide quick report building web and desktop environments
- Schedule pre-created reports for management site
- Provide dashboard slideshow for Showroom

By using AVReporter Energy Management Software the commercial benefits are also outstanding. When renting the offices the tenants appreciate the green environment, the lower utility costs and the fact they are paying after their actual consumption, as well.

Energy Management and Monitoring Software