If your plant is not a spacecraft, you cannot afford to maintain all machinery in perfect condition and run it in the most efficient mode all the time – performance degrades, operators change, procedures get forgotten or changed, production conditions change. On the other hand, when not timely corrected, small oversights and changes tend to grow into massive energy waste and operational issues.
How to keep an eye on every machine with only two eyes?
Despite all real-life changes, energy efficiency can be kept is check if consumption is monitored continuously, collected data is analysed automatically and, most importantly, corrective timely actions are taken. Meaning of ‘timely’ here is specific to your manufacturing process: depending on the pace of energy consumption and scale of fluctuations, ‘timely’ for one company means ‘within shift’, while for another it means ‘within week’.
Wasted energy can’t be recuperated, when it’s gone – it’s gone.
Future waste can be prevented. If monitor-analyse-correct process is broken at ‘correct’ stage, then the whole monitoring effort is wasted. When one wheel is flat, quality of rubber on the other three makes no difference to driving speed.
Submetering does not save energy
We came across a manufacturing company where operators processed megabytes of consumption data into $/ton ratios for electricity, natural gas and water. These ratios were presented to C-Level monthly and …. nothing else happened: deviation of these ratios by 100% caused no action, not even an investigation.
Megabytes save no megawatts, MWhs, m3. Action is the key to savings
On the positive side, in our recent award-winning project monitoring of energy consumption at a refrigeration plant uncovered massive saving opportunities AND helped maintenance team spot hidden failures before they caused a bottleneck to production.