Improving industrial energy management with IIoT
Four IIoT tools that improve sustainability
Learn about a variety of digital IIoT tools that can be used to help manufacturers implement sustainable practices.
In today’s volatile energy climate, manufacturers are on the hunt for both immediate and long-term solutions for industrial energy management. Understanding where improvements can be made is only half the battle. Teams must also have a way to quickly and easily implement energy-saving improvements when they’re discovered.
An IIoT Platform is immensely beneficial in this regard: universal access means that anyone and everyone at the company can get the information they need when they need it. But that’s not all. A robust IIoT Platform will provide manufacturers with a variety of opportunities to kick-off or accelerate their energy management initiatives.
How IIoT can help manufacturers manage energy
IIoT tools stand out as ideal solutions for industrial energy management for multiple reasons:
Quick to launch and use: IIoT solutions can be implemented within days or weeks. It takes significantly longer to modernize, update, or replace equipment.
Low-cost investment: Especially when compared to buying new equipment, IIoT is a cost-effective route for manufacturers of all sizes.
High ROI: IIoT generates a high ROI given its low cost and relatively rapid implementation timeline. Many of our customers say that Braincube pays for itself many times over.
Based on facts, not models: IIoT tools (like Braincube’s ready-to-use applications) pair historical data with AI and big data analytics. The uncovered opportunities are unique to your processes, meaning there is no risk because you know the results are definitive.
Weighing IIoT against alternative options
The reality is that only IIoT tools can provide manufacturers with the kind of powerful data analysis tools they need to uncover energy-saving process optimizations. Modernizing or replacing equipment takes a lot of time and is expensive.
Updating machine settings is one way to improve energy efficiency. However, without the right data, teams can’t possibly understand how to adapt settings for specific production conditions. The weather, raw material sources, final end product: all these conditions (and more) make a difference in what machine settings to use.
Only by analyzing historical data can teams understand what to do in each given production scenario to save energy, reduce waste, or achieve other objectives. IIoT technologies and tools are the easiest and fastest ways to get these answers. The differentiator of these tools is that they take out the guesswork for employees, enabling them to take action quickly.
But how, exactly, can these tools help manufacturers reach their energy objectives? Let’s take a closer look.
Building a path for industrial energy management
After you’ve defined your industrial energy management strategy, you need to ensure you have the right data path in place.
This starts by collecting and transforming data. Here at Braincube, our Digital Twins handle these detailed and time-consuming steps for manufacturers. From here, teams can start teams can rely on AI and their process knowledge to spot energy-saving opportunities. These tasks are usually handled by technical teams, like data scientists.
However, new technologies like self-service applications make it easier for a wide variety of users to make new data-driven discoveries. For instance, these applications can perform automatic condition monitoring, trigger alerts when nearing energy consumption limits, and produce time-saving reports on specific machine performances.
Understanding and clarity regarding what’s happening on the shop floor is the first step on the path toward industrial energy management.
When used together, these monitoring and tracking tools make it possible to better adhere to compliance standards. As a result, production can stay within optimal conditions as much as possible. Understanding and clarity regarding what’s happening on the shop floor is the first step on the path toward industrial energy management.
Monitoring, alerting, and reporting on factory performance is an excellent first step to managing (and streamlining) energy consumption. Even so, these insights alone won’t help teams uncover the kinds of groundbreaking opportunities that move your organization to reduce energy consumption.
Teams must be equipped with strategies and technologies that enable them to improve production processes. Yes, data scientists are highly skilled at what they do, but even the human mind has its limitations. Advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are vital tools when it comes to data mining and complicated analyses.
Technical teams also have limited time to meet the needs of so many different departments, goals, and challenges. This is where self-service applications can play a big role in helping your company expand where and how it makes new discoveries.
Utilizing IIoT applications
Applications make it possible to distribute powerful analytical capabilities to other teams, such as process engineers. These employees are deeply familiar with the specific ins and outs of your organization. Pairing their intrinsic knowledge with the ability to analyze data using AI and ML means new paths for continuous improvement opportunities.
Learn how a CPG company improved compliance and reduced energy across its processes in this exclusive case study.
Self-service applications go beyond just performing analyses: these apps extract value from data and put it front and center for users to understand and act.
Applications can help bring teams together, too. For example, technical teams can send new production standards to Braincube’s Live app, which displays these new settings directly to operators in real-time. This means changes can be implemented quickly once they are validated.
The Live app also enables teams to track compliance with production standards. This helps ensure that your energy-saving changes are being adhered to as much as possible. Making changes won’t do much good unless they can be effectively implemented and teams are adequately carrying them out.
Using all these IIoT tools and techniques together—collecting data, monitoring production, analyzing data, implementing changes, and tracking compliance—will help your organization move efficiently towards better energy management.
Manufacturers have an endless sea of options when it comes to technology offers. It’s important to identify a suite of technologies that help hit the big-picture goals (such as sustainability or energy management) while also considering the day-to-day impact on the plant floor.
By tackling these challenges holistically—from technology to people alignment and resources—you can improve efficiency now and while setting up for long-term growth.
While most manufacturers know that they should aim to be more sustainable, they need information about how to track and measure their efforts.