New approaches to asset management yield big energy savings

04/17/2014


Holistic view to energy management

Operating cost savings: This graph shows the savings associated with operating five 200 cfm compressors with a computer-based controller versus a single 1,000 cfm compressor. In addition saving on energy costs, the five-compressor system boots reliabilityIndustrial companies should be at the forefront of the energy efficiency movement, since this sector outpaces most others when it comes to energy consumption. Motors consume roughly 65% of industrial electricity in the U.S., yet only 10% of these applications have an efficient method of keeping motor speeds in sync with process demand. In the production environment, there are significant savings and benefits to be gained through effective energy management of motors and production equipment.

Understanding the facility's total energy usage over time-knowing why energy is used and how that consumption impacts overall operating costs—is critical to implementing a plan that will result in true cost savings. Energy improvement initiatives, when properly executed, can easily yield a 15% reduction in use.

A holistic, enterprise-wide strategy approaches energy as a manageable asset to help offset future energy price increases. This approach views energy as an input to production along with materials and labor. The objective of such a strategy is to maintain optimum energy procurement and utilization throughout the production environment while minimizing energy costs and waste. However, it is impossible to manage what is not measured.

Using meters, sensors, programmable logic controllers (PLC), intelligent motor controllers, and power monitors connected through energy management software tools, manufacturers are able to integrate energy metrics into production operations by capturing and analyzing energy data to make strategic energy decisions. Typically, metering starts with the main, then at each switch gear, and then at each high-value asset.

Software tools allow the correlation of energy use to the cost of production. That, in turns, allows production managers to make informed decisions about energy use. They can schedule production to avoid high-peak rates and employ visualization tools for process, line, or facility reporting. Real-time energy management integrated into overall production management using energy dashboards on the human machine interface (HMI) and desktop, threshold alarms, and other tools provide the ability to make strategic adjustments for optimum production efficiency at the most cost-effective energy levels across the plant.

Software tools allow the correlation of energy use to the cost of production. That, in turns, allows production managers to make informed decisions about energy use.

For instance, in a case study reported by Rockwell Automation, a North American packaging company used plant floor energy consumption data to determine that a piece of equipment was using an excessive amount of energy during the first shift. The company rescheduled production on that piece of equipment to the second shift and saved $66,000 in one year due to a reduction in peak demand charges.

Using the proper controls and techniques allows a facility to save energy and money. The key is to work with qualified personnel, either internal or external, that know the proper systems and requirements of both control systems and the processes that they are to control for optimal performance and efficiency. Often, organizations will hire independent third-party engineering firms that are experienced in both the systems and process, but are also unbiased toward a particular solution as not all facilities are the same.

Paolo Baldisserotto, PE, CEM, is a principal engineer for E4E Solutions, an Atlanta-based energy-engineering firm. He has performed energy audits at more than 200 industrial and commercial facilities, identifying energy and cost savings opportunities in utility systems including chilled water, steam, refrigeration, lighting, HVAC, compressed air, and pumping systems.

Brent W. Stromwall, PE, PMP, is managing partner and vice president of business development at Polytron, Inc., an integration and engineering consulting firm based in Duluth, Ga. He has more than 20 years' experience with foods, beverages, pharmaceutical, and consumer products packaging, process, and material handling systems. Edited for the CFE Media Industrial Energy Management section in April as a Digital Edition Exclusive. Send comments to controleng(at)cfemedia.com  

Key concepts:

  1. The manner in which manufacturers approach energy management remains the greatest barrier to maximizing energy efficiency.
  2. Energy performance gains from various one-off energy management projects do not deliver sustained energy performance improvements, particularly if those projects are not continuously monitored and adjusted.
  3. A holistic, enterprise-wide energy management strategy views energy as an input to production along with materials and labor. The goal is to optimize energy use throughout the production environment while minimizing energy costs and waste.

Consider this:

If you're constantly hitting the wall in terms of how much performance improvement you can get from your energy management projects, isn't it time to adopt a different approach?

For more information, go to www.polytron.com, www.E4Esolutions.com, or www.kaeser.com 


<< First < Previous 1 2 Next > Last >>

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.