Practical energy efficiency

It’s ante up time. By clearly stating that we had an education agenda in mind when initiating regular coverage of sustainable engineering in November, Control Engineering made a commitment to provide readers with critical how-to information on the topic of sustainability—just as we’ve done for more than five decades for control and automation technologies...


ONLINE extra

- Control Engineering has a monthly Sustainability eNewsletter . Click the link above to see the latest edition or sign up.

-Feedback: Use the tool provided to post a comment or suggestion or contact me directly.

It’s ante up time. By clearly stating that we had an education agenda in mind when initiating regular coverage of sustainable engineering in November, Control Engineering made a commitment to provide its readers with critical how-to information on the topic of sustainability—just as we’ve done for more than five decades for control and automation technologies in the process and discrete manufacturing industries.

In keeping with that commitment, we’re delivering some practical energy efficiency tips (see this month’s cover story, " Energy Management: First Steps Toward Greater Efficiency "). The original intent was to gather enough information for the January 2009 article, but response was so overwhelming that we’re developing two energy efficiency how-to articles, the first of which appears in this issue. The next installment will appear in February.

What I found most interesting about the wealth of information received was not how much of it we got, but learning why we received so much. Our contributors repeatedly see manufacturing facilities where these core practices are not put into action. These practices are not avoided because they are complex or costly. Apparently, they are the type of common sense practices often bypassed while focusing on enabling a process to be as productive as possible.

An example of this can be found in our November 2008 supplement. A table on page S10 (accessible online via the November archives in the article “ Supersizing Our Way to Energy Inefficency ”) showed that of the five motor-driven plant applications identified where the most energy could be saved, four of them related to fans or pumps. In each of these cases, adding a drive could save anywhere from 35% to 61% of kWh used.

With this revelation in mind, and as a way of providing you yet another tip in this issue, take a look at the tools available now to help avoid such mistakes. A good example of such a tool is the Energy Savings Predictor —a free software tool from This software enables the user to figure out just how much energy and money can be saved by installing and using a variable frequency drive (VFD) in a motor-driven application. The Predictor software also contains an emissions calculation module, which will measure and graph exactly how much less CO 2 would be released by using a VFD with the motor.

I hope you enjoy reviewing the tips provided to help get you on the path to sustainable engineering. As you visit the sustainable engineering content we provide in our electronic newsletter, podcasts, Webcasts, and on our soon-to-be-launched Internet microsite, remember that sustainable engineering is relevant not only for its environmental benefits, but for the monetary ones that will get you and your efforts recognized for the direct, bottom-line boost they provide to the company.

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.