What’s your energy level?

Yet another regulation will soon affect manufacturing companies. In July, 2007, the European Union Directive 2005/32/EC for Energy-using Products (EuP) will become effective. If you manufacture or design energy-using products (or parts that go inside) and sell them into the European Union, then this directive has serious implications to your manufacturing IT and business IT organizations.

By Dennis Brandl January 1, 2007

Yet another regulation will soon affect manufacturing companies. In July, 2007, the European Union Directive 2005/32/EC for Energy-using Products (EuP) will become effective. If you manufacture or design energy-using products (or parts that go inside) and sell them into the European Union, then this directive has serious implications to your manufacturing IT and business IT organizations.

EuP is an eco-design directive aimed at reducing total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by any product that uses energy during its operation. It covers the full product life cycle, including the initial product design and production. The important element for manufacturing IT is the inclusion of energy consumed during material production and manufacturing. Even if your company does not manufacture an EuP, it may produce materials used in an EuP and, therefore, is covered by the directive.

Basically, Directive 2005/32/EC covers any product with a power plug, battery, fuel tank, or gas or steam hookup. The directive states that documents related to conformity assessments are to be available for inspection for 10 years after manufacturing and that the documents must be made available within 10 days of a request. A record of the energy used during material production and manufacturing can usually be stored in an ERP or other business-level system. Yet the source of the information in the documents will come from production-level systems.

Changes: sensors, data collection

Following the EuP directive will require business process changes. Most of these will be minor, such as inclusion of an energy element in the bill of materials (BOM). Business IT organizations may have already started projects to support EuP or will be starting them soon. However, even minor business process changes may have a major impact on shop floor systems that must collect and consolidate energy use.

Manufacturing IT groups should immediately start planning for support of the EuP directives. This includes determining where energy use is currently collected, where it can be calculated from machine run times, where it can be estimated from total energy use measurements, and where new sensors and measurements are needed. This information will need to be normalized to the same unit of measure, sanitized to remove extraneous energy use (such as energy used during non-product-related maintenance or periods of non-production), related to the product being produced, and, finally, sent to the ERP system as part of a normal end-of-production report. Initially, energy use may be estimated, but there will be growing financial and market pressures to report actual energy use. Actual use will become increasingly important over time as manufacturing efficiencies improve and these improvements are to be recorded as part of EuP compliance.

Increasing integration

One unintended consequence of this directive will be the further integration of power distribution, HVAC, and production systems. Today, these are typically separate systems, from different vendors, and managed by different departments. With the requirement to collect energy use information (including HVAC energy use) as it relates to specific production, these systems will require integration. Manufacturing projects to support EuP will need to look beyond typical production systems to provide a single consolidated source of energy use information. This may include integrating power distribution and HVAC systems into a plant-wide manufacturing integration bus.

The manufacturing IT skill set now includes knowledge of manufacturing-related laws, regulations, and compliance directives. The EuP directive joins the list of EU directives for manufacturing companies, including the WEEE directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), the RoHS directive (Restrictions on the use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment), and the European Health and Consumer Protection Directorate 178/2002.

Visit ec.europa.eu/enterprise/eco_design for more information on the EuP directive.

Author Information
Dennis Brandl, dbrandl@brlconsulting.com , is president of BR&L Consulting, Cary, NC, which is focused on manufacturing IT.