Making Energy Savings for A Sustainable Future with Proactive Maintenance

Making Energy Savings for A Sustainable Future with Proactive Maintenance
By Greg Hookings

For individuals seeking to lower their energy expenses, one potential solution involves acquiring new, more energy-efficient machinery. Nonetheless, this underscores a significant obstacle to achieving energy efficiency – the cost factor. If the expense of acquiring new equipment surpasses the potential energy savings or entails a lengthy return on investment (ROI), it might not be a feasible remedy, regardless of the positive environmental implications.

A more effective strategy is to sustain assets in their original efficient condition through a proactive maintenance program that can assess potential savings. For instance, preemptively replacing worn components before they malfunction.

Another approach for diminishing energy costs also hinges on data-driven tactics. By utilizing data from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which stems from operational technology, it becomes possible to accurately monitor and manage energy consumption. This allows for making incremental yet crucial decisions about the optimal times for high-energy consumption tasks in relation to the cost per unit of purchased energy. For instance, if energy-intensive activities like initiating a production line can be executed during periods of lower energy costs per unit, it leads to cost savings. Moreover, as part of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy, it becomes feasible to compare the performance of similar equipment handling similar tasks over time, aiming to replicate ideal operational conditions across various assets within an organization.

Both of these strategies center on obtaining insights into the operational performance and conditions at the application edge. To attain such insights, an edge computing platform is essential. This platform takes the copious amounts of data generated by modern manufacturing environments and transforms it into real-time, actionable intelligence. This intelligence empowers operators to make more informed choices regarding maintenance and energy consumption.

Proactive Maintenance

In order to restore older machinery to optimal functioning, maintenance experts require a continuous flow of information regarding the condition and performance of assets. What’s essential is not just periodic updates but real-time, on-the-go data as events unfold. However, this is often where the main challenge arises.

Assets are frequently positioned far from the computational power needed to generate valuable insights. Dispatching data to the cloud for analysis introduces delays and might mean the distinction between recovering from a maintenance problem that leads to unscheduled downtime or averting the issue altogether. As a result, enhancing energy efficiency and mitigating unforeseen downtime are interconnected concerns, and progress in both aspects contributes to improved financial outcomes.

Historically, achieving this level of preemptive maintenance has exclusively been feasible through a data link between the asset and the enterprise management software. Establishing such a link can be intricate within a manufacturing environment containing diverse assets and legacy equipment that remains operational. Even when adopting a solely cloud-based approach, it necessitates sending data off-site for analysis, causing delays that result in operators lacking timely insight into minor malfunctions or declining components that could swiftly escalate into downtime incidents and suboptimal energy utilization. In the absence of real-time access to data at the equipment level, operators are unable to visualize comprehensive data from all assets. This compromises their ability to implement a proactive maintenance approach, which significantly influences energy efficiency.

A Fundamental Step

Operators can effectively bridge the gap between assets and the enterprise by adopting edge computing, which allows them to have the necessary computational resources precisely where they are needed. Edge computing has evolved into an essential stride in every digital transformation journey. This, in turn, is a pivotal process for any company striving to curtail energy consumption without incurring the high costs associated with replacing assets. Through an uncomplicated, safeguarded, and self-sustaining solution, attaining data visibility that forms the foundation of real-time energy management and proactive maintenance strategies becomes achievable for virtually any industrial enterprise, across a wide spectrum of industrial settings.

These incremental yet significant adjustments to maintenance methodologies can yield substantial enhancements in energy efficiency. Not only does this result in direct savings on energy expenditures, but it also unlocks additional avenues for profitability. This includes prolonging the operational lifespan of assets and a noteworthy reduction in instances of unplanned downtime.


Making energy savings for a sustainable future with proactive maintenance