Energy Savings with Resource Monitoring for Manufacturing Industries

What is Resource Monitoring

Manufacturing industries are abuzz with activity throughout the day with multiple resources being used in various processes. From electricity and water to raw materials and personnel, all resources involved in the manufacturing process need to be monitored to get the best out of invested resources. There is a need for the industry to measure, analyze, and optimize the use of any designated resource. This activity is called Resource Monitoring. Technological advancements and push for Industry 4.0 have made this subject one of the major areas for application of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Here is it important to note that Resource Monitoring should not be confused with OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency). Even though there may be a slight overlap between the two, the scope of resource monitoring is much wider. While OEE only measures the performance of the equipment, resource monitoring is also concerned with factors other than the machine itself, like proper use and maintenance.

Considering that energy consumption is one of the major costs for the manufacturing industry, let’s focus on how IIoT and resource monitoring can impact this area.

The Situation

The industrial sector consumes 54% of all energy produced globally (EIA). The energy demand is ever-increasing and is touted to increase by 50% by 2050 (EIA). For industries to increase their profitability it is essential to optimize the use of energy. Energy monitoring is one of the simplest ways in which they can monitor and optimize resources. There is a need for tracking voltage, current, power factor, apparent power, active power, reactive power, and energy in KWpH for this purpose.

The Challenge

Today’s machinery is more powerful and efficient than systems of yesteryears. These advanced machines may seem to consume less power on face-value but are energy guzzlers when considering long hours of operation. The challenge is to invest time and effort in energy optimization while taking care of hectic production units. Besides, the data collected from multiple tools and equipment within the industry is difficult to consolidate in a single database. With many individuals involved in reporting, there is often a significant gap in measurement skills and reporting. This makes it nearly impossible for plant managers to identify and troubleshoot areas of high energy consumption or loss.

The Solution

Energy monitoring in theory is easy to initiate because it requires very little hardware and equipment to get started. By partitioning a factory’s circuits to isolate the desired assets, engineers can install energy meters to measure the energy consumption of defined processes.

The data collection and reporting from these meters is done automatically with IIoT resource monitoring solutions. With this, the time-consuming and error-prone task of manual reporting is eliminated and real-time accurate data is available to the plant manager to optimize resources.

The Impact

Energy monitoring encourages incremental improvements at different stages for various processes. This, in turn, leads to significant energy and cost savings for the industry. Some applications of IIoT-based Energy Monitoring systems are listed below.

  1. Energy monitoring revealed that the use of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) hurt the power factor for a manufacturing unit. CFLs were replaced by LEDs, reducing power consumption across the circuit.
  2. Multiple air conditioning units installed in the industrial setup did not operate with the same efficiency. Energy monitoring enabled engineers to identify poorly performing units for replacement or repair, making them more energy-efficient.
  3. Energy monitoring was used in conjunction with ambient condition monitoring. This enabled the engineers to identify an ambient temperature that prevented machines from consuming excess energy due to overheating.
  4. Clogged air filters were leading to the poor performance of some machines. When air sensors were linked to energy monitoring, the manufacturer was able to isolate the affected machines and replace filters before it degraded performance or caused damage to machines.

Beyond Energy Monitoring

Even though it is the most common application, resource monitoring is not just limited to energy monitoring. Resource monitoring can be leveraged for processes across the organization. Some examples are given below.

  • Tracking and optimizing the use of water as coolant to lower costs and ensure compliance with local regulations.
  • Monitoring the quantities of chemicals or raw materials used in a pharmaceutical manufacturing process to reduce material wastage.
  • Measuring the throughput of wax through an injection molding process to increase productivity.
  • Tracking the availability, scheduling, and resource consumption of individual assets for timely production and deliveries.
  • Increased understanding of the causes of machine downtime to improve asset utilization.

KNEO Automation’s Industry 4.0 solutions enable resource monitoring, including energy monitoring, resulting in cost savings for your enterprise.

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