Reaping the rewards of data-driven efficiency

Benefits of LED lighting go beyond ROI to system-wide data mining

09/18/2014


With surprising swiftness, the era of big data analytics has reached the The Creed Monarch facility before and after replacing its 400 W high-pressure sodium lighting with an LED lighting system. Creed Monarch has projected energy savings of 1,036,669 kWh annually, or $108,436. manufacturing domain, ushering in unprecedented advances in how facilities are managed to optimize energy usage and operational results. Leading manufacturers, for example, are already leveraging big data to slash facility-wide energy use, improve space utilization, optimize scheduling, and decide when new capital equipment investments make sense based on accumulated data, among other valuable insights. Big data accomplishes this by providing an unparalleled level of visibility into facility operations, based on real (versus observed or anecdotal) operational data.

Historically, collecting and managing the large volumes of data required to enable big data analytics has posed significant challenges for plant facilities from both a logistical and a financial perspective.

This is because, at a minimum, big data requires the deployment of a large number of sensors to monitor physical systems (e.g., machinery, HVAC components, lighting) and plantwide occupancy patterns. Furthermore, widely distributed sensors must be supported by wired or wireless networks to transmit the data, processors to analyze it, and applications to transform the data into information that can be used to improve facility operations.

The rapidly growing numbers of plants now deploying big data analytics, however, didn't necessarily set out to solve this specific problem. Instead, spurred by increasingly aggressive energy efficiency mandates, they invested in lighting upgrades, which plantwide energy audits routinely singled out as the fastest, highest return path to substantial year-over-year energy savings. And, to secure truly massive energy savings-upwards of 90% over traditional HID and HIF lighting-the most discriminating facilities invested in intelligent LED lighting. In the process, they solved the big data sensor/networking/processors/analytics challenge.

As a framework for big data analytics, intelligent LEDs offer several distinct advantages over stand-alone data collection alternatives, including:

  • The ubiquitous nature of lighting, which reaches into every corner of a facility where people, systems, and machinery reside, turning lighting into an intelligence gathering solution for promoting facility-wide energy and operational efficiency.
  • Integrated sensors in every fixture, which generate copious amounts of data for evaluating both lighting and non-lighting-related events, such as energy loads and occupancy patterns. The Creed Monarch facility before and after replacing its 400 W high-pressure sodium lighting with an LED lighting system. Creed Monarch has projected energy savings of 1,036,669 kWh annually, or $108,436.
  • Integrated wireless networking in every fixture, which can be used to collect data from any type of sensor (occupancy, load monitoring, temperature, and so on), connected to the system. 
  • Integrated reporting and analysis tools, which provide facility managers with a single, uniform and, importantly, familiar way of evaluating performance metrics, by system, facility, or multi-facility rollups.

Although facilities are consistently paying for intelligent LEDs in less than two years through lighting-related energy savings, the operational insights afforded by the data the system collects go well beyond lighting, enabling the era of big data mining. For example, facilities are currently using this data to:

  • Consolidate high usage spaces by tracking the movement of people and equipment over time. Identify opportunities to save energy through load balancing or the scheduling of energy-intensive activities during lower kWh-cost periods.
  • Optimize production and maintenance schedules by tracking machinery utilization rates through lighting and occupancy data.
  • Identify operational anomalies, such as energy spikes or unusual concentrations of people over time, enabling corrective or, alternatively, supportive measures.
  • Identify where inventory should be placed to improve access, reduce transit times, and improve workplace safety.
  • Decide whether or not to invest in more capital equipment based on usage data.

Granted, plants have only begun to see the benefits of big data mining, but it is already changing the face of facility management, driving everything from simple forklift routing to more complex energy load management in search of energy savings. The fact that it leverages an already-paid-for network of distributed sensors, wireless communications, and centralized analytical tools simply makes it a logical-and economically justifiable-choice for facility-wide deployment. In much the same way that ISO, Six Sigma, and TQM revolutionized plant processes and procedures, big data is doing the same for the buildings that house, and the activities that support, these highly optimized operations, begging the question: Isn't it time to expect more from your infrastructure investments?

Yolanda Smith is an applications engineer at Digital Lumens.



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.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems

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.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me