The wide variety of energy intensive processes in manufacturing facilities makes tracking and managing energy use a challenge. While energy costs can be significant, often little attention is paid to how that energy is used in production. There are a host of energy saving opportunities for manufacturers, a gap in knowledge can hinder the ability to take advantage of these opportunities. To manage energy costs effectively, it is important to measure energy use throughout the facility, identify waste, and takes steps to improve efficiency.
Measuring for control
Conventional energy management programs focus on building oriented systems, such as lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). While these are important, the majority of energy use in a typical manufacturing facility is devoted to production. To optimize savings, the energy management process should include elements of industrial process control as part of a program to improve efficiency.
Energy management should also integrate the energy cost element in production area planning for continuous improvement in cost control. Analysis of data from voltage meters, as well as temperature and flow sensors, can provide process accountability, monitoring, and control. Each department must realize that energy use is integral to their total cost. Moreover, they need real-time data in order to identify waste and make improvements in a timely manner.
Energy saving measures for production facilities Manufacturing processes are diverse. Cost-cutting measures for a variety of industry segments and applications follow:
Many energy saving measures cut across a variety of industries. For example, replacing pneumatic tools with gauges, drives, and controls can reduce the need for compressed air— a very expensive utility. Energy management solutions also incorporate high efficiency motors, improved power quality, and peak demand reduction.
Training and Employee Cooperation
A successful energymanagement program requires the involvement of all production staff. Train employees on how to operate equipment efficiently and encourage them to look for energysaving opportunities. Form work groups to continually fine tune equipment operating parameters, such as run time, flows, pressures, temperature, and humidity. Input and cooperation from well-trained, experienced employees is critical in reducing energy waste and finding ways to improve overall efficiency.