Manufacturing firms, irrespective of scale, spend significantly on energy. Processes related to production are most energy-intensive. Saving on energy spends is a great way to increase margins. However, significant savings require a well-designed and targeted strategy. If you do not have a strategy as yet, now is the time to have one.
Begin with recognizing processes that are consuming more energy. An energy audit is a great way to do it. It will inspect and evaluate your production equipment, HVAC, lighting systems, etc. An internal assessment team can go about with the audit. Several manufacturers do this to track their energy spends and make beneficial changes. However, if you do not have team members who can handle this, you may outsource the task to energy experts.
Ways to Reduce Energy Cost in a Manufacturing Facility
Check if compressed air systems have leaks
Wasted energy accounts for a lot of unnecessary expenses. You can bank on instant savings if you fix energy leaks. These leaks cause a lot of wastage. Many reports show that nearly 20-30% of a compressor’s output is lost due to leaks. Over this, this also significantly reduces the efficacy of the equipment. An air leak survey is one of the ways that will help spot leaks. It is a good idea to invest in or rent ultrasonic detection equipment to spot even small leaks. Fixing leaks isn’t as tough as it may seem. Replacing seals, fixing welding gaps, tightening loose tubes, and replacing worn-out stuff are some general fixes that your manufacturing facility may need.
Invest in better and upgraded equipment
Technological advancements ensure that new and improved equipment is launched in the market. Apart from offering additional capabilities, upgraded equipment is also energy efficient. You can opt for retro-commissioning to check if all equipment is offering optimal output. If not, you must replace the outdated equipment. We do not mean only the production line equipment by equipment; it could also be simple appliances such as fans and computers. You must perform periodic evaluation and maintenance of all appliances to keep your energy spends in check.
Ensure your lighting systems do not drain too much energy
While manufacturing units need to be well lit, it doesn’t mean you stick to old lighting systems that drain energy. Install modern energy-efficient lighting systems to achieve energy savings. Industrial LEDs are the latest recommendation to help achieve maximum savings. Also, consider putting lights only where it is required. You can remove individual bulbs in equipment placed in well-lit areas. This may seem meager but will help you save money in the long run.
Avoid running all equipment 24*7
Most manufacturers commit the mistake of letting all equipment run round the clock. Shutting down the equipment at the end of the day is a great way to save energy. Also motivate employees to turn off fans, air-conditioners, and computers when not in use. Again, you may think that these expenses are not significant. However, the saving may add to be enough to buy you new equipment in the long run.
Optimize process heating: Process heating is common in most manufacturing facilities. It also accounts for nearly 30% of energy consumption in a unit. You can save energy from this process in the following ways:
- Recover waste heat by installing recovery systems
- Opt for fuels with better combustion efficiency
- Install automatic blowdown control systems
- Ensure that the furnace is installed properly
- Effectively control exhaust gases
Optimize on value hours
Sometimes, electrical costs vary according to the time of the day. It is a good idea to reassess if processes that require high amounts of energy can be conducted in those hours. Manufacturing businesses must try and avoid peak hours to help keep energy spends in check.
Bring employees on-board with the idea
Everyone at your unit must be willing to save energy or not be easy to achieve goals. Hold talks and seminars and convey the importance of energy savings. Try and give them sizeable numbers to achieve savings. Talk positively and empower them to make better decisions concerning energy savings. Reward ideas that can be employed and can contribute productively to the goals. Put into perspective how their efforts will help them score better equipment and work conditions at the facility.
It would help if you came up with a well-defined strategy that encompasses all the above to achieve considerable energy savings. Most manufacturing practices that employ these best practices have reported better results and more profitability. For help and support for your energy auditing needs, call SkillDemand Energy today!