← Alle News

How Technology Can Drive Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing

5 minutes read · 4th Juni 2024

The real problem solving experience for manufacturers.

How Technology Can Drive Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing

In today’s rapidly evolving industrial landscape, technology is a pivotal force driving significant advancements in energy efficiency within manufacturing. Modern manufacturing facilities are increasingly leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced data analytics to optimize energy consumption, reduce waste, and enhance overall operational efficiency. By integrating smart systems and real-time monitoring capabilities, manufacturers can achieve a more sustainable production process, lower operational costs, and meet stringent environmental regulations. 

Utilizing Zero Loss Methodology

When it comes to energy efficiency, it all starts with how you approach the problem. Chartwell has always been a data-driven organization, and one of our driving methodologies for process optimization is our Zero Loss methodology. For energy efficiency projects we apply Zero Loss methodology by understanding the minimum “perfect world” energy required to produce one unit of a product. As an example, for a chemical manufacturer, this can be done by analyzing the energy required from a chemical reaction from an enthalpy perspective. In automated processes, we can understand the power draw of the process’ machines and our known maximum speed to get the minimum energy required to produce a product. Technology is a key driver in the ability to conduct this analysis from helping to collect the data required to do the analysis, to visualizing and monitoring the data in ways that make it easy for process engineers and operators to improve and automate processes, to sustain energy savings. 

To help manufacturing leaders harness technology to drive energy efficiency in manufacturing, there are two key pillars: collecting the right data and using that data to drive energy efficiency improvements. 

Collecting the right data

The foundational step in advancing an organization’s data maturity through digital tools is mastering the ability to measure and collect data effectively. Without the ability to measure and collect data effectively, understanding where the most valuable energy efficiency improvements can be made is virtually impossible. For example, at a global food manufacturer Chartwell used current clamps and energy metering to measure the power draw of each asset on the manufacturing line to better understand where the site’s energy was being used. This pinpointed the main energy consumers on site as the electric fryer, lighting, glycol chiller and air compressor. Through the Chartwell Opportunity Assessment and subsequent project, we identified and captured a 20% reduction in electric usage per Tonne of product and a 25% reduction in gas consumption per Tonne of product as compared to the pre-project baseline. Key project wins included automating the air compressor to shut off over weekends, lighting replacements, and trialing and implementing water cooling as opposed to glycol cooling. All of this was made possible by collecting the right data. 

Using data to drive actions to improve energy efficiency

Energy losses may be due to waste and rework product, slow running and downtime on high energy-consuming machines and process bottlenecks, and a data-driven organization should leverage digital tools to monitor each of these and drive improvement actions on their site. Taking a zero loss view of a manufacturing process helps to understand that there is a lot of energy efficiency gain to be made by improving capacity. Decreasing batch times and improving capacity allows manufacturing leaders to create more product in a shorter amount of time, decreasing energy consumed per product created and decreasing total energy consumption by shutting off machines when not in use. For example, at an automotive catalyst production site, temperature profiling at the oven helped increase efficiency by improving oven packing to minimize losses due to poor heat flow. Through re-profiling and hex packing, we saw an oven capacity increase of 24% valued at €7 million. Similarly, at a continuous superabsorbent plant, improved airflow efficiency, helped by automation of temperature control set points helped us capture a 9% throughput improvement, increasing the process’ efficiency and reducing the energy required per unit of product made. 

Another key step in improving your energy efficiency through technology is to perform rigorous data-driven energy balances through each step of your organization’s process. Often, we see large energy losses in heat up and cooldown phases, and a great way to recoup these losses without the need for expensive equipment or technology is improved coolant or heading fluid recirculation and improved insulation. For example, energy balance on a distillation column at a US-based manufacturer food ingredients, ethanol and biofuel identified that 58% of the steam’s thermal energy is wasted. Insulation improvements could recover 42% of this lost steam. The total identified recoverable energy savings was worth $2.2 million per year. 

Energy Efficiency Opportunities with Chartwell Digital

Chartwell Digital has a set of digital tools that help organizations capture and analyze data that can help improve energy efficiency. We developed the Opportunity Prospector, which connects to data historians, MES tools, and OEE data to understand performance, identify bottlenecks, and prioritize the largest areas for operational improvement in the plant. As part of a client project, we utilized this digital tool to identify a +128% capacity opportunity at an oversold site of a global chemical manufacturer.  

Alongside the Opportunity Prospector, the Process Visualizer transforms complex factory data into clear, intuitive visual maps to inform better decision making and empower teams to avoid costly bottleneck delays. A recent use exposed downstream delays worth 10% of total time at the bottleneck asset. By optimizing batch durations and enhancing throughput, manufacturing engineers can increase production rates, thereby reducing the energy expenditure per unit produced and lowering total energy usage through shutdowns of idle machinery. 

Chartwell Digital is offering a 2-day evaluation process that provides leaders with a comprehensive and concise view into the digital maturity of their organization and prioritizing actions for digital improvement based on their goals. Contact us today for your evaluation. 



Additional reading: