The following case study reports a project of Energy Efficiency in production plants, implemented in the manufacturing sector. In just one year, MIPU has managed to reduce the energy consumption of a customer’s production line by 11%.
“We didn’t expect there was so much energy waste in our process. This project has given us a great competitive advantage” – Technical Director.
“With better performance reports it is easier to inform the Board and get the approval for efficiency activities” – Chief Production Manager.
Energy efficiency is a key element in the journey towards a sustainable energy future. As the global energy demand continues to grow, actions aimed at increasing the energy efficiency are essential.
It is fundamental to improve the energy efficiency of plants in the industrial sector. This is because “energy efficiency” does not imply producing less to reduce energy consumption. Rather, it allows to enhance the plant productivity and efficiency, permitting the plant to produce the same with less resources.
Therefore, in industry more than elsewhere, energy efficiency has heavy implications both on the profitability and on the sustainability of production.
Process automation can help to improve the energy efficiency of industrial production plants in many ways. Implementing monitoring, control and optimization strategies positively affects energy performance. Directly, reducing waste, and indirectly, through maintenance practices that help to prevent an increase in energy consumption due to downtime, stop and start processes as well as defective products.
In this case study, our client is a large company specialized in the production of metal components. It is also a world leader in the production of wagon parts, offering the widest choice of components and track-laying systems for tracked machines. Its production centers provide components and tracks for the main OEMs earthmoving machines, including Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, John Deere, Liebherr, Case CE and Dresserr.
CUSTOMER’S NEEDS: REDUCE ENRGY CONSUMPTION
The Ferrara plant covers almost 600.000 sm. and hosts 2.300 employees working with a three-shifts system. Every year the company spends about EUR 30 million on electricity and gas. Over the last 10 years, the Board has invested more than EUR 400 million in Innovation. Ferrara has used part of these investments to optimize energy use and become more efficient. The client contacted MIPU with the intention of starting a pilot project in order to assess the potential savings on the Ferrara site. The challenge was to reduce energy consumption of a production line by 5% with only 4 measuring devices and one-year ROI limit.
OUR SOLUTION FOR THE ENERGY CONTROL OF A PRODUCTION LINE
As first step, MIPU analyzed the whole production line and defined the most critical area, with the purpose of reducing initial investments and obtaining rapid and measurable results. This has become the goal of the pilot project. The critical production area identified was a molding line, composed of cutting bars plus load bars, oven, press and deburring machine. The annual expenditure on electricity was €400.000, which represented approximately 5% of the total expenditure on electricity of the plant.
Consumption exceeds normal values due to a mechanical failure
Having 13 months of data collection, thanks to the 4 existing measuring devices, MIPU collected additional production data and started modeling the energy consumption of the line. This approach has made it possible to understand and predict the consumption of each component. Through historical data, it was therefore possible to identify causes of energy waste and inefficiency and thus set up an automated control of energy consumption.
THE RESULTS ACHIEVED: REDUCED BY 11% THE ENERGY CONSUMPTION OF A PRODUCTION LINE
Once consumption and costs were predicted, our costumer used CUSUM control charts to control consumption on an ongoing basis. As a result it was possible to:
- – Understand the effects of interventions from an energy point of view;
- – Find previous defects and define procedures to avoid them for an estimate return of €20.000/year;
- – Use our software platform to automatically monitor the consumption of the production line avoiding additional waste with the value of €10.000/ year. An example of waste avoided is the detection of line malfunctioning;
- – Improve maintenance by simply monitoring energy consumption. This resulted in additional direct cost savings of €5.000/year;
- – Optimize the set-up parameters of the equipment, such as the oven temperature, the production cycle, guaranteeing an additional saving of 10,000 € / year;
- – Know, verify and monitor the return on each action of energy efficiency;
- – Plan a consumption budget for the line equipment;
Now the company is working on the third and fourth phase of the project: load management and continuous improvement.
In the load management phase, the Energy Manager is considering the possibility of reducing or dividing the use of the equipment into different tariff periods. Furthermore, The Energy Manager is setting up an automatic system to adjust HVAC operating parameters and illumination for different seasons.
The final energy saving was €45.000 for one year, meaning that thanks to this project the customer reduced by 11% the energetic consumption of the production line. This convinced the producer to install other 16 measuring devices in order to cover 80% of the total consumption. In this way, they were able to distribute the results obtained so far to the rest of their plant.
If you want to discuss a possible pilot project for your production site, just contact us.