March 31, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing

This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive look at how manufacturers like yourself, regardless of company size, can begin to monitor energy consumption in relation to production performance without the need for extensive investment or major changes to existing equipment. 

As Industry 4.0 rapidly advances, data plays a crucial role in improving energy efficiency. By implementing smart technologies and using data, it is possible to reduce energy consumption and costs, while also improving overall performance. 

Moreover, manufacturers will need to closely monitor the evolving environmental regulations and disclosure frameworks in 2023. Companies are making operational changes to meet their environmental commitments and regulators are implementing stricter rules for environmental disclosures (Deloitte, 2022).

At the end of this guide, we will provide real-life examples of how data-driven decision making by relating to equipment energy consumption insights can inform decisions about energy efficiency and sustainability, using one of our customers’ stories, Danfoss, as an example. 

With the help of this guide, you can get started on creating a strategy that is tailored to their specific needs, and ensure that they are making the most of your resources while minimizing environmental impact and reducing operating costs. 

Why should you monitor equipment energy consumption? 

Monitoring equipment energy consumption empowers you to: 

  • Get the footprint of energy consumption down to machine level:

This allows you to get the actual cost of energy consumed for a certain shift, batch, product, or performance level and pinpoint which machines consume the most energy and which machines are underperforming, this way you can make adjustments accordingly.

  • Use out of ordinary current consumption level as a predictive maintenance indicator: 

By identifying patterns in energy consumption data, you can proactively

address equipment issues before they lead to increased energy consumption or downtime. 

  • The data you need for energy reporting and decision making: 

Monitoring energy consumption data is crucial for tracking progress towards sustainability goals and compliance with energy regulations. By gathering and analyzing energy consumption data, you can effectively communicate your energy reduction efforts to stakeholders and demonstrate your company’s commitment to sustainability. 

10 Steps to get started with an energy monitor solution 

1. Defining goals and objectives 

Clearly defining the goals and objectives of the energy monitoring solution, such as reducing energy consumption, reducing costs, or improving sustainability, can help to ensure that the solution is aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the organization. 

2. Involving relevant stakeholders

Involving all relevant stakeholders, such as operations, maintenance, and management teams, in the process can help to ensure that data-driven decisions are aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the organization, and that the solution is effectively implemented and adopted. 

3. Identifying the most critical production equipment

Evaluate on which machine you want to start monitoring energy consumption that you think you can improve energy efficiency for. 

4. Data collection

Sensors and data collection devices need to be acquired or installed to gather the necessary data. This can include energy meters and other types of sensors installed on the line. 

5. Data Analysis

The data collected from the sensors needs to be integrated with a data management platform that can store, analyze, and visualize the data. This platform should be user-friendly and provide actionable insights into the data. 

6. Training and Education

Providing training and education to relevant stakeholders, such as operations, maintenance, and management teams, can help to ensure that the solution is effectively implemented and adopted, and that the data is being used to make informed decisions. 

7. Reviewing and implementing improvements

Regularly reviewing the data and identifying areas for improvement is an essential step in the process. Based on the insights gained from the data, changes can be made to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption. 

8. Establishing a process for ongoing monitoring and maintenance

Establishing a process for ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the energy monitoring solution is essential to ensure that the solution continues to deliver value over time. This can include regularly reviewing and analyzing data, identifying areas for improvement, and making necessary adjustments. 

9. Continuous improvement

An energy monitoring solution is not a one-time project but a continuous improvement process, that you need to review regularly and adjust accordingly to ensure that it continues to deliver value over time. 

10. Compliance

Depending on your industry and location, there might be energy regulations and compliance to be met, energy monitoring solution might help to meet those requirements. For example, ISO 50001 and Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU).

Case study: How Danfoss saved up to 33% on production energy costs

The inspiring case of Danfoss Denmark has its starting point in the company’s mindset of pursuing innovation and continuously optimizing its processes.

Since their main goal is to become a carbon-neutral company by 2030, waste and energy management are two elements Danfoss aims to tackle and increase production efficiency.

Data management in large companies is a complex issue to address, and in

some cases, companies feel there is a “hidden factory” potential within their current production numbers. For that very reason, reliable data insights are required so managers can narrow down the root causes of unplanned downtime while pursuing growth opportunities.

