An energy monitoring system based on Industry 4.0 can help reduce energy consumption, leading to reduction in expenditure and a more environmentally friendly shop floor.
Traditionally, we have been tracking energy consumption for groups of machines like a whole shop floor. Maybe there is an energy meter for the whole shop, and we track the daily or monthly energy consumption. Nobody really looked at the numbers as a way of reducing consumption and cost.
Switch off machines that are not working
Machines are sometimes on but idle for long periods of time. E.g., there could be a whole shift with no planned load, or a whole shift when there is no raw material. Even when the machine is no producing parts, its auxiliary systems are consuming power – controller, lube system, coolant system, chip conveyor, etc. The power consumption during this time is probably 25% to 75% of the consumption when producing parts, and that’s a lot. Why should the machine be switched on and consuming power during this time ? An energy monitoring system on Industry 4.0 can alert shop floor personnel to these.
Identify high energy consuming machines
The quality of a machine has a big effect on the energy consumption. The efficiency with which it converts electrical to mechanical energy, for example, is decided by the quality of its motors, bearings, friction in moving parts, etc. With an energy monitoring system, if you track the energy consumption of different machines making the same part, you might find that some machines are consuming much higher energy per part because they are old or are of poor build quality. You can decide to use them less, improve their quality, or even replace them.
Operate machines during off-peak hours
Many parts of the world have Time of Day (ToD) Tariff system, with different tariffs for different times of the day. You actually have ‘happy hours’ like in a pub, with tariff discounts during some hous of the day. The logic is like this: During daylight hours (‘solar hours’), there is power generation from solar power, which is cheaper and is renewable energy,hence more environmental-friendly. During non-solar hours, power generation is wholly from thermal, gas-based and hydro power. All these are more expensive than solar power.
So the tariff can be, say 20 % lower during Solar hours to encourage people to consume less during non-solar hours.
So the variable tariff system promotes promotes the use of renewable energy sources, and takes pressure off the grid by.
To be able to do this, you need to track hourly energy consumption on each individual machine. To do this, you just need to connect an energy meter on every machine (or every machine that has high energy consumption), and connect the meters to your Industry 4.0 based energy monitoring system.
Leanworx tracks energy consumption in two ways:
- Electrical energy consumption of individual machines.
- Fuel consumption in furnaces and gensets.
In one CNC shop floor that has Leanworx connected to all the machines, machines run 3 shifts but do not work from 4 AM to 7 AM.The practice was to not switch off the machine at 4 AM. After Leanworx was installed, the shop head looked at the hourly energy consumption reports in its energy monitoring system, and wondered why the consumption was high even though machines were not working for 3 hours. The practice was immediately changed, and operators were instructed to shut off machines when leaving at the end of the 3rd shift. This resulted in a substantial saving in energy bills.
Energy monitoring system - benefits
An energy monitoring system running as part of a machine monitoring system on Industry 4.0 can help your shop floor cut energy bills, and become more environment-friendly. You can do these:
Switch of machines that are idle for extended periods of time.
Take advantage of variable time-of-day energy tariffs (‘happy hours’).
Weed out or improve high energy consuming machines.
Here are some sample reports from the energy monitoring system feature of Leanworx.