Top 10 energy saving tips for your shop floor
Saving energy and energy monitoring are top goals for any modern manufacturer, both for the direct energy cost savings and the impact energy consumption has on sustainability and the environment. Many are lagging behind in terms of energy consumption management, so there are plenty of opportunities to identify and eliminate energy waste and realize the benefits.
1. Tighten Up Your Quality Management
One of the most impactful ways you can reduce energy waste on your shop floor is by focusing on quality management. When your production lines are producing waste and rework, you’re expending both energy and raw materials reworked, recycled, or disposed of. Unlike the raw materials used, there’s no way to recover the energy lost to faulty production.
You can reduce this source of energy waste by improving how you handle quality management. You need to implement methods for reducing the number of rejected units, whether that means adjusting specific process steps or improving reaction times to events on the shop floor when quality metrics drift outside acceptable thresholds.
2. React to Energy Waste More Quickly
Energy waste can arise from many sources on the shop floor – idling machines, malfunctioning equipment, quality issues, and more. Being able to identify and react to these events can result in significant energy savings on the shop floor. First, you need to be sure that you’re collecting energy consumption data from individual production lines or machines so that you can tell where waste is occurring.
Then, you need to ensure that your production team has access to this data and the analytical insights in real-time. Storing away production data for later review doesn’t help reduce energy waste now. Your production team needs to be able to react quickly, ideally through the use of automated alerts that minimize latency as much as possible.
3. Establish Benchmarks for Energy Use
When finding ways to save energy on the shop floor, manufacturers benefit from having an understanding of their current energy consumption. Manufacturers need clear insight into energy consumption in order to plan realistic goals and track progress toward them. This is why establishing energy consumption benchmarks is vital.
When developing benchmarks, you need to have the proper level of detail or resolution to truly understand what’s happening on the shop floor and take action. Benchmarks should be developed for individual production lines, machines, or products to provide the best basis for comparison. Measuring both overall energy consumption and energy use per unit of production is also key to drawing the correct conclusions.
4. Schedule Production to Avoid Idling Equipment
When considering potential energy savings on the shop floor, it’s generally best to consider both overall consumption and energy use per unit off production. This ties energy consumption to its actual impact on productivity, which can better highlight issues that are impacting costs. One of the most significant issues that this metric exposes is the impact of idling equipment.
During work orders, every machine and piece of equipment will have a certain level of energy consumption. Many types of equipment consume nearly as much energy when idling as they do when actively running. Poor scheduling, bottlenecks, and unexpected issues that cause these machines to sit idle increase the energy consumption per unit off production, increasing costs without increasing productivity.
5. Work Toward Optimal Performance
There are many aspects of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) on the shop floor that tie in with energy use. Performance compares the ideal cycle time to the actual run time for any given work order. Lower performance can arise from slow cycles, small stops, and other issues.
When performance drops, the entire production line is putting out less production within the same time frame. During that time frame, machines are still running, along with auxiliary systems and building utilities. Minor improvements in performance over time can lead to significant energy savings on the shop floor, maximizing the productivity achieved for the same energy consumption.
6. Make Sure Your Team Members Are on the Same Page
When it comes to any initiative or policy, manufacturers see more success when all of their team members are on board. Be sure that your production team understands your energy saving goals and the steps that need to be taken to reach them.
Ensuring that KPIs are monitored, tracked, and accessible is an essential part of engaging team members in energy savings. These metrics can’t be relegated to reviews. Instead, they need to be an active part of the daily review for production teams. Keeping energy KPIs front and center ensures that all team members understand where energy savings stand in comparison to the organization’s goals.
7. Keep Up With Planned Maintenance
Unplanned maintenance can have a significant impact on energy use. Any reduction in machine availability causes energy waste as other machines and systems run idle in anticipation of production starting up again. One of the best ways to prevent unplanned maintenance is to ensure that your team keeps up with planned maintenance.
Your shop floor should have a defined planned maintenance schedule focused on keeping machines running, maintaining quality, and preventing material and energy waste. However, you can go a step further to optimize your approach to maintenance. If you can monitor and track the proper KPIs on your shop floor, you can predict when certain maintenance events are necessary. This lets you take a more proactive approach to maintenance, allowing you to choose the time to address issues.
8. Pay Attention to Peak Loads
When it comes to energy savings, manufacturers have two areas that they need to consider. There’s the overall energy consumption, but also their peak loads. Utility costs will depend on both consumption in kWh and the peak demand in kW across predetermined time intervals. Being able to monitor peak loads makes it possible for manufacturers to optimize their energy use to minimize demand and reduce energy costs.
To do this, you need access to real-time data to evaluate energy profiles for production lines and machines. These energy profiles provide insight into which steps and operations cause peak loads. With that information, you can optimize production scheduling to minimize demand costs. Understanding energy profiles can also let you identify sources of energy waste by comparing profiles over time or between different machines and production lines.
9. Carry Out a Full Energy Audit
When attempting to improve any aspect of operations, performing an audit is often a fundamental step that provides the insight and understanding needed to plan and execute effective change. This is also true for energy savings. If you want to achieve the highest impact possible on your shop floor, you’re going to need to carry out a full energy audit.
Many facilities seek out third-party professionals to conduct energy audits. However, this isn’t always necessary if you have the means to carry out the audit internally. To do so, you need access to accurate and validatable energy consumption data from your shop floor.
This data needs to have a high enough resolution to identify the energy consumption of individual machines and production lines, along with being able to correlate that data with specific work orders based on the time of production. Having at least a year of reliable information is also vital, as your energy demands will undoubtedly fluctuate over that period.
10. Have the Right Solution in Place for Energy Consumption Management
At the very core of your energy savings efforts, you need a solution that you can count on for accurate, real-time insight into what’s happening on the shop floor. Matics Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) is that solution, giving you complete visibility into energy consumption and other essential production data.
Matics RtOI puts that insight to good use with real-time alerts, communications, and work management tools to let your team monitor, react to, optimize, and manage energy consumption on the shop floor. Reach out to Matics today to book a demo and find out how much energy you could save on your shop floor.