Danfoss and Blackbird started working together in early 2021. The pilot

program involved installing sensors in three different machines. After five months, the data gathered from the pilot testing helped Danfoss to take its production numbers to a new level. 

Martin Ole Madsen, Manager - Operations Excellence SVS EUR

Danfoss Power Solutions

“We could see when the machine was stopping when we had a pause or break in the plant shift, but also why the machine stood still. This became an eye- opener because you have a quite new system of machines plugged into one system, and maybe one simple part can make the whole system stand still for several hours. Several hours is equal to a lot of money wasted in production, so by adding the cameras and sensors, we could see the relevant data so we could locate the problem in the production line and fix it much faster.” 

Energy management was controlled through extra hardware implemented. This presented the opportunity to evaluate the energy consumption of machinery during standby, as well as the energy cost by produced part. 

Martin Ole Madsen, Manager - Operations Excellence SVS EUR

Danfoss Power Solutions

"By adding the energy monitoring devices from Blackbird, we are able to monitor what energy consumption each machine has in live time, and it has been a rich experience in these times in which energy prices are increasing." 

Overall, Blackbird's energy monitoring solution helped Danfoss to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and move closer to meeting their sustainability goals.

The easy-to-understand dashboard and real-time monitoring capabilities provided reliable data that shaped the mindset of the managers and empowered them to make data-driven decisions that positively impacted the business. 

Watch the webinar on-demand with our guest speaker from Danfoss to learn more about their energy efficiency journey

What energy monitoring solution to implement and how do you use it? 

If you're looking to get started with energy monitoring, plug-in device technology, like Blackbird is a great option. 

It allows you to track energy use at machine level, while integrating seamlessly with your existing systems, so you don't have to disrupt production.

Plus, it's easy to use and provides you with data instantly. So you can start monitoring energy usage right away. 

How to start monitoring equipment energy consumption with the Blackbird energy monitoring kit

To get started with the Blackbird energy monitor kit, first you have to choose your data collection method:

The Factbird Duo® wireless plug-and-play data collection hardware is designed to help companies to monitor and analyze data in real time.

Our system works through sensor data collection that is sent to a cloud-based application on AWS, from which you can gather insights from real-time or historical data. This information is available 24/7 and can be browsed from multiple devices. Thanks to state-of-the-art encryption technology, your data is secure with us.

The installation process is as quick as setting up a sensor, plugging it into power, configuring the internet connection, and then logging into the Blackbird Application to start retrieving data out of that sensor.

This implies that the installation can be done in less then an hour without requiring complex IT support, and your current data-gathering systems can remain connected - the Blackbird system is compatible with ERP, OPC, and PLC solutions.

After choosing the data collection method, you can choose the suitable energy measuring method for your equipment. 

The Blackbird energy monitoring kit includes direct current monitoring and transformer current monitoring solutions. 

  • Direct current monitoring is used for measuring the current consumption of machineries that consume maximum 63A (3-phase 400V).

  • Transformer current monitoring: The current is measured via the current transformer and the voltage is measured via separate wires. Max current is defined by CT (X/5A). 

Lastly install the hardware and the energy meter kit on your machine, Instantly get the data to track and account for the equipment’s energy consumption 24/7. 

Instantly get the data to track and account for the equipment’s energy consumption.

Thanks to Power Bi integration, you can develop performance dashboard to visualize your KPIs, such as total energy equipment consumption, standby energy use, energy saved for a specific time frame, together with your production data. 

Closing Thoughts 

In summary, monitoring energy consumption is essential for identifying areas of energy waste and optimizing production processes in the manufacturing industry.

By tracking energy usage patterns at the machine level, it is possible to identify which machines consume the most energy and make adjustments to improve energy efficiency. Data-driven decision making is also crucial for improving energy efficiency as you can identify areas of energy waste, optimize production processes, and invest in energy-efficient equipment and technologies. Monitoring energy consumption also allows to track your progress towards sustainability goals and compliance with energy regulations.

When starting to implement a monitoring system, it's important to consider the use of smart technology to gather real-time data and analyze it for efficient manufacturing operations. 

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