Manufacturing businesses across Europe are striving to reduce their energy usage and costs as they continue to rise, affecting bottom lines and ROI. The planet is also negatively affected by industrial energy use, responsible for 26% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In the UK, the sector is said to consume 17% of the total country’s energy demand.
With Brexit, some challenges in industrial energy consumption have only intensified in the UK. Bringing up the topic of energy management in the corporate boardroom is an important first step, but what is even more critical is taking a holistic approach by following up and translating those conversations into concrete actions.
It is estimated that a third of manufacturers in the UK do not have any energy goals in place nor have set any KPIs to measure their progress. In addition to this lack of long-term vision, the current energy crisis generating an outstanding rise in energy costs often leading to missed opportunities made it harder for manufacturers to control their expenses and thus, remain competitive.
In this article, discover five measures you can take today to reduce the burden of high energy costs in manufacturing, regardless of your sector of activity.
5 Tips to Lower Your Energy Costs in Manufacturing
1. Empower your Energy Team with SMART goals
Speed and efficiency are two key aspects of industrial manufacturing and modern production processes. Yet, both are more difficult to achieve than ever due to unpredictable system failures, uncontrolled overhead costs and energy waste. To reach their production goals quickly and efficiently, manufacturers must align operational performance with a comprehensive energy strategy – and task the right people to carry it out.
This can be done by assembling an energy team responsible for setting and meeting SMART energy management goals.
For instance, an industrial metallurgy plant in Spain managed to save 110,000 EUR by assigning a dedicated energy team to set, implement and continually review their SMART energy goals.
Once the objectives are clearly set, it is time to onboard employees in your journey. Indeed, an energy efficiency plan shouldn’t be only driven by executive and energy teams: this type of project needs to be collaborative and supported by all actors of a company. In this recent article, we talk about how to raise Energy Culture, and more precisely how to build enough knowledge and awareness around good energy use.
2. Start Monitoring Energy Consumption
Each piece of manufacturing equipment in your plant is full of valuable data that can reveal low or no-cost measures to eliminate energy waste that causes your bills to be unnecessarily high. Installing real-time energy monitoring equipment puts your energy team in full control of your energy consumption, with the side benefit of providing alerts that can help prevent breakdowns in the facility’s equipment. Monitoring can also generate off-hour consumption savings as in the TACSA industrial metallurgy case. Indeed, it is essential for you to be aware of the time, days and processes that generate the highest energy consumption in your plant. By doing so, you could avoid peak-period rates, and adjust accordingly your operational hours.
3. Switch to LED Lighting
First, you were told to switch from fluorescent to CFL, and now it’s all about LEDs. With a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours for high-quality LED lamps, there are significant energy savings to be made – on the order of 75%. Pretty hard to argue within a cost-benefit analysis you’ll need to submit to the CFO. Plus, a switch to LEDs comes with added benefits for your facility’s working environment by providing a higher quality of lighting which increases safety and productivity.
4. Power Factor Correction
Power Factor (PF) refers to the ratio of real power to the apparent power flowing to an electrical load (e.g. a packaging machine in your production plant) from the power source. It is important for manufacturing businesses to understand how a poorly adjusted power factor can raise your facility’s energy bill.
When a motor is working inefficiently, the kVA (reactive power) increases which results in increased power consumption that might not show up on your utility bill, which typically measures KW (resistive power). Some utilities penalise customers whose power factor is too low, causing your energy bill to be unnecessarily high.
That’s why it’s essential to verify your kVA maximum demand with your utility, especially if you have installed more efficient equipment or upgraded certain machines in the last few years. Even though a lower demand is being placed on your system, your kVA might be higher than actually required. You can save as much as 12% and reduce your energy losses by over 50% simply by asking for a power factor adjustment – at no additional cost to your operations.
As the utility market becomes increasingly deregulated, industrial manufacturers in the UK and Europe will be able to negotiate with multiple providers to help them get the best deal on energy costs in their production processes. But without the right information about the energy consumption profile of their facilities and processes, it can be difficult to shop around.
5. Look for Alternative Options to Reduce Energy Waste
Have you ever heard of the term waste-heat (WHE)? It is the heat produced by your machinery when creating products and by-products. One-sixth of the global energy consumption can be attributed to waste heat. This residual heat can be converted into energy that can then be reused in other production processes in your factory. This recent article explains how residual heat can be harnessed and reused and what are the benefits of its utilisation in your plant.
Use Technology to Measure the Impact
Do you now feel ready to implement a plan to lower your costs and improve your carbon footprint? If so, you’re on the right track!
For your plan to be successful, we strongly recommend you to monitor your actions with the help of technology. Implementing a tool such as an Energy Management System (EMS) will help you identify the zones (e.g., which machine or which area of your factory) that require the most energy efficiency measures to be taken. Moreover, you will be able to track and verify the proper functioning of these measures on a real-time basis.
Thanks to the implementation of an EMS like the DEXMA Platform, you can detect potential leaks and anomalies, analyse and optimise your energy consumption very easily. If you would like to know how to improve your energy performance with such a tool and head toward smarter manufacturing management, don’t hesitate to contact us.
In this case study, learn how an industrial manufacturing facility in Spain solved this information gap and managed to save more than 100,00 EUR in the process: