In this era of increasing environmental concerns and strict regulations, manufacturers are seeking ways to improve energy efficiency in their operations. Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing technology offers innovative solutions to reduce energy consumption and cut costs. In this blog, we will discuss strategies of energy efficiency in manufacturing using Smart Manufacturing technology.
The Rising Importance Of Energy Efficiency In Manufacturing
Energy efficiency has always been crucial for manufacturers, saving money, reducing their carbon footprint, and enhancing their brand image.
However, as the public becomes more concerned about environmental issues, governments face greater pressure, and regulations tend to see a gradual increase.
Take, for instance, the newly proposed regulations by the SEC. The proposed rule changes would require many US corporations to include climate-related disclosures in periodic reports. This includes disclosing greenhouse gas emissions, among other items.
The only way to preserve a brand’s image — while saving money — is to continuously implement energy-efficient practices, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving ESG ratings. In addition — and no small side benefit — improving energy efficiency lowers operational costs, thus increasing profits.
How Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing Supports Energy Efficiency
Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing technology offers several advantages in achieving energy efficiency in manufacturing processes:
- Enhanced visibility and real-time data: With digital dashboards and intuitive data visualization, manufacturers can track energy consumption in real-time, making it easier to identify inefficiencies and monitor progress toward energy-saving targets. This includes visibility both within the manufacturer’s 4 walls, but also throughout their entire supply chain.
- Automation and reduced human error: By automating data collection and calculations, Smart Manufacturing technology minimizes the likelihood of human error, ensuring accurate reporting and auditability of energy consumption data, as well as ultimately reducing a wide range of costs, from labor to energy usage.
- Streamlined calculations and reporting: Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing technology simplifies the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions across various protocols, geographies, and organizational hierarchies, leading to more accurate and reliable reporting.
- Improved collaboration and data sharing: With Smart Manufacturing technology, data sharing and collaboration between different departments become faster and more efficient, enabling better decision-making and more effective energy management.
- Surfacing opportunities: AI and ML processing of consolidated data, over time and with context, is the heart of a Smart Manufacturing system such as ThinkIQ. These systems can proactively identify cause & effects that would otherwise be nearly impossible to discover. This helps manufacturers surface opportunities for greater efficiency. These systems can proactively find waste and inefficiencies, in addition to simplifying reporting..
Real Life Applications Of Energy Efficiency With Smart Manufacturing Technology
Several software solutions and applications in the market leverage Industry 4.0 technology to help manufacturers improve energy efficiency:
Carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions management solutions — which can be found or built into most full-fledged Smart Manufacturing systems — streamline the calculation and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. They can automate carbon emissions factor calculations, standardize units and currencies across regions, and provide a comprehensive view of the organization's carbon emissions footprint, including supply chain data.
Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing technology also supports advanced energy management systems that help manufacturers monitor, control, and optimize energy consumption in their facilities. These systems provide real-time data on energy usage, allowing manufacturers to identify inefficiencies and make informed decisions about energy conservation measures.
The perils of failing to supply a full picture of your emissions are evident in a recent example from Tesla. Tesla has for years disclosed its carbon footprint. In 2021, for example, Tesla reported that direct operations and customer charging resulted in roughly 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide output.
However, Tesla was neglecting to report its supply chain and those indirect emissions. In 2022, when they included that figure, Tesla’s emissions jumped from 2.5 million tons to 30.7 million metric tons — generating a flurry of negative press and criticism for a company basing its reputation, in part, on its positive environmental impact.
Energy efficiency and its reporting, then, is a vital aspect of modern manufacturing, and Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing technology plays a crucial role in achieving it. By integrating innovative solutions and applications, manufacturers can streamline their processes, reduce energy consumption, and minimize their environmental impact. As a result, companies can save money, enhance their brand image, and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Are you ready to transform your manufacturing processes and embrace energy efficiency through Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing technology?
Explore the latest Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing solutions with ThinkIQ to start your journey towards greater energy efficiency and a more sustainable future for your manufacturing operations. Grab our free ebook to get started >