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Guides

Sustainability & Carbon Reporting in Manufacturing:

A Complete Guide

The future of manufacturing is sustainable manufacturing. And those that adapt most quickly, and most effectively, will gain new competitive advantage.  

Carbon reporting in manufacturing will be the means by which you establish this new advantage; measuring carbon emissions, tracking them through the manufacturing process, and accurately reporting them with the same precision as financial data. This is the new requirement that the world is asking manufacturers to bear, to ensure we stay on course to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement of keeping the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. 

Yes, it’s a challenge. But it’s also an opportunity.  

And it may not be terribly difficult to manage. 

In fact, there are technologies available today that will be able to help you measure, report and manage your carbon emissions. 

Here is what you’ll learn in this guide: 

  • Sustainable Manufacturing: What is Driving this Change? 
  • Why should Manufacturers Care about Carbon Reporting?  
  • What does the Journey to Sustainable Manufacturing Look Like? 
  • What Types of Carbon Reporting will Manufacturers have to Consider? 
  • Carbon Reporting: What are the Challenges? 
  • How can Mavarick help you Comply with Carbon Reporting in Manufacturing? 
Flags at EU, regulations are driving sustainability in manufacturing

Sustainable Manufacturing: What is Driving this Change?   

At the end of the day, it is the warming planet that is driving these changes. 

The warming planet and the regulations that have been enacted to combat climate change. In this endeavor, governments focus on a single culprit: Carbon.  

Carbon-based molecules are seen as the greatest driver of the “greenhouse” effect. European, British and American regulations target the reduction of carbon emissions as their goal.  

In Europe, the EU’s Regulation 2019/2088 spells it out plainly: The objective is “reducing carbon emissions in view of achieving the long-term global warming objectives of the Paris Agreement”

In 2023, Europe enacted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, or CSRD, requiring European businesses to track and report their carbon emissions.  

So yes – it is the warming planet and government regulations that are the driving force behind the changes we’re seeing in manufacturing. But of course, beyond that, it is scientific consensus and consumer pressure that is driving the regulation. 

97% of climate scientists agree that the planet is warming, and that the warming is due to human influence. And scientists see reductions in carbon emissions as the strategy with the best prospects of slowing the change in the planet’s climate. And finally, 93% of Europeans agree that climate change is a serious threat, and believe that greenhouse gas reductions are required to save the planet.  

Whatever you think about the science of climate change, or the burdens of compliance with carbon emissions reporting, the health and future of your manufacturing operation will depend, in part, on your carbon emissions.  

Mavarick carbon reporting solution interface

Why should Manufacturers Care about Carbon Reporting?    

Carbon reporting will be vital to the financial interest of your manufacturing business going forward. Beyond this, carbon reporting in manufacturing represents an opportunity for you to establish competitive advantage. 

In general, there are 3 ways in which carbon reporting can help your manufacturing business: 

  1. Top Line: Increase revenue through alignment with customer sentiment and regulations 
  1. Bottom Line: Achieve higher profitability on more environmentally responsible products 
  1. Company Value: Increase Overall Company Value by becoming an Industry Sustainability Leader

Increasing Manufacturing Revenues through Sustainability Compliance 

There are two main ways to increase revenue through sustainability in manufacturing leadership. The first is to sell more product by appealing to customers and consumer sentiment, and the second is to win more contracts as a sustainable supplier within a value chain. 

As mentioned previously, 93% of Europeans agree that climate change is a serious threat to the planet. A 2020 IBM study found that 77% of consumers say that it’s important for brands to be environmentally responsible. As we move forward, we will see more and more consumers looking to sustainability as a factor in purchase decisions. And this pressure will be placed on those within the value chain.

Consumers have been shown to prefer sustainably produced goods when presented with a choice. The trend towards preferential treatment of sustainably produced goods will accelerate as more goods include sustainability as part of their product passports. The EU recently adopted the Circular Economy Package, which includes a provision to ensure sustainability is included in Digital Product Passports.

The upshot, of course, is that sustainability in manufacturing can help you create products that consumers have been shown to prefer. This is a direct way for manufacturers to increase their revenue through sustainability. 

The benefits of sustainable production will accrue not only to those manufacturers that are creating finished products for the market, but also manufacturers that part of the upstream value chain for creating those finished goods. 

The EU’s new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) mandates that manufacturers work with suppliers that meet sustainability thresholds. If you manufacture products that are used as components in another manufacturer’s processes, your carbon emissions will be a factor in the purchasing manufacturer’s decisions. Manufacturers that prove to be trustworthy environmental stewards – through faithful carbon reporting – will win more business in Europe going forward. 

Woman shopping - consumers have shown willingness to pay a premium for sustainably produced goods

How to Achieve Higher Profitability through Environmentally Responsible Products 

Not only can sustainability in manufacturing increase your top-line revenue, as explored above, but it can also help drive improvements to your bottom line as well. 

As we step forward into our new climate-conscious future, consumers are showing a willingness to pay a premium for sustainably produced goods. In a 2023 global survey of consumer sentiment, Boston Consulting Group found that segments of consumers are willing to pay a premium of between 3% and 12% for sustainably produced goods like cars and washing machines. That BCG study further found that these premiums can in many cases exceed the costs of moving to sustainable production. Consumers want to do their part to protect the planet’s future, and supporting sustainable businesses is part of that. 

Another way that sustainability helps you achieve better margins is through cost reductions involved with energy efficiency.  

Energy is both a top input cost for manufacturing processes and a top driver of carbon emissions. Monitoring energy usage and finding ways to use energy more efficiently helps manufacturers save money and reduce carbon emissions.  

In this way, energy efficiency and sustainability help manufacturers achieve higher margins. 

Learn more about energy efficiency in manufacturing in this comprehensive guide: Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing – A Complete Guide. 

 

Increase Overall Company Value by becoming an Industry Sustainability Leader

Early adoption of sustainability requirements will position manufacturers to implement new environmental regulations.  

For the near future, there is only one way this is going. Regulations will continue to increase. Requirements will continue to increase. The writing is not only on the wall; It is in the Paris Climate Accord and in the European Green New Deal. Manufacturers will face increasing requirements for environmental sustainability as we move toward the 2030 and 2050 goals – as will all businesses. 

Manufacturers able to proactively shift their business towards sustainability will weather these changes gracefully, taking them as they come. Those who do not keep up with the pace of sustainable manufacturing innovation will face steep hurdles as they try to catch up. And those that keep pace will outcompete laggards for business in the interim. 

Furthermore, manufacturers that maintain carbon reporting compliance will outcompete their peers for investment funding. Institutional investors seek opportunities to place funds in sustainable ventures.  

The CSRD text spells it out this way: 

“The growth in the number of investment products that aim to pursue sustainability objectives means that good sustainability reporting can enhance an undertaking’s access to financial capital” 

You may not be looking for investment funds to expand operations now, but if you want to do so in the future, your sustainable manufacturing practices compliance can help you achieve that.  

Pharma vessels - journey to sustainability in manufacturing

What does the Journey to Sustainable Manufacturing Look Like?   

The journey to sustainability in manufacturing can be quite simple at the high level. You start with understanding the regulatory environment and your compliance obligations. Then you measure your current position, with respect to carbon emissions, and finally look for opportunities to manage or reduce your carbon footprint.  

But of course, there are complications. We’ll discuss the challenge in more detail below.  

 

Understanding Sustainability Compliance Regulations in Manufacturing 

Here in Europe, it’s relatively easy to understand the compliance requirements for carbon reporting in manufacturing. All manufacturers, regardless of the goods they produce, and regardless of which EU country they reside in – must adhere to the new EU CSRD regulations.  

The situation is more complicated in America. In America, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is currently considering new greenhouse gas reporting regulations. But they have no carbon reporting regulations yet on a national level.  

But then – some states are taking matters into their own hands. For example, in California, the governor has signed a bill that mandates the construction of carbon reporting standards for companies that reside in the state. Manufacturers in California – like their European counterparts – will have to report on carbon emissions from their own operations as well as those of their suppliers.  

The important thing is to make sure you’re not adhering to European pharmaceutical manufacturing regulations if you’re an automaker in California. But don’t worry – there will likely be swarms of consultants looking to help you understand your compliance requirements. 

Another critical factor on the journey to sustainable manufacturing is figuring out timelines for when you need to comply with new regulations.  

Your timeline for beginning sustainability reporting under the CSRD depends on the size of your manufacturing operation.  

  • FY2024: Listed companies with more than 500 employees will need to report on 2024 activities and data, publishing the reports in 2025
  • FY2025: Large non-listed companies that exceed 2 out of the 3 thresholds below will need to report on 2025 activities and data, publishing the reports in 2026. Thresholds: 
    • Balance sheet > EUR 20M 
    • Net Revenue > EUR 40M 
    • > 250 Average employees during FY  
  • FY2026: Listed SMEs need to report on 2026 activities and data, publishing the reports in 2027

If you are a non-listed SME within a value chain of any company that fits the above criteria, then you can be sure that you’ll be asked to report on your emissions, which make up part of their scope 3 emissions (and in some cases scope 1 and 2).

understanding compliance with carbon reporting regulations

Establishing Baselines and Monitoring Performance for Carbon Emissions Reporting 

Manufacturers have two options when looking to establish baselines and monitor carbon: Internal or external. 

Manufacturers can hire external consultants to come in and set up carbon monitoring equipment. The manufacturing industry has a well serviced industry of consultants attached to it – looking to help manufacturers improve productivity and energy efficiency. Many of these same consultants are now looking to help manufacturers understand and comply with sustainable manufacturing regulations.  

One drawback of looking to external consultants for this kind of work is that they typically provide a snapshot of your carbon emissions, rather than a continuous view. And that snapshot could be misleading if it is taken during a time of anomalous carbon emissions. Having an in-house carbon emissions monitoring solution solves this problem, by providing continuous reporting. 

A carbon emissions reporting solution, such as that provided by Mavarick, tracks emissions from all your activities. Carbon emissions reporting is centralised and accessed through an intuitive user interface where total emissions and emissions-versus-target can be monitored continuously.   

 

Reducing Carbon Emissions in Manufacturing 

The last step on the journey to sustainability in manufacturing is finding ways to reduce your carbon emissions. 

Again – finding opportunities to reduce carbon emissions is an area that external services providers can help you with. However, in the end, it will come down to you and your team to deliver the changes to your operations to make meaningful cuts to your carbon emissions.  

An external audit will likely result in “the usual suspects” when it comes to finding opportunities to cut down on emissions. But if you are monitoring your activities and assets at a granular level, and comparing emissions versus targets, you’ll be able to find opportunities that a general audit may miss and prioritise your specific carbon hot spots.  

Ultimately, the new regulatory environment – with its increasingly stringent compliance requirements – is going to force a lot of businesses to shift their thinking about how they do business.  

Corporate sustainability is the new normal, and many businesses are creating entire new departments to deal with compliance and to try to turn green manufacturing into a competitive advantage.  

Environmental stewardship is going to be part and parcel of doing business in the future, and manufacturers will have to embed it into their culture. 

 

What Types of Carbon Reporting will EU Manufacturers have to Provide? 

As stated previously, in the EU, manufacturers will be required to report on not only their own carbon emissions, but also those of their suppliers.  

The CSRD lays out 3 different levels of reporting that EU manufacturers will have to provide: 

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from your operations’ manufacturing processes 
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from energy used in manufacturing processes 
  • Scope 3: Indirect emissions from all sources along the value chain 
Fleet of vehicles - under scope 1 you'll have to report on carbon emissions from your vehicle fleet

Scope 1: Direct Emissions from your Operations and Manufacturing Processes 

Scope 1 emissions are fairly straightforward. To comply with regulations on Scope 1 emissions reporting, you’ll need to provide a picture of carbon emissions from your facility’s operations. This will include things like carbon emissions from combustion of fossil fuels to power machines, or emissions directly from furnaces. 

Carbon emissions resulting from industrial processes can be a large source of Scope 1 emissions. The processes that manufacturers undergo to produce cement, laundry detergent, or washing-up liquid lead to large carbon emissions in and of themselves. These process-generated emissions also must be reported under Scope 1. 

With a carbon emission monitoring system, reporting on these types of emissions is straightforward. Sustainability consultants can also provide a snapshot of performance to help comply with scope 1 reporting. 

The only type of Scope 1 direct emissions that may not be intuitive would be in emissions from a company’s vehicle fleet. However, there are readily available and simple-to-use approaches to estimate your emissions from a vehicle fleet. Such as simply looking at fuel consumption.  

Mavarick’s Carbon Emissions Management solution can help you automate tracking of all of these Scope 1 emissions, including from your vehicle fleet.  

Scope 2 carbon emissions from manufacturing operations

Scope 2: Indirect Emissions from Energy Used in Manufacturing Processes 

Scope 2 emissions are all about the energy you use to power your manufacturing operation that come from an external source.  

The energy you use – whether it’s electricity, heat or steam that was generated from an external source likely involved carbon emissions to produce it. And even if your electricity originated from a renewable electricity source, if it was delivered via the grid then it still has a carbon footprint. 

A manufacturing operation needs to account for not only the direct emissions they produce through their manufacturing processes, but also for the energy they consume while they do it.  

Scope 2 reporting is all about measuring and tracking the externally produced energy you use in your manufacturing operation.  

Again – measuring your consumption can be done by external parties. But a more accurate and consistent method of assessing your energy consumption is through an Energy Management System and scope 2 emissions through a Carbon Management System.

Your Energy Management System can be integrated into your Carbon Management System. An Energy Management System is typically made up of a network of monitors that are integrated into your processes and transmit data to a server for analysis. The user can then accurately measure, monitor and gain insights to make data-informed decisions around energy usage.  

You can read more in this comprehensive guide: Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing: A Complete Guide. 

Fertilizing a field - if you manufacture fertilizer, you'll have to account for indirect emissions involved with usage of the final product under Scope 3 reporting

Scope 3: Indirect Emissions from All Sources Along the Value Chain 

This is the tricky one. Both from conceptual and operational standpoints.  

We’ve discussed the carbon emissions from your manufacturing operation. These are relatively simple to conceptualize. It’s the emissions emanating from your factory processes and from the energy used to power them.  

