Energy management: Infor EAM solution now lowers carbon emissions, utility bills

Infor says a new capability in its enterprise asset management (EAM) package can be used to boost energy efficiency across operations. To prove this new capability works, Infor convinced management of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas—the site for Infor's annual user conference for the past three years—to agree to a systems demonstration that ultimately uncovered an inefficient pump that was quickly serviced to its optimum level.
By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff October 28, 2008

Infor added a capability for boosting energy efficiency to its enterprise asset management (EAM) package. To prove this new solution works, Infor connected its EAM system to two pumps that distribute cool air through the halls of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The Venetian was the site of Infor’s annual user conference, held October 13-16. Infor leveraged its status as a return customer—its conference has been at the Venetian for at least the past three years—to coax Venetian management into allowing the demonstration.

The experiment proved beneficial to the Venetian since Infor EAM showed one of the chiller pumps running well below its rated efficiency level. Further inspection by the Venetian’s maintenance staff uncovered several worn seals that, when replaced, should return the pump to full efficiency.

Johnny Bofilios, director of global asset sustainability for Infor, says the equipment monitoring feature is just one part of an overall strategy that Infor recommends companies follow to improve the energy efficiency of equipment—including manufacturing machinery.

“Normally, EAM strategies involve tracking asset life cycles and looking at labor and inventory costs,” Bofilios says. “But at least 70 percent of the cost of running an asset is related to energy use. You’re missing a lot by not taking energy into account. Not only can you save money by reducing energy use, but it also can help you make decisions that extend the lives of assets.”

An Infor enterprise asset management solution in place at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas employs this Shark 100S meter from Electro Industries connected directly to chiller pumps. Energy consumption readings are transmitted to an Echelon i.LON Smart Server via RS 485 communication protocols, functioning as a Web server for networks.

Bofilios recommends taking a phased approach to instituting energy efficiency strategies, starting by tracking current energy use and measuring your company’s carbon footprint—both of which can be done with the new Infor solution.

“We can enter information from utility bills, including the mixture of fuels—coal, natural gas, etc.—that are used to produce the electricity you are receiving,” explains Bofilios. An analysis is then conducted to determine how much carbon the facility is emitting and open a discussion of how to reduce those levels.

That can lead to the monitoring applications like the one demonstrated at the Venetian, which Bofilios says has the potential to save the resort more than $200 per month once the worn seals on the chiller pump are replaced.

The system in place at the Venetian consists of a Shark 100S meter from Electro Industries connected directly to the chiller pumps. Energy consumption readings are transmitted to an i.LON Smart Server via RS 485 communication protocols. The i.LON Smart Server, developed by Echelon , is a Web server for networks. That means it allows control networks to connect to other networks using the same protocols that govern Internet traffic.

In Infor’s Venetian demo, the i.LON Smart Server converted readings from the chiller pumps into XML files and transmitted them to the Infor EAM Asset Sustainability solution over the Venetian’s LAN.

Maintenance staff accessed the readings through dashboards on desktop PCs. The system can be set to transmit data at set intervals. In the Venetian demo, readings were sent to the EAM system every 10 minutes.

“Data can be viewed in as graphs, or in list views,” Bofilios says. “The system also can be set to send alerts when an asset is running below a certain level of efficiency. You can set it to notify the appropriate individuals by email, or to generate work orders.”