"Introducing the New Energy Management Solution
For efficient production processes in smart factories"
◉ Energy-saving guidelines in factories are not just an annual action plan. It is a key component of a long-term business strategy toward sustainability.
◉ Reducing costs, being environmentally friendly, and practicing flexibility in energy management are all essential steps.
◉ Efficient use of electricity must include various digital technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and internet of things.
◉ Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) is a new trend. Manufacturers simply need to inform their energy management specialists to get help.
In order for manufacturers to be competitive in Industry 4.0, reducing production costs is of paramount importance. One of the approaches to achieve this goal is to create a strong energy management strategy which most companies tend to overlook in the past. Nowadays, most production systems around the world use advanced manufacturing or lean manufacturing principles which require very few resources to create maximum value for the business. The same principle can be applied to energy.
Energy efficiency in a smart factory is an essential prerequisite because smart factories are interconnected and usually have high-energy consumption. They are also powered by different technologies and hardware. However, while energy is essential and should not be neglected, Factory 4.0 can limit energy consumption with next-generation technologies as well as intelligent automation to ensure functionality and connectivity, thereby making energy management more efficient.
Today's energy is becoming more digitalized with sensors. There is also a greater diversification in energy sources, such as energy generated from photovoltaic, wind power or local microgrids. This diversity enables users to control and use the various energies they have to their fullest potential.
It is clear that "energy management" has become a key component of any long-term business strategy. Half of the manufacturers surveyed in the Deloitte Resources 2020 Study said they were looking for ways to manage their energy more efficiently to reduce costs, reduce carbon emission to zero, and increase energy flexibility.
These operators are increasingly adopting modern technologies in order to manage energy and make the best use of existing energy resources such as renewable energy and energy storage. Most of them are also moving in the direction of using clean energy as primary energy sources to comply with environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) goals.
An example of a widely used energy management solution is the Energy Management System (EMS) which helps perform energy audits, improve factory operation with efficient machines, and track the costs incurred from energy use. This system helps save both energy and money, so the overall cost control of the factory can be improved.
In addition, an energy analysis system can help compare data from all energy sources such as gas, water, fuel, and others in a plant by analyzing it in real-time. It will identify recurring issues as well as other aspects to help make capital planning consistent with actual energy use.
Furthermore, if the manufacturer has many factories, they need to install an intelligent monitoring system to visualize the overall factory data. This makes it possible to automatically compare operations and costs, especially energy consumption to create an efficient management strategy.
The move towards Industry 4.0 or the digital transformation requires the adoption of new digital technologies which include cloud, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things that connect everything related to the manufacturing sector from machines in the production line to the heating and cooling system, as well as electricity in the factory. This connection provides insights into energy management which will lead to cost reduction, lessen the need for maintenance and increase security.
The Internet of Things is used in a variety of energy management applications. For example, it is used to check the condition of the pump and heat exchange efficiency. All of this is controlled via a wireless connection with a data collection and analysis system which is a cost-effective investment that usually takes less than 6 months to break even.
Meanwhile, the climate crisis is driving energy providers to search for new ideas on how to provide clean and connected energy. The result is a business model called “Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS)” which manufacturers who want to focus on running their own business can pass on their energy requests directly to specialists to take care of this aspect for them.
The EaaS service providers focus on developing deep capabilities in all digital technologies (including cloud, artificial intelligence, data analytics, blockchain, and robotics) and have the ability to manage complex energy systems to offer manufacturers a wide range of flexible and customizable solutions. One example of these providers is the Singapore-based Berkeley Energy Commercial Industrial Solutions (BECIS) which provides EaaS for commercial and industrial customers. BECIS works with SIG Combibloc, a system and solution provider for aseptic packaging (UHT Box), to bring food and beverage products to consumers around the world who aim to achieve their environmental goals with solar power solutions installed on the roof and on the ground. This project is considered one of the largest rooftop systems in WHA Industrial Estate. It is estimated that by the year 2030, SIG Combibloc will be able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 58,520 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).
It is obvious that moving towards Industry 4.0 is not only about using digital technologies in the production process to improve efficiency, but factories must also become more environmentally friendly. More importantly, operators must assess the cost-effectiveness and suitability of their investments in their own energy-management infrastructure, which will be followed by investments in a human resource who will be responsible with maintenance. Alternatively, they can look for an option to outsource to EaaS service specialist who is always up to date with the latest technologies in this field for professional assistance.