Scope 3 looks beyond your manufacturing operation – to measure the carbon emissions involved in the entire value chain that you work within.  

Scope 3 reporting requires that you account for not only your own operation’s carbon emissions, but also for the emissions from your upstream suppliers and the downstream users of your manufactured products. 

To comply with Scope 3 reporting, manufacturers will have to provide estimates for the emissions their suppliers generate. Fortunately, the CSRD regulations will apply to your suppliers as well (including non-EU suppliers), so your suppliers will be able to provide you with those emissions estimates.  

Compliance with reporting on downstream carbon emissions may prove tricker. The CSRD requires that manufacturers provide estimates of carbon emissions involved with downstream actions, such as transportation of your sold goods, usage of the end-products, and even end-of-life scrapping or recycling of the goods.  

The good news with downstream Scope 3 reporting is that it is likely that industries will develop standards around estimates for things like transportation and scrapping. This would make reporting on Scope 3 downstream emissions as simple as keeping up to date with industry standards. 

The thing to realise about Scope 3 emissions is that this is where the CSRD presents an opportunity for manufacturers. Manufacturers that are proactive in impacting their own Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions will be more attractive suppliers in their industry.  

Downstream purchasers within your value chain will be required to review the carbon emissions for their potential suppliers. Suppliers with low carbon emissions will have an advantage over suppliers with higher emissions. Downstream purchasers of your manufactured goods can and will use your reported carbon emissions as criteria when making decisions about who to work with.  

 

Carbon Reporting: What are the Challenges? 

There are plenty of challenges when it comes to the new carbon reporting in manufacturing rules.  

We’ve discussed some of these already – especially with respect to the challenges in reporting on Scope 3 emissions.  

Here are the challenges that remain: 

  1. Paradigm-Shift: Integrating Sustainability into the culture of your Manufacturing Business 
  1. Reporting: Implementing a System for Monitoring Emissions 
  1. Accurate Data: To Identify Opportunities to Reduce Emissions 
Team meeting - team culture can have a big impact on adoption of sustainability regulations

Paradigm Shift: Integrating Sustainability into the culture of your Manufacturing Business 

This is the new world. Like it or not, we all have to live in it. 

The good news is that those who make the paradigm shift quickly will realise outsized gains.  

The greatest challenge that manufacturers likely face is realising that sustainability is a new way of doing business – and figuring out how to re-organise their business to account for this change.  

The first question that many manufacturing operations may need to face is “who within my organisation should be in charge of sustainability”

Indeed, many organisations are appointing a Chief Sustainability Officer to preside over an entire new division within their business, focused on green manufacturing.  

A natural home for sustainability tracking and reporting can be found within manufacturer’s accounting departments. Accounting is already concerned with tracking and reporting financials, and many manufacturers are finding that expanding the scope of accounting to deal with sustainability is a good solution.  

However you choose to deal with the new world of sustainability reporting, it’s vital that leadership within your organisation are bought in – and that you take action to educate your workforce. 

People tracking and reporting on carbon emissions

Reporting: Implementing a System for Monitoring Emissions

Anyone looking to comply with carbon reporting in manufacturing will have to implement some sort of system for measuring their emissions. There are varying degrees of formality that this “system” can take.

A rudimentary approach is manual data processing.

Many manufacturers use fleet-management software to plan and track company vehicles. Mileage or emissions data can be drawn from fleet-management systems and transferred manually to spreadsheets to account for portions of Scope 1 emissions reporting.

Scope 1 emissions from manufacturing processes can produce large volumes of carbon in and of themselves and if a manual approach is taken here, it’ll involve manual measurements, data gathering and calculations, This isn’t efficient, especially if you want to accurately monitor emissions over time.

Some manufacturers may choose to monitor Kilowatt-hour data directly through electricity accounts, and then transfer that data manually to spreadsheets. This can help manufacturers cover their Scope 2 emissions reporting.

They may add to those spreadsheets data provided by their suppliers and customers, to account for Scope 3 data within their value chain.

Another approach, discussed previously, is through the hire of external parties. Third-party consultants can help you measure and compile your Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

Finally, manufacturers have the option of implementing their own Carbon Emissions Management system, such as the one offered by Mavarick. Carbon emissions management systems can directly and continuously monitor Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. And some (such as Mavarick’s) can directly interface with supplier’s systems to port Scope 3 emissions data from the source.

 

Accurate Data: To Identify Opportunities to Reduce Emissions

If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll need accurate, consistent, and granular carbon emissions data. And you’ll need the data to be presented within an interface that readily allows for analysis.

First of all – you need accurate data. Manual tracking systems can lead to accuracy issues due to human error. Emissions or energy usage data may be provided in different formats on different machines or different meter interfaces. When this is the case, conversion calculations are required to get data into a consistent format. Managing conversion calculations within a spreadsheet can lead to human errors. Simple data entry can lead to errors, too.

Data accuracy can also be an issue if you are not regularly tracking emissions. One-off snapshots can sometimes misrepresent an operation’s usual emissions. Continuous monitoring of emissions helps to ensure that you understand and report on your emissions accurately.

Finally, the granularity of data can be a blocker for identifying opportunities to reduce emissions. If you’re only getting data at a macro view, it’s difficult to understand where your opportunities for reduction lie and what will really move the needle.

Mavarick Carbon Reporting solution interface

How can Mavarick help you Comply with Carbon Reporting in Manufacturing?   

Mavarick’s award-winning software provides a full-service Carbon Emissions Management solution integrated seamlessly with a Production Management System and an Energy Management System.  

The Mavarick Carbon Emissions Management solution tracks CO2 emissions from each of your activities and centralises reporting in an easy-to-use interface, where you can analyse trends and emissions versus targets. This helps you ensure accurate tracking of your Scope 1 emissions. 

Mavarick’s Carbon Emissions Management software builds upon the technologies used in Energy Management solutions to accurately cover your Scope 2 emissions. 

Finally, Mavarick’s Carbon Emissions Management solution can be integrated directly with your supplier’s systems, and with your downstream customers’ systems. These integration capabilities help ensure accurate data for your Scope 3 reporting, and cuts down on human error risks from manual data uploads.  

Contact Mavarick today to learn more about our Carbon Management Solution. 

Manufacturing Machine Monitoring Digital Projection
Guides

Machine Monitoring in Manufacturing: A Complete Guide:

A Complete Guide

Machine monitoring software helps manufacturers maximise output, productivity and efficiency. A production monitoring system also helps manufacturers identify bottlenecks and other issues on their shop floor.

A production monitoring system is critical to the success of a manufacturer. If you don’t have a machine monitoring solution at this point, you may be falling behind.

This guide provides you with everything you need to know to understand machine monitoring, and to assess different manufacturing production monitoring solutions.

This guide will help you to understand: 

What is Machine Monitoring, and what is a Machine Monitoring System? 

At the most basic level, machine monitoring is the tracking and analysis of manufacturing machine’s activity. The purpose of production monitoring is to provide manufacturers with a clear and timely understanding of the efficiency and mechanical state of the  machine. The system is made up of a set of software and hardware tools that allows for the monitoring of several machines simultaneously. Reporting on the machines is typically provided within a centralised monitoring software platform. 

What is the Purpose of Machine Monitoring? 

