New approaches to asset management yield big energy savings

Intelligent use of control systems can maximize the energy efficiency of industrial equipment by, among other things, making sure equipment runs only when need to support plant operations.

04/17/2014


There's widespread evidence—in the form of numerous analyst reports, articles, and case studies-that industrial companies have made great strides at becoming more energy efficient in recent years.

There's also ample evidence that there's still much room for improvement.

The manner in which most manufacturers approach energy management remains the greatest barrier to maximizing energy efficiency. The typical approach is to launch one or more small projects that produce a quick-and sometimes even substantial-return on a relatively small investment.

Optimized compressed air system: This diagram depicts multiple compressors controlled by a system controller, followed by clean-air treatment and a storage air receiver with a flow controller. This setup ensures optimal use of energy. Courtesy: Kaeser Com

However, once these quick-ROI projects are completed, manufacturers often have trouble finding additional ways of improving energy efficiency.

Often, this is because management doesn't believe energy management projects can have the same impact on the corporate bottom line as finely tuned production processes or well-orchestrated customer acquisition strategies.

This belief also stems from the way most industrial companies approach energy management. Experience has shown that energy performance gains from various one-off energy management projects do not deliver sustained energy performance improvements, particularly if those projects are not monitored and adjusted in a continuous manner.

To ensure sustained energy performance gains, energy should not be considered a fixed operational expense. It must be managed just as carefully as production, quality, and safety. To do so requires the collecting of quantifiable energy performance data.

In a 2012 global survey conducted by Deloitte LLP, only 12% of chief financial officers chose the word "excellent" when asked to rate the quality of the sustainability data they normally receive. Industrial companies could benefit from the implementation of data-driven business practices that will result in continual energy performance improvements.

Establishing key energy-performance indicators

The best approach to reducing your energy expense and use is to take a holistic view of your energy portfolio. This is typically best done by having an independent energy-engineering firm review your energy portfolio. The energy-engineering firm will want to review all of your facilities and determine the key energy performance indicators (KEPIs) that drive energy use. These KEPIs may be different at each facility depending on what industrial process is performed at each facility.

To ensure sustained energy performance gains, energy should not be considered a fixed operational expense. It must be managed just as carefully as production, quality, and safety.

Each facility should have accurate energy cost and use data for each commodity that is utilized at the facility. This information will determine which facility should be addressed first. Typically, one would start where both use and cost are the highest, which leads to energy projects that will yield the largest saving opportunities in the least amount of time.

Once a facility has been identified as a viable candidate for an energy management project, the following steps can be taken:

  • A preliminary facility assessment to determine energy-saving opportunities
  • Energy project development with associated return on investment calculations
  • Project approval and funding
  • Project implementation
  • Project measurement and verification.

The controls arena offers many opportunities for reducing energy consumption in industrial facilities. These opportunities cover typical major pieces of equipment that exist in s various industrial environments. These include compressed air systems, boilers, refrigeration compressors, chillers, lighting systems, pumping systems, and more. In many of these systems, the purpose of the control system is to limit the operation of the equipment to run only when it is needed and to maximize the load on equipment when it is used.

A master system controller can be used to stage multiple compressors in complex systems. Strategic pressure sensors are deployed in the distribution headers and used to provide feedback to the control system. The pressure readings, along with the rate of change of the pressure readings, are used to select which compressors should run to meet the load and, in some cases, what the loading should be on the compressors.

The same concept of properly controlling multiple air compressors can be carried over to other compressor applications. These include chillers (where the compressors are trying to maintain a constant supply temperature) and refrigeration compressors (where the compressors are trying to maintain a constant suction pressure). In all of these cases, a master system controller can maximize the efficiency of the units by minimizing the number of partially loaded compressors.


<< First < Previous 1 2 Next > Last >>

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me