What a great week! I find myself in Orlando, FL at The Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professional’s (SMRP) annual conference discussing the topic of equipment reliability with many of the attendee’s. I am always amazed at the high level or rich content provided through the many Workshops, Track Sessions, and side events which SMRP’s conference committee seems to always pull together. Tomorrow morning I will be co-presenting with my good friend, Dr. James Neale of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Division of The University of Waikato in New Zealand. James and I will be presenting on the three perspectives of energy management and suggesting a new strategic approach to plant reliability and energy efficiency. I’ll share more about this topic with you in the coming weeks.
I mention all of this because these events have me thinking again on the topic of how we see and address Energy Management within the manufacturing and industrial environment. You see, energy is typically an organization’s third highest expense (the industrial sector consumes 50 % of all energy globally), so reducing its consumption can be a highly effective tool for cutting costs. While managing energy consumption is no small task, energy management solutions make it possible for companies to eliminate unnecessary energy consumption, significantly reduce energy expenses, and cut harmful carbon emissions — all with minimal risk and outlay.
ISO 50001:2011 was published the summer of 2011 with the purpose and intent of enabling organizations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance. This standard is based on the continual improvement and Plan-Do-Check-Act approaches utilized in the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management systems standards to provide compatibility and integration opportunities. Implementing these Standards should lead to reductions in energy cost, greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the negative impact on the environment.
As with many standards and improvement initiatives, foundational elements exist. The Energy Policy or “Commitment” is the foundational element for Energy Management Systems.
Businesses, Companies, and Corporations across the world are adopting internal energy and environmental policies to govern their procedures and practices and to promote themselves as socially responsible in an increasingly environmentally conscious society. These policies are not only driven by the social aspect but they also have economics drivers. Saving energy and cutting consumption costs aren’t just good for the environment, they’re good for the bottom line of an organization.
I challenge each of you to evaluate your corporate energy policy. These policies are visions and goals that your company believes they can target and achieve. Think about how (or whether) these guidelines and policies influence and/or impact the day-to-day operations. If you are unable to relate to or notice direct behavioral modifications, it is likely that the company is not committed to real change.
Polices should not simply be vague statements about improving and reducing energy consumption and environmental impact but include measurable targets for improvement (i.e., 15% reduction in energy use (MJ/hl) by 2013 based on 2008 baseline, 15% reduction in water use (MJ/hl) by 2013 based on 2008 baseline, etc.).
It’s about common sense & doing the right things!
Energy Efficiency is a by-product of Reliability.
- It’s about making more with less and doing our part to make our manufacturing companies more reliable, energy efficient, cost effective and competitive.
- This topic is about being smart, being responsible and being successful.
- Compressed Air Systems: Approximately 70% of plants use a compressed air system to power machine tools, material handling equipment, separation equipment and spray painting equipment.
- More than 85% of the electrical energy input to an air compressor is lost as waste heat, leaving less than 15% of the electrical energy consumed to be converted to pneumatic compressed air energy (U.S. DOE-ITP EM, 2008).
- Most leaks are at threaded connection points, rubber hose connections, valves, regulators, seals, and in old pneumatic equipment.
- Inadequate maintenance can lower compression efficiency, increase air leakage or pressure variability and lead to increased operating temperatures, poor moisture control and excessive contamination. Better maintenance will reduce these problems and save energy!
- Hydraulic Systems: when it comes to hydraulics there are two types of hydraulic systems; the first is clean, efficient and reliable, the second is dirty, inefficient and unreliable.
- As we look at hydraulic systems today over 80% of hydraulic system failures are directly related to the contamination or cleanliness of the hydraulic fluid. A clean hydraulic system sets the groundwork for achieving a reliable and efficient system.
As a reliability engineer, I find it exciting that nearly every major company in the world includes pages in regard to energy efficiency and environmental responsibility on their corporate web sites. I’m excited because we know that reliable systems, reliable processes, and reliable assets are both energy efficient and environmentally responsible.