The purpose of machine monitoring is to provide manufacturers with the information they need to make data-informed decisions to increase production efficiency and optimise resource use across their operations.  

What are the Different Types of Machine Monitoring Systems? 

Machine monitoring can mean different things to different people. There are several approaches, each offering different types of insights. 

At a high level, these are the most common types of production monitoring systems: 

  • Equipment Status Monitoring 
  • Performance Monitoring 
  • Condition Monitoring 
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) 
  • Computer Numerical Control (CNC) 
  • Energy Management Systems 

What is Equipment Status Monitoring? 

Equipment Status Monitoring provides the most fundamental form of machine monitoring. This includes on and off status and the length of time within each state. As with all production monitoring solutions, Equipment Status Monitoring involves the integration of sensors for each machine, and a central monitoring interface. 

What is Performance Monitoring? 

Performance Monitoring is a step up from Equipment Status Monitoring. In Performance Monitoring, machines are assessed in more detail to provide greater insights to the user. These could be insights covering uptime, downtime, cycle lengths, activity on shifts as well as job efficiency. As with Equipment Status Monitoring, and all forms of production monitoring, Performance Monitoring involves the integration of sensors for each machine, and a central monitoring interface. 

What is Condition Monitoring? 

In a Condition monitoring system, machines are monitored at a deeper level; monitoring machine aspects such as vibrations, RPM, electrical currents, temperatures, pressures, or viscosity. A condition monitoring system generally detects changes in the condition of any of these aspects and provides an alert when a change is detected. Conditions monitoring can thus be an integral part of preventive maintenance. 

What is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Monitoring? 

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) monitoring systems provide data and insights that help manufacturers measure how well a manufacturing operation is running compared to its full potential. It is represented as a percentage of actual useful production / potential production. This helps manufacturers measure the effectiveness of their entire operation, or of different cells or processes thereof, and to make corrections to improve overall production efficiency. Read more about OEE in our blog post here:

What is OEE, why do manufacturers need to measure it, and how is it calculated?

OEE monitoring involves the integration of sensors providing feedback on all machines’ production rates. OEE systems establish benchmarks for each machine, cell, or process, and for the overall operation. An OEE system then monitors the production rates of the different machines, cells, processes or operation, and provides insights as to the current efficiency levels versus optimal levels. Some OEE systems also provide insights into how manufacturers can achieve higher levels of output and efficiency. 

What is CNC (Computer Numerical Control)? 

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is not a form of production monitoring. However, as many CNC systems also provide machine monitoring, it’s worth exploring here. 

Computer Numerical Control describes a system wherein the operation of a machine or tool is controlled by a computer. A computer interface allows for the preprogramming of different elements of a tool’s movement or control processes, such as depth, speed, size or temperature levels. With CNC, a machine or tool can then be used to automatically produce according to the preset controls. 

CNC systems may also provide feedback typically seen in machine monitoring systems, such as conditions, performance or OEE insights. 

What is an Energy Management System (EMS)? 

An Energy Management System is a specific type of machine monitoring, that provides insights about the energy usage of machines, cells, processes or operations.  

Energy Management Systems (EMS) allow manufacturers to measure, analyse & sometimes control the consumption of energy throughout their operations. As energy is often one of the most expensive and volatile cost inputs for manufacturing systems, monitoring systems have been developed to specifically focus on it.  

For more, see the Complete Guide to Energy Management Systems

Technician using a machine monitoring system

The Benefits of Machine Monitoring 

Why would a manufacturer want a machine monitoring system? Production monitoring systems help manufacturers achieve greater rates of production output, efficiency and profitability.  

What are the benefits of machine monitoring? 

  • Increased Utilisation of Machines 
  • Downtime Reduction 
  • Identification of Bottlenecks 
  • Optimisation of Operator Productivity 
  • Workforce Optimisation 
  • Quality Metrics 
  • Predictive Maintenance 

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Increased Utilisation of Machines 

Machine monitoring can help you improve utilisation of all machines across your shop floor. This is done through an analysis of utilisation trends at a machine, production workflow, and factory level.  

Such analysis involves tracking and understanding how machine utilisation rates change over time and change with different processes and practices on the shop floor This could include hourly, shift, daily, weekly, monthly or even seasonal patterns in machine usage. From this, you can identify and reinforce processes creating above-target outcomes, and root cause and rectify processes creating below-target outcomes. 

Understanding utilisation trends can also help you forecast and plan more profitable production rates. Through trend analysis, you can plan for peak periods, allowing the organisation to allocate resources, schedule maintenance, and manage workforces more profitably. 

An often-overlooked benefit is the ability to then benchmark against industry standards and peer organisations to understand where your performance sits. 

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Downtime Reduction 

All manufacturing operations seek to minimise downtime. Downtime reduction is one of the prime benefits of machine monitoring. Production monitoring systems can help you to minimise downtime by giving you a clear reason as to where your downtime is occurring, enabling you to root cause and rectify. 

A few examples would be: 

  • Unplanned breakdowns – becoming aware of a disproportionate number of unplanned breakdowns on a key machine within the production workflow, and taking targetted action with the maintenance team 
  • Changeovers – highlighting excessive changeover times on specific products, shifts, machines or jobs leading to a review of standard operating procedures, staff competency, or even into a feasibility study on automation options 
  • No operator – identifying periods where there is no operator available to run the next cycle, enabling you to review the root causes, e.g. are you at sub-optimal staff levels, are your staff fully briefed on their daily jobs etc. 

Production monitoring systems are also essential for implementing predictive maintenance programmes. Machine monitoring can help you understand the real-time health of all machines on your shop floor, and to receive timely alerts before issues turn into larger problems. All of this helps to minimise downtime. 

Finally, machine monitoring can help you reduce downtime and improve efficiency by pinpointing the optimal times for scheduled maintenance. Production monitoring systems can identify the optimal times for performing regular maintenance on different machines.  

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Identification of Production Bottlenecks 

Without a machine monitoring system, production bottlenecks can persist undetected. Production lines and shop floors can be highly complex, and without a production monitoring system, bottlenecks can be very difficult to spot. 

One way to spot bottlenecks is through differential machine utilisation rate analysis. Put simply if one machine within a production line is being used at or near capacity while others remain at low capacity, a bottleneck may be indicated. Data analysis, observation and team consultation can help to confirm a bottleneck and to diagnose root causes.  

Frequent downtime at a specific stage of production can also indicate a bottleneck. Manufacturing production monitoring systems can help you spot stages wherein machines lie idle or experience downtime. This can also signal a production bottleneck. 

Technicians using an iPad to monitor shop floor machines

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Optimisation of Operator Productivity 

Manufacturing operations can achieve gains in profitability and production through optimisation of operator productivity. “Operator Productivity” optimisation involves aligning operator schedules with production and machine utilisation patterns. Machine monitoring is essential in optimising operator productivity. 

Machine monitoring systems can be used to identify and mitigate operator productivity issues during changeover processes. The system can help you identify when error rates increase during specific changeover processes. Manufacturers can tackle the identified issues through updated trainings for changeover processes and through improvements to communication protocols during changeover processes. 

