The Manufacturing Industry’s Energy Cost Problem
Manufacturers across the U.S. and indeed the entire world are starting to see energy costs as one of the most significant unaddressed issues facing their industry.
Energy markets are volatile due to religious events half a world away, but it’s politics in our own backyard that have led to greenhouse gas emissions; add that to the growing competitive pressures of
globalization, and manufacturers are scrabbling for every advantage they can find. But is it possible to reduce energy costs without negatively affecting throughput or end-product quality? Of course it is — and with a bit of care taken, the investment can even pay for itself within a few years! Furthermore, the best energy cost solutions bring some significant side benefits with them, such as increased process efficiency, reduced long-term maintenance costs, and other items that can add to their impact.
Across the United States, the average manufacturing plant’s electricity usage breaks down into:
52% Motor Systems
11% Process-related Heating 8% Process-related Electrochemical Processes 8% Facility HVAC 7% Process-related Cooling/Refrigeration 6% Facility Lighting 7% Other
And the average U.S. manufacturing plant uses fuel energy for the following purposes:
44% Process-related Heating 22% Boiler Fuel 20% Combined Heat and Power (CHP)/cogeneration 6% Facility HVAC 3% Motor Systems 5% OtherClearly, while the standard array of energy-saving measures designed to help reduce the energy costs of an office building, warehouse, or restaurant will be useful to a manufacturer, they have a unique need: optimizing the energy efficiency of their big bad motor systems.
Motor Systems and Energy
Obviously, then, the question boils down to: “how can you maximize the energy efficiency of your motor systems?” The answer is as complex as you might think. The simplified version goes like this:
Obviously, these steps will, for many manufacturers, require the installation of a vast system that overlays their existing facility — something that can constantly and passively measure WAGES use and produce reports, that can remotely and instantly control potentially hundreds of devices across your facility in response to any number of events or on a predetermined schedule. In short, energy efficiency on the Motor Systems level requires a carefully-programmed computer with a huge number of inputs providing data and outputs controlling devices.