Energy Monitoring Using the Industrial Internet of Things (iIOT)
The growth of the iIoT has been driven by rapid advances in machine connectivity, and it is changing the way we work. Millions of devices - from thermostats to light fixtures to motors - are learning to communicate with each other and with operations managers.
A new view of operations management
For the first time, facility owners, operations teams, and engineers can view their energy consumption and machine operations at a very granular level - every pump, compressor, chiller, freezer, heating element, or motor of any kind - at a fraction of the cost prior to the advent of the iIoT.
Inexpensive, clip-on energy sensors allow managers to identify operational inefficiencies, reduce energy waste, and calculate operating costs accurately. Moreover, if a piece of equipment starts to operate erratically or to deteriorate, it can alert the operator and the technicians that it needs attention - before it fails unexpectedly and expensively! This has created a new view of operation management, focused less on fire fighting and more on effective management.
What is driving the interest in the iIoT?
Executives responsible for operations, facilities, sustainability and profitability are asking themselves the following questions:
- Can we use data from new IIOT tools to compensate for the loss of experience as older operators retire?
- Are we blindfolding our personnel in terms of machine visibility?
- Can we implement predictive rather than reactive maintenance - i.e. less fire-fighting
- Can we reduce unplanned machine downtime, which may be the largest operating risk we face?
Status of the iIoT
Every manufacturer to whom we’ve spoken is interested in the IIOT, and most of them have plans to implement it soon. Investing in IIOT solutions is a growing priority for those manufacturers who are looking for ways to:
- Reduce Energy Expense
- Predict and address unplanned equipment failure
- Optimize equipment settings and processes
- Calculate operating costs accurately
The Cash Value of Monitoring
The GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION estimates that real-time monitoring can generate savings ranging from 5% to 45% of total annual energy spend (see Sidebar); and even the most conservative sources indicate that 5% to 20% can be achieved by a well-designed system.
What Should You Monitor?
It depends on your facility and processes, but here are some possibilities…
- The largest energy-consuming equipment
- Critical systems - on which other processes depend - e.g. compressed air, cooling water etc.
- Troublesome Machines
- Equipment that’s hard to reach
- Older equipment overdue for replacement
- Equipment located remotely