Processes

Energy in a Third Dimension

Some energy is used for facility operations such as heating, cooling, and lighting the building. Typically, however, most of the energy coming into the plant is used to power machinery, to convert raw materials into intermediate products, to generate steam, or to facilitate production.

Traditionally, industrial energy consumption has been seen in one dimension as an unavoidable, unmanageable cost of doing business. But, in fact, managing energy is actually a three-dimensional challenge: reducing consumption, accessing lower rates, and optimizing use. Fortunately, you can make behavioral and programming changes to use energy more productively.

Reduce Consumption.

You can use less energy—for example, by taking advantage of more efficient equipment, designing improvements such as reuse of waste heat into your processes, or scheduling production intelligently to minimize energy-intensive changeover procedures.

Access Lower Rates.

You also can use cheaper energy—by managing where, how, and when energy is used to harness it when it is least expensive, such as during off-peak times.

Optimise Energy Use.

The third, most sophisticated dimension—and the one that will ultimately have the most impact on financial performance—is optimizing energy use to achieve production goals in the least expensive, most profitable way while balancing the many variables inherent in manufacturing. In other words, you can actively manage your energy as one of many inputs to the overall production equation, rather than simply as plant overhead.

Energy Management Program Checklist

Does my company:                                                                                                                          Yes/No

Conduct ongoing energy assessments?

Have company wide energy reduction programs and incentives in place?

Incentivize employees at various levels for reducing operating costs?

Leverage price incentives for load management?

Understand demand for each line and machine?

Have a historical view of energy usage over a set period of time, including variations in weather and seasons?

Modify production schedules according to energy demands, leveraging off-peak times?

Predict energy loads before reaching peak?

Have energy-efficient power control technology in place, like variable-frequency drives?

Leverage emission credits as a company asset?