When business managers ponder about Industry 4.0 themes in meetings or public events, there is always a question of where can one see the tangible benefits. While the jury is still not out, one area where Industry 4.0 can be seen as promising is improving Energy or Resource consumption performance. This is achieved by employing customized real-time analytics developed on easy-to-configure IOT Platforms.

Manufactures are increasingly concerned by energy costs as it is amongst the top three/four cost heads. To mitigate the impact, most industries deploy all capex, design & operational modifications to achieve energy efficiency improvements over time & believe they are done away with.

However, CXOs and Finance/costing teams believe a lot of energy & utility inefficiencies are still left on the table. Industry research shows this potential to be in the order of 5% to 30%. What hinders the management is the inability to have a unified real-time view of the performance to pin point deviations & arrest energy losses.

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Challenges Faced by Industry

In Energy Management, the key challenge factories face are disparate data sources, frequent changes in raw material or product grades & variations in capacity utilizations among others. Simplified & high-level fixed benchmarks not taking into account the dynamic nature of operations limits actionable intelligence. The off-the-shelf software tools also do not serve the purpose, as each factory’s energy & mass flows are unique and they do not mirror the facility’s production dynamics. The Energy Analytics solution developed by ITC Infotech can help manufacturers’ address this challenge by customized data analysis to provide crisp information to take immediate actions.

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Dynamic Benchmarks

Manufacturing facilities over a period of time may have exceeded or deviated from the design values for energy consumption as a number of retrofits and process modifications would have been undertaken. Hence, what is needed is the latest benchmarks taking into account a host of internal (capacity utilization, raw material/product grades) and external (weather, price of fuel) conditions.

We start this with taking 2 to 5 years of historic data for any facility as reference for statistical modelling to understand key cause-effect patterns affecting efficiency. The data could be from DCS, SCADA, PLC, ERP systems and even log books. For each of the major influencing conditions, dynamic benchmarks are created for the range of process conditions. These benchmarks are now called ‘optimum efficiency bands’.

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How Does it Work on the Shop Floor?

Once the optimum efficiency bands are arrived at, the actual efficiency at any given time is compared with the relevant band to arrive at the performance gap. We all know that money speaks best. Hence, the performance gap is converted to financial metrics such as Opportunity Costs (monetary benefit foregone) to provide instant visibility on the extent of loss.

The performance gap now aids in easy root cause analysis which helps in taking quick corrective actions to address under performance. Dashboards enable users to easily visualize losses across units and lines, seek control and target high performance consistently. Lean methods such as Quality Management Systems & Pareto Analysis can then be applied for narrowing the energy efficiency performance gap.

What is important for impactful analytics is providing succinct KPIs/metrics which are sharp & complete. It should address the shop-floor to top-floor audience to help both in trouble-shooting as well as strategic analysis. Once the model is built and validated, the engagement should move towards diagnostic and predictive analytics, helping narrow the performance gap and arrive at next level of efficiency benchmarks. The entire work involves a lot of consulting work by domain experts and extensive client stakeholder engagements during design, implementation and post deployment stage.

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Energy Analytics can help process industries to gain quick visibility and insights of the energy efficiency of the plant. Clients can expect around 5-20% savings in energy costs with an attractive ROI & payback in 1 to 2 years. GHG emissions accounting, water use analytics, emissions and other utility related analytics can be conveniently added on for visibility and control.

The solution primarily targets performance deviations in operational, maintenance and behavioral areas thus helping narrowing the gap. It empowers employees to save energy and at the same time makes them more accountable. It also signals where the organization needs to invest next to improve performance.

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How to Get Started?

ITC Infotech has leveraged ThingWorx IOT platform to connect all the threads of data sources using the Kepware connectivity. The mashups can be easily developed using inbuilt tools to provide real-time visibility, alerts & notifications. New data sources can be easily configured whenever shop-floor configuration changes to keep it relevant.

The above solution from ITC Infotech can be offered across process & discrete manufacturing facilities. As each manufacturing plant’s configuration is unique with its own distinctive mass and energy flows, customized Energy Analytics solutions can help these industries gain quick insights conveniently, take corrective actions without delay and thus aim for consistent high performance.

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