Similarly, machine monitoring systems can be vital in spotting variabilities in machine utilisation rates. Inefficient workflows, lack of adherence to production schedules, or varying levels of operator skills can give rise to variabilities in machine utilisation rates. Production monitoring systems can help manufacturers spot inconsistencies in utilisation rates, and then address any personnel issues that could be contributing to them. 

See here for an example of how Mavarick’s system improved operator productivity: Optimising Overall Asset and Employee Efficiency

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Workforce Optimisation 

Workforce optimization involves efficiently deploying and managing personnel to ensure that the workforce aligns with production demands and maximizes overall productivity. Machine monitoring systems can be instrumental in ensuring optimal workforce deployment. 

Machine monitoring systems can help you understand the correlation between machine utilisation and staffing levels. Production monitoring systems can help you understand minimal staffing levels required to achieve target production rates. Similarly, machine monitoring can help you to ensure proper staffing for peak production periods. 

Similarly, machine monitoring systems can help you manage dynamic staffing to ensure optimal profitability and production rates. Manufacturing operations that implement dynamic staffing can achieve outsized profitability rates. Part-time, flexible or temporary staffing can help operations match staffing to production levels. Without machine monitoring systems, such dynamic staffing would be nearly impossible. 

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Quality Metrics 

Quality metrics involve assessing the quality of products produced by machines, including factors such as defect rates, scrap rates, and adherence to quality standards. Machine monitoring systems can be essential in helping your operation understand quality metrics. 

For example, machine monitoring systems can help you to understand the correlation between machine utilisation rates and defect rates. High machine utilisation can impact product quality, especially if machines are pushed to their limits. To maintain high product quality, use your production monitoring system to identify when defect rates may coincide with high machine usage, and adjust schedules or machine settings accordingly. 

Machine monitoring systems can also help manufacturers identify when machine utilisation itself is a factor in driving defects. Machine utilisation, especially at peak levels, can impact machine calibration in extreme cases – which can then affect quality levels. Through machine monitoring, you can identify when extreme utilisation tends to impact product quality and adjust calibration and maintenance accordingly. 

Benefits of Machine Monitoring – Predictive Maintenance 

Predictive maintenance involves using data to predict when equipment is likely to fail so that maintenance can be performed just in time to prevent the failure. This proactive approach helps minimize unplanned downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and extend the lifespan of machinery. Enabling predictive maintenance is a benefit of production monitoring. 

Through machine monitoring, you can identify utilisation anomalies and equipment health issues. Sudden or unexpected changes in machine utilisation rates can signal potential equipment issues. Real-time monitoring of machines can help you spot these changes and take measures to maintain equipment and avoid downtime. 

Production monitoring systems can also help you spot spikes in machine utilisation, which could lead to stress and breakdown of machines. Understanding where spikes can occur can help you optimise scheduling and avoid disruptions. 

The Mavarick machine monitoring system installed

How does Machine Monitoring Work? 

In this next section, we’ll discuss rudiments of using a production monitoring system to drive results.  

In this section you’ll learn: 

  • Machine Connectivity: How machine monitoring systems communicate 
  • Data Analysis: How to use a Machine Monitoring system to analyse and drive results 
  • Reporting: What kind of reporting is provided in a machine monitoring system 

Machine Monitoring: Machine Connectivity 

Every machine on your shop floor provides some sort of signal to let operators and managers understand the state of the machine. It could be as simple as signaling whether the machine is on or off, or whether the machine is functioning “normally”. Some machines have more complex interfaces that provide deeper information, such as temperature, humidity, or cycle time. 

The problem that most high-functioning manufacturing operations run into is that it is not efficient or effective to monitor each machine separately. In order to improve overall productivity and profitability, manufacturers need a holistic picture of their entire manufacturing operation. To get this view, information from multiple machines must be centralised in a single interface. 

To get information centralised in a single interface, that interface must have some form of connectivity to all the machines on the shop floor. There must be some mechanism for transmitting machine activity and health to the central interface. 

This section explores how to get data centralised in a single interface. 

Machine Connectivity: Machine Controller 

Advanced manufacturing machinery often comes with a built-in Programmable Logic Controller, or PLC. The PLC or the “machine controller” may provide very granular information about the health, conditions, or utilisation of the machine, such as vibrations, RPM, electrical currents, temperatures, pressures, or viscosity.   

This level of information can be vital for ensuring proper maintenance of the machine, and for maximising productivity. Problems can arise, however, when trying to transmit information from a PLC to a central monitoring interface.  

The makers of the machines on your shop floor – Original Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs  may allow third-party software makers to access the PLC, but this can be an expensive  and time-consuming process. This can make monitoring machines from different OEMs difficult from both a functionality and cost perspective. It can also make setup of production monitoring systems more time-consuming and riskier. 

Mavarick has developed methods for obtaining vital conditions, health and utilisation data without having to integrate directly into PLCs. This helps to cut implementation times and allow manufacturers to begin monitoring more quickly. Mavarick can also work with OEMs to access PLCs directly, though manufacturers rarely see the need. 

Signal Towers

Machine Connectivity: Lighthouses and Signal Towers 

The most basic machine monitoring comes in the form of “Signal Towers”, often referred to as “Lighthouses”. Signal towers are physical structures that rise above the machines they monitor, for easy viewing. They typically will provide a “Green / Amber / Red” light to signal the current health and operating capability of the machine.  

Signal towers allow manufacturing managers to walk a shop floor and easily understand the status of the machines around them. However, many manufacturing managers don’t have time to walk the entirety of their shop floor. Signal tower information is not scalable, and often does not provide the depth of information needed to improve productivity or profitability. 

Machine Connectivity: Internet of Things (IoT) Devices 

Another way to transmit information from a single machine to a central interface is through Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. IoT technologies are typically small computers that are able to access the internet, and can be used to monitor and transmit information about health, conditions and utilisation rates of manufacturing machines. 

Through using IoT devices, Mavarick is able to compile all the data required to understand the health, conditions and utilisation of machines on your shop floor. The setup of monitoring systems is simple and straightforward for Mavarick personnel and can often be done in a matter of days. 

Data Analysis in Machine Monitoring 

Getting information from machines is one thing. Turning that information into actionable insights that improve production and profitability is quite another. 

Ultimately, if you’re looking to gain a competitive edge, optimise production runs or maximise profitability, you need software that helps you turn data into insights. That is where data analysis comes in. 

Historic Trends in Data Analysis for Machine Monitoring 

If you want to improve productivity, first you need an accurate measure of your current state of productivity. Unfortunately, managers of manufacturing operations can often be shocked to see the true state of productivity. Managers may react with disbelief when faced with accurate analyses of their operational productivity. Whilst this is understandable, facing the cold reality of historic trends is the only way forward. 

The gathering of data into historic trends is the only way to generate reliable, accurate benchmarks. Without these benchmarks, manufacturers are flying blind.  

Historic trend analysis and benchmarks help ensure that you’re accurately identifying and concentrating resources on the correct problem areas of your production floor. Historic trend data helps you be confident that changes you make to problem areas will result in positive impacts to production. 

Realtime Analytics in Machine Monitoring 

“Realtime” data is information that is provided instantaneously, or as near to instantaneous as possible. Monitoring data in realtime provides information about the current state of your machines. 

