Energy saving control projects

Energy usage is a major factor associated with manufacturing facilities. Tracking energy usage at the plant, production line, and equipment level can help monitor and reduce energy usage, saving valuable resources.

06/28/2016


Energy usage is a major factor associated with manufacturing facilities. Tracking energy usage at the plant, production line, and equipment level can help monitor and reduce energy usage, saving valuable resources. Courtesy: Alex Marcy, Corso SystemsImagine a production facility with zero downtime, no safety incidents, operators who operate at 100% capacity, and has enough orders to maintain maximum throughput. Where would a facility like this look for optimization? The first place would likely be reducing energy costs.

Although the facility like the one described above does not actually exist, understanding and reducing energy usage is a common practice at many facilities. Tracking energy usage can reduce direct costs for purchasing energy, improve equipment maintenance schedules, and integrate green energy and conservation initiatives to reduce a process' environmental footprint. 

Track energy use, reduce costs

The first step to reduce energy costs is to understand energy usage. Depending on which types of energy a facility uses, this can take many forms. One of the most common scenarios is using electrical power meters capable of communicating energy usage information with a process control system. This data can be stored in a process historian to view electricity consumption over time, integrate with various products to understand usage metrics, or even correlate with billing information to reduce peak-demand usage. This information can be reported on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule to help reduce costs where possible. Similar approaches can be taken with natural gas meters, steam and water flowmeters, and air systems. 

Reducing energy costs and impacts

Once energy usage is being monitored, it can be compared with billing information to see if it is possible to reduce usage during peak demand times to save costs or compared with production information to see if it is possible to turn equipment off when not in use (or in standby mode for shorter periods) to reduce overall usage. If it is possible to change production schedules to work around peak demand usage times, a direct cost savings will be realized.

For example, a slot machine manufacturing company in northern Nevada implemented a process to reduce energy consumption. The process involved sending raw slot machine cabinets from a warehouse staging area to operator workstations at various points on the line. When an operator requests a machine, the conveyors turn on to bring the machine to the first radio-frequency identification (RFID) reader on the line. When it gets to a certain point, the next conveyor turns on, with subsequent checks turning on conveyors until the machine is at the final location. A timer is initiated with each RFID check, and the conveyors turn off when they aren't being used for 60 seconds to reduce energy consumption throughout the production line.

It might also be possible to negotiate rates with utility providers in situations where reducing usage during peak demand times cannot be avoided.

Energy as a maintenance indicator

Another way to reduce energy costs is by tracking current, overall energy usage over time compared to historical usage as a way to understand any lingering maintenance issues.

For example, if air usage over the past year has been fairly constant for different production scenarios, and it starts to increase without an associated change in production, there might be a leak in the system. The same process can be done with monitoring steam or natural gas. Electricity leakages may be more difficult to track down and can be compared with other data points from equipment to find the culprit. This approach should be in addition to current maintenance practices and not as a substitute.

Overall energy usage tracked at the plant level can also be used as a gauge against billing to ensure what is being used matches with what is being billed, which can lead to uncovering energy leakage throughout the plant.

Energy is one of the major costs involved for many manufacturing operations. Tracking energy use can lead to cost savings and can provide insight into the environmental impact of a facility. Tracking energy use may also assist in finding process optimizations and ways to reuse or recycle energy through the form of heat exchangers or mechanical systems.

Understanding energy usage and costs can provide the foundation for renewable energy projects using solar or wind energy to reduce a facility's overall dependence on utilities if the cost structure makes sense to invest in an energy-generation infrastructure.

Alex Marcy, P.E., is the owner and president of Corso Systems, a system integration firm, headquartered in Chicago Ill. Corso Systems is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Emily Guenther, associate content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, eguenther@cfemedia.com.

MORE ADVICE

Key Concepts

  • Tracking energy usage for cost savings
  • Energy usage to reduce a facility's environmental impact
  • Understanding energy usage for process optimization.

Consider this

How does tracking energy usage assist in process optimization at a facility?

ONLINE Extra

See related Control Engineering pages on energy saving.



Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me