Success in energy management starts with setting goals

Setting goals is easy; reaching them often proves much more difficult.

02/15/2013


Control Engineering cover, Industrial Energy Management, special section, February 2013Just ask one of the many people who already have broken New Year’s resolutions made barely a month ago. It’s a good bet that many of those folks didn’t really understand what it would take to make a major lifestyle change. 

No matter how devoted you are to completing a task, you’ll never succeed without knowing the proper steps to take to get the job done. 

When Control Engineering started publishing these Industrial Energy Management supplements, the goal was to spread at least a modicum of knowledge of what it will take for manufacturers to cut their overall energy use without negatively affecting critical metrics like production efficiency and product quality.

We knew that was a major challenge, largely because energy management is not a narrowly focused discipline. It touches every facet of a manufacturing enterprise—from monitoring the lighting, heating and cooling systems in the front office to making strategic decisions about allocating power to production equipment.  

The stories, in particular, shows how challenging it can be for a manufacturer to devise a truly comprehensive energy management program. It requires keeping a close eye on a host of moving parts, many of which are not always easy to see. 

Mission accomplished

For instance, our cover story is a case study on Steelcase, a 100-year-old company that leads the way in designing stylish yet functional office furniture. As Steelcase approached its centennial, its management realized that not only was the company not using energy as efficiently as it could, but its methods of tracking energy use were antiquated. That didn't just look bad for a company known for product innovation; it was unnecessarily expensive. So, Steelcase management set a goal to reduce energy use by 15% and shrink its carbon footprint by 25%, all in the five years leading up to the company’s 100th anniversary in 2012. With the help of a new automation and control platform Steelcase met those goals and continues to improve upon them. 

We also have an article about one of those energy-management moving parts that can be difficult to see. It's fairly common knowledge that variable frequency drives (VFD) can aid energy management strategies by constantly calibrate motors to operate only as fast as necessary to perform a specific task at a given time. This not only cuts down on the amount of energy a motor consumes, it also extends the motor’s life by reducing wear and tear. 

It may not be readily apparent, however, that that selecting the right VFD components is crucial to maximizing the energy-saving properties of VFDs. Read the article starting to learn why it's important to choose the right VFD cables. There’s also a short checklist on how to make the proper cable selection for a specific application. 

The third article should encourage anyone who’s waiting for the full rollout of the Smart Grid. It’s a Q&A with Brian MacCleery, principal product manager for clean energy technology with National Instruments. He is talking about a new development platform that should ease the process of designing devices that can be tied to the Smart Grid.

This issue does, indeed, cover a gamut of energy-management topics. We expect to continue doing so in the future. Again, our goal also is to pass on some useful knowledge in the process. 

This article appeared in the February 2013 Industrial Energy Management special section to Control Engineering, CFE Media.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.
Electric motor power measurement and analysis: Understand the basics to drive greater efficiency; Selecting the right control chart; Linear position sensors gain acceptance
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.