Monitoring data in real-time helps manufacturers make live data informed decisions and prevent small issues becoming larger and causing daily firefighting. Over time the value created from these live decisions accumulate and can make significant impact to a company’s bottom line.  

Real-time data can also help in a less obvious way; it can help manufacturers understand whether production monitoring systems have been set up correctly. When a machine monitoring system is powered by realtime data, manufacturers can check information collected by the monitoring system and confirm the accuracy of that data at the machines themselves. In this way, manufacturers can be extra confident in their data driven decisions.  

Reporting in Machine Monitoring 

Reporting”, as discussed here, refers to the methods used by a production monitoring system to deliver data and insights to the people that can use or apply them. Machine monitoring systems deliver reporting via a computer interface, via a mobile phone interface, via email, or via text message. 

Different delivery interfaces can be used for different purposes. For example, a computer interface can deliver reporting and provide capabilities to allow a user to dig into the numbers to diagnose an issue. In this way, delivery via computer interface can provide a diagnostic capability. A computer interface may also allow users to model the potential impacts of different hypothetical production strategies. In this way, the computer interface may represent a tool for optimising production. 

Reporting delivered via email can provide an automated way to help operators and managers plan their day. Alerts via text can provide immediate notice of issues that require immediate attention. 

The point is that data and insights are useless if they are not consumed and applied. A strong machine monitoring system should provide many different types of reporting methods, to allow all roles and personalities to receive the data and insights they need to excel in their positions.  

Electrical cabinet

Successful Implementation and Adoption of Machine Monitoring Systems 

In this section you’ll learn: 

  • Implementation: How a machine monitoring system is set up 
  • System Adoption: How to get your team to use a production monitoring system 

How to Implement Machine Monitoring Systems 

The way in which a machine monitoring system is implemented is critical to that system’s success.  

Successful production monitoring system implementation depends on these elements: 

  • Infrastructure 
  • Planning 
  • Integration of machine monitoring hardware and software 

The Importance of Infrastructure in Implementation of Machine Monitoring Systems 

If a manufacturer is to make productive use of a machine monitoring system, there are some very simple, foundational requirements for their physical plant. First, the manufacturer must have a reliable power system. The way the physical plant is wired can be crucial. Production monitoring systems can require electrical socket access for many points. If plugging into three side-by-side pinpoints blows a fuse, that could present a crucial problem. 

Similarly, many machine monitoring systems utilise Internet of Things (IoT) devices to monitor and transmit data. The use of these IoT devices requires solid Wi-Fi infrastructures.  

Planning for Implementation of Machine Monitoring Systems 

Planning for machine monitoring systems installation typically involves physical logistics like electrical wiring infrastructure and Wi-Fi distribution. Efficient distribution and access for power and Wi-Fi are requirements for successful physical implementation of a machine monitoring system. 

Planning for either an initial installation, or an expansion or layout change must also involve health and safety considerations. In the European Union, Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) protocols must be followed for the protection of people and machines. This can be as simple as ensuring that the leads used to connect monitoring devices are not trip hazards.  

Finally, be sure to include all necessary personnel in the planning and implementation processes for production monitoring systems. For one, you’ll need to ensure access to physical infrastructure such as the machine access panels. You may also need to turn off particular machines during installation.  

Integrating Production Monitoring Systems 

Manufacturers sometimes use “ERP” and “MES” interchangeably, but there are crucial differences. An MES, or “Manufacturing Execution System”, is a system that is specifically designed to provide insights into the manufacturing process, from raw goods to finished products. An MES provides insights into the costs and timelines associated with turning raw goods into finished products. An ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning” system is a much broader type of solution. An Enterprise Resource Planning system is ultimately an accounting and financial tool. ERP solutions may sometimes be used to track costs of manufacturing – and in that way may act as an MES. An ERP is not specifically designed to track and analyse manufacturing, however. 

A good production monitoring system can integrate with both an ERP and an MES system. Many manufacturers rely on operators to manually enter data into their MES systems, such as stop / start times. Dependence on human operators for these types of manual and tedious tasks can inevitably lead to errors. Especially when operators have to devote a good amount of energy to the manufacturing tasks at hand. Integrating a production monitoring system with an MES can help you form an accurate and dependable picture of end-to-end production and operational costs.  

Similarly, if a manufacturing organisation is using an ERP to track manufacturing productivity, then integrating your machine monitoring system will yield more accurate and dependable results. 

Manufacturing team. Team culture is critical for machine monitoring system adoption.

How to Drive Adoption of your Machine Monitoring System 

If your organisation does not embrace your machine monitoring system, you will never get the full benefit of the system. This section lays out the steps for ensuring the best adoption for your production monitoring system within your organisation. 

The most important elements, when it comes to driving adoption of your machine monitoring system: 

  • Organisational Culture 
  • Data Literacy 

System Adoption: Culture 

We cannot underestimate how crucial organisational culture is to the adoption of machine monitoring systems. And of course, if you want to realise value from your production monitoring system, you’ll need to ensure wide adoption across your organisation – from the executive team to the operators. 

The best way to ensure adoption of a machine monitoring system is to involve members of your team in the decision-making process for selection of the system. If you involve your team in the selection process, they will help you to choose the right system for your manufacturing operation. And – at the end of the day – this involvement will make them feel that they have a stake in ensuring adoption and usage of the chosen system. 

Finally, you don’t want your operators to feel like the machine monitoring system is being implemented to evaluate them and their work. A production monitoring system isn’t “Big Brother” looking over their shoulder – it is a system for helping to improve overall production capability and profitability. And these types of improvements help everybody on the team. Involving your team members in the decision-making process can help to ensure this message gets across. 

System Adoption: Data Literacy 

Many industries have been disrupted by changes in the availability of analytics. This is happening now within manufacturing. Machine Monitoring systems and Energy Management Systems are making access to manufacturing analytics simple and ubiquitous. Manufacturers able to embrace and apply analytics will gain competitive advantages.  

The key to embracing analytics is data literacy. The more a team is able to understand and speak the language of analytics, the more they are going to be able to apply them, and to realise the gains. 

Engineers and operators are fantastic problem solvers, but not all are traditional data analysts. If you want your teams to embrace and apply learnings from production monitoring systems, you’ll need to ensure that they are comfortable with data.  

However – you can do your teams a great favour by choosing a machine monitoring system that is able to level-up insights, and to help operators make sense of data. It can be easy to get lost in the sea of data that is available when monitoring machines on a shop floor. The best machine monitoring systems present the most valuable data, to the right people, at the right time. 

ROI, Impact and Value of Machine Monitoring Systems 

At the end of the day, manufacturers need to understand the return on an investment like a machine monitoring system.

How do you drive savings from a production monitoring system? Can you leverage a machine monitoring system to win new business? When will you recoup your investment in a production monitoring system?

See below for a method for calculating ROI of a machine monitoring system.

How to Calculate ROI of Machine Monitoring Systems 

At the highest level, calculating ROI for a machine monitoring system involves comparing the savings the system provides with the system’s cost. 

For example – if we need “Machine 1” in a production run, and that machine has 70 hours available per week, we may decide that Machine 1 must be entirely dedicated to this production run. If, using a production monitoring system we find that Machine 1 is only running at 60% capacity and that increasing capacity by 20% can yield an additional €1000 worth of goods per week, then that machine monitoring system has generated €1000 of value per week. 

