How to turn bosses into tree huggers: Show them the profits

Industrial automation technologies are doing the same for energy management as they did for production processes: Making already good strategies better, with faster and smoother operations.

04/17/2013


A basic tenet of human nature is responding favorably to positive reinforcement. In fact, most humans develop and sustain good habits because they like the results such behavior yields.

Corporations, which after all are just collections of people, exhibit similar behavioral patterns. The difference is that corporations are less likely than individuals to seek emotional rewards for behaving a certain way.

No, this is not an essay about the evils of faceless, soulless Big Business. The truth is businesses—in order to serve the greater good of providing valuable goods and services and keeping workers employed—must behave in ways that are most likely to produce a financial reward, i.e., a profit.

Until recently, few business people thought conserving energy was a particularly profitable behavior. To a large extent, energy was an afterthought. Though it was a variable expense, it never was enough to put a crimp in business operations.

Suddenly, however—thanks to a myriad of macroeconomic factors—energy has become a hot, and increasingly expensive, commodity. And that has corporations changing their behavior vis-à-vis energy. They now are more inclined to look for ways to save energy, because now that behavior can indeed bring a financial reward.

Manufacturers should be at the forefront of this behavioral shift, because they are among the heaviest corporate energy users. Various energy industry analysts estimate that industrial companies account for 30% to 50% of worldwide energy consumption. When you think about how much various forms of energy—electricity, oil, gas— cost today, and how much those costs can be expected to rise in the future—it makes sense that developing strategies for energy-efficient manufacturing could yield huge financial rewards.

This latest Industrial Energy Management supplement from CFE Media offers solid examples of how industrial companies can attack energy costs, and thus start reaping a share of those potential financial rewards.

If you’re a regular reader of CFE publications, you may already have guessed that industrial automation technology plays a central role in these energy-saving strategies. 

That’s because this technology is doing the same thing for energy management that it did for production processes: making already good strategies even better by making them operate faster and smoother.

Each article in this supplement is an eloquent statement of that case. The following articles, edited to fit onto print pages, are linked to full-length versions below, with many photos, and additional links for more information:

 

The real job of an industrial energy management system - An energy management system should gather information on any form of energy consumption and consider all factors that impact machine operating efficiency.

 

Attacking energy costs - Automated control solutions offer the best approach for sustained savings from energy-management programs.

 

Regenerative power units save energy - Spindle drives, decanter centrifuges, hoists, cranes, elevators, and torque dynamometer test rigs can save energy from frequent run and stop, deceleration with high inertia load, and overhauling torque by using a regenerative power unit. One application saves 54% of the power used, $1017 per year.

 

Solar power plant drives environmentally friendly business success - Supervisory control system provides real-time monitoring of massive solar network, cutting energy costs—and reducing emissions—at intermodal transit facility in Bologna, Italy.  

 

Why manufacturing companies are not profiting from energy efficiency - Reliance on the wrong metrics to assess value dooms many energy projects to premature death.

 

More efficient pumps use VFDs, consolidate logic - Application: Existing drives were not accurate enough to provide desired results and were not offered with conduit fittings. The solution provided was cost effective and more energy efficient than prior drives used and eliminated the PLC and control panel for logic.

 

Remember, when it comes to changing corporate behavior, the best approach is offering financial rewards. This supplement should show you how to do that.

- Sidney Hill, Jr., is a CFE Media Contributing Content Specialist, sidhilljr(at)gmail.com.

This article is part of the April 2013 CFE Media supplement, Industrial Energy Management.



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.