To calculate ROI in this case, you’d need to examine not only Machine 1, but all other machines involved in the production process. And then you’d calculate the total value gained and compare that figure to the cost of the machine monitoring system over the same time period. 

Talk to Mavarick today to learn how you could quickly increase your productivity and reduce downtime with a machine monitoring system.


 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Guides

Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing: A Complete Guide:

A Complete Guide

Manufacturing product requires intense amounts of energy. And energy is expensive. 

Energy is the most volatile cost in manufacturing, making energy costs one of the greatest risks to manufacturers. Structuring your shop floor to maximise energy efficiency is the best way to manage the risk of energy costs volatility. 

On the upside, manufacturers can develop a competitive advantage through energy efficiency.  

Manufacturers should expect that energy challenges will continue to be the norm going forward and move towards an ethos of embracing this change.  

Manufacturers that start with a strong foundation in energy efficiency can continue to build on that advantage through vigilance of developments in energy efficiency technologies, best practices and funding mechanisms. 

Purpose of this Guide

This guide provides an overview of energy efficiency in manufacturing, aiming to provide readers with a basic understanding of the principles – and how to navigate them. 

We outline a roadmap of options for optimising energy efficiency. Some energy-saving measures are free of cost. Others require capital.  

This allows for a crawl-walk-run approach to energy efficiency in manufacturing.

This guide will help you understand (click to jump to section): 

  1. Energy efficiency steps you can take without capital investment
  2. Low-hanging fruit: Where to look for high-impact energy savings
  3. Energy Management Systems: How to turn energy monitoring into cost savings
  4. Energy Audits: What they cover and how they proceed
  5. Government funding resources: What they are and where to find them
Factory Floor - Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing

1 – Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing: What You can do Without Capital Investment

Manufacturers are keen to find ways to reduce energy consumption, but not at the expense of profitability.  

Certainly, there are ways to balance both energy efficiency and profitability. However, the most significant energy efficiency gains are likely to require up-front capital investment.  

Below we explore energy efficiency gains that can be realised without capital investment. 

Optimising Scheduling

Altering the schedules for processes or machines can yield benefits for those looking to maximise energy efficiency in manufacturing. 

Given that idling machines can require 80% of energy loads drawn during full production, it’s easy to see how you can find efficiencies through scheduling optimisation. 

Traditionally, manufacturers have sought to optimise for one of these three variables: 

  1. Output: Utilise whatever levels of energy, machine efficiency or cost to maximise output
  2. Energy: Schedule for minimum energy input, regardless of production timelines
  3. Production Efficiency: Schedule for maximum use of all production assets 

Cutting-edge research is being carried out to find schedules that maintain production levels while minimising energy usage. Researchers apply advanced techniques like swarm intelligence and evolutionary algorithms to find optimal schedules.

These highly mathematical techniques will be brought to the main stream as they are proven out. For now, it’s enough to be aware that scheduling can have a profound impact on energy usage.  

If you have a way of tracking energy loads, for example via an Energy Management System, you can begin the process of including energy efficiency into production scheduling. 

Equipment maintenance

Equipment Maintenance

Machines on a shop floor begin to degrade the moment you put them into use. Maintenance is key to production at any facility. Proper maintenance of factory equipment can also lead to gains in energy efficiency for manufacturing.

In manufacturing there are three basic approaches for the maintenance of machines: 

  1. Reactive
  2. Preventative
  3. Predictive

Reactive Maintenance is the least energy-efficient scheme, and Predictive Maintenance the most energy efficient.

In practice – most shops use a mix of approaches. 

Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance is performed after a machine or process fails.  

Most shops would not choose reactive maintenance as their primary strategy, but many fall into it due to competing priorities. 

Reactive maintenance has the advantage of requiring the least amount of up-front investment. Of course, it has the downside of posing the greatest risk to productivity. 

Preventative Maintenance

In Preventive Maintenance, technicians provide routine maintenance to the machines on a shop floor according to a pre-set schedule. Because of this, it’s also referred to as “time-based maintenance”. In time-based maintenance, maintenance occurs whether or not issues have arisen with the equipment. 

With preventative maintenance, you can reduce overall energy usage by 18% versus reactive maintenance.  

Reactive maintenance can require less up-front costs, in the form of planning and regular staff. In the long run, preventive maintenance increases production efficiency, protects staff, reduces downtime and extends the lifespan of equipment.  

Time-based maintenance will lead to energy efficiencies in the long run and is relatively easy to implement. However, time-based maintenance is not the optimal choice, as it requires broad application of maintenance activities, even when maintenance isn’t strictly necessary. Also, with time-based maintenance, a machine might perform inefficiently for weeks prior to a scheduled maintenance. 

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance, or “conditions-based maintenance”, is a system of upkeep in which machines are proactively monitored for any changes to their condition. Technicians check for faults whenever machines are flagged for changes to their status quo. This way, machines undergo maintenance before issues turn into major problems.

Machines on a shop floor are continuously monitored for conditions such as temperature, vibration, energy draw, humidity and magnetic fields. Deviations in these conditions raise a signal in a centralised monitoring system.

Sensors in conditions-based maintenance often make use of “Internet of Things” (IoT) technologies to monitor conditions in real time. Conditions-based predictive maintenance requires more up-front costs, in the form of sensors and a centralised systems to monitor them.  

Over the long run, conditions-based predictive maintenance can reduce overall costs by only deploying maintenance when it is truly necessary. Beyond energy-savings, you can reduce downtime 35-50% and increase machine lifespan 20-40% through Predictive Maintenance.

Lean Manufacturing

Fundamentally, lean manufacturing is a methodology to continuously improve productivity, through focusing on eliminating waste and maximising value from operations.  

Organisations have discovered huge gains in productivity by implementing lean manufacturing techniques. Less well known are the gains to energy efficiency that lean approaches can bring.

Moving towards lean manufacturing can, in itself, lead to overall energy efficiencies. McKinsey cites an example of lean manufacturing leading to a 30% reduction in overall energy usage.  

A large portion of the gains realised can be attributed to the predictive maintenance measures associated with lean manufacturing (discussed above). However, predictive maintenance isn’t the only driver of energy efficiencies. Lean manufacturing techniques such as theoretical minimums, loss-mapping, and statistical analysis can lead to further energy reductions. 

Much has been written about lean manufacturing, and it is not our purpose to provide a guide to its benefits or applications in this article. Suffice it to say that implementation of lean manufacturing practices within your manufacturing operation can lead to substantial energy efficiencies, as well as gains to productivity and profitability. 

maze of machines in factory

2 – Low Hanging Fruit – Where to Look for Energy Efficiencies in Manufacturing

All factories are different, and all factories use energy in different ways.

However, there are some well-known areas of manufacturing processes that consume large amounts of energy. Within these processes lie many low-hanging fruits for energy efficiency in manufacturing. 

Realising energy efficiencies in these low-hanging fruit will likely require some capital investment – though in many cases this can be minimal.

Low-hanging Fruits for Energy Efficiency in manufacturing: 

  1. Buildings
  2. Lighting
  3. Heating and Boilers
  4. HVAC Systems

Buildings

The buildings that house manufacturing operations can present huge opportunities for energy savings, depending on their age and condition. 

Building-related energy efficiencies typically involve heat regulation – heating, cooling and ventilation. You can find efficiencies by ensuring that spaces are air-tight and well insulated.

Other places to look are in schedules for heating and cooling – ensuring that efforts to regulate heating closely follow schedules for building activity.  

In Ireland, the SEAI handbook provides suggestions for finding building energy efficiency opportunities. You can find an even more comprehensive resource in CIBSE’s Guide F to Energy Efficiency in Buildings

For examples of low-hanging fruit to be found in your buildings see our post on How to Find Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing: Buildings

Lighting

Proper lighting is required in manufacturing operations to ensure safety and productivity. However, as lighting can represent up to 40% of a building’s electricity use, substantial savings can be found. 

The easiest way to enact large-scale energy efficiencies in lighting is to switch from traditional incandescent-bulb lighting to LED lights. By installing LED lighting, you can save 75% energy versus incandescent lighting. 

Another place that manufacturers can find energy savings from lighting is in the distribution of light within their operations. Efficient distribution of light involves ensuring that you’re using the right amount of light in the right places. Often this boils down to ensuring that light sources are in physical proximity to crucial operations. Increasing the length of hanging lights, to bring them closer to operations, can enable manufacturers to deploy lower-energy bulbs.

Finally, very simple way to ensure adherence to light-savings policies is to locate lighting controls in easy-to-reach places. Controls for lighting should be near to the operators that are utilising the lighting.   

For a more comprehensive guide to lighting in manufacturing, consult the SEAI Energy Efficient LED Lighting Guide

HVAC System - Mavarick Energy Management Systems

HVAC Systems

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are primarily concerned with keeping conditions comfortable and productive for human operators. HVAC systems account for around 15% of all energy use in manufacturing and are thus a primary candidate for efficiency opportunities. 

HVAC systems can be complex to implement and to operate, involving heating systems, fans, refrigerant compressors and circulation pumps. While it is generally advisable to address HVAC systems within the scope of a professional energy audit, there are a handful of pedestrian opportunities to look into. 

Something as simple as setting the correct time and date can help your HVAC system ensure that it is optimising temperatures for occupancy levels.  Maintaining lower temperatures in hallways or pass-through areas can result in energy savings.  Restricting access to heating and cooling controls can also help to ensure that HVAC systems are operating at optimal levels.  

For a more comprehensive guide to HVAC energy efficiency opportunities, consult the SEAI Energy Audit Handbook

Heating and Boilers

Oil and hot-water boiling systems are often used in manufacturing as sources for both space-heating and process-heating. Boilers are notorious culprits for energy inefficiencies. 

When looking to optimise energy efficiency in boilers, the three primary places to check are flue-gas exit temperatures, excess air in the system, and burnout.  

Of course, you can gain substantial efficiencies by replacing an inefficient boiler.  Condensing boilers are much more efficient at converting fuel to heat, and this efficiency can lead to 25% savings in energy costs to run the boiler. 

Honorable Mention: Renewable Energy in Manufacturing

Using renewable energy does not, in itself, help a manufacturer reduce energy usage. 

Instead, the use of renewable energy in manufacturing can help reduce a factory’s carbon footprint and can increase a manufacturer’s energy resilience. 

Energy resilience is the degree to which an organisation can maintain operations through energy shocks. Manufacturers can increase their energy resilience by diversifying their sources of energy. Sourcing some of their power from renewables can help manufacturers maintain operations even when difficulties with traditional energy sources arise.  

Governments often provide grants and incentives to help manufacturers minimise their carbon footprint and increase energy resilience. 

For example, in Ireland, manufacturers obtain government grants to fund the development of solar energy generation projects

But most government schemes for renewable energy focus on getting manufacturers to switch sources of energy, rather than reduce consumption thereof. 

3 – Energy Management Systems

Central to any effort to increase energy efficiency is having a system for monitoring and    measuring energy usage. In this section, we will discuss Energy Management Systems.  

An Energy Management System (sometimes abbreviated to “EMS” or “BEMS” for Building Energy Management System) is a set of tools that allow manufacturers to monitor, measure, analyse & control the consumption of energy within their machines, processes, or across the entirety of their site.  

Energy Management Systems require an up-front cost but enable manufacturers to discover and prioritise energy efficiency opportunities themselves.   

This section will help you understand: 

  • Energy Analytics, KPIs and Metrics 
  • Technologies in Energy Management Systems 
  • How to Drive Savings and Profits through usage of an EMS

Energy Analytics: KPIs & Metrics

If you want to find ways to consistently and predictably reduce your energy consumption, first you must measure the energy you use.  

However, there are several different ways to approach measuring energy usage.  

To communicate effectively with your staff, and to evaluate different Energy Management Systems, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with some of these different metrics for energy monitoring. 

  • Energy Efficiency: The total amount of energy used in relation to another metric, such as production output 
  • Specific energy consumption: The amount of energy required to create a single unit of output 
  • Unproductive Downtime Energy Use: The energy used by assets when in an unproductive state 
  • Machine Power Differences: The high and low energy-usage parameters between which a machine operates under normal conditions 

For a deeper dive into energy KPIs and energy analytics, see the Guide to Energy Management Systems

Monitoring energy efficiency

Technologies in Energy Management Systems 

Different providers solve the riddle of measuring energy usage in different ways. 

Energy Management Systems differ in these main ways: 

  1. Direct Measurement vs. Non-Invasive 
  1. Granularity to which energy is measured 
  1. Technologies used to provide energy usage prediction estimates 

Direct Measurement vs. Non-Invasive 

Direct measurement EMS solutions are directly wired into electrical cabinets and into machines.  

Non-invasive EMS solutions leverage technical solutions that enable them to provide energy measurements that are just as reliable and accurate, but don’t require the disruption of prefabricated electrical components in cabinets or machines. 

An additional benefit of non-invasive EMS solutions is that they are generally much faster to implement and are not disruptive to manufacturing production processes. 

For more on energy monitoring approaches and technologies, see the Guide to Energy Management Systems

Granularity of Measurement in Energy Management Systems 

Another axis on which EMS solutions differ is the granularity to which they are able to provide measurements. 

The most basic EMS systems only measure the total electricity consumption of the entire manufacturing facility.  

Mavarick’s EMS solutions are able to measure electricity usage at the building-level, cell-level, machine-level and even at the sub-asset level (energy usage within a single machine, for different machine processes). 

For a deeper look at EMS, see the Guide to Energy Management Systems

Technologies used to provide Energy Usage Prediction Estimates   

Energy Management Systems are used not only to measure energy usage after the fact, but also to predict energy levels required to power different manufacturing outputs. 

The most advanced EMS solutions make use of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate predictive capacity needs. 

Mavarick’s EMS solution, which pairs IoT and AI with the most granular energy monitoring available, provides unsurpassed accuracy for predicting energy needs. 

See the Guide to Energy Management Systems for more on technologies & approaches used in EMS. 

Energy Analytics: Turning Energy Insights into Cost Savings

The goal of saving the planet is noble (and necessary). 

However, most manufacturers are more immediately concerned with saving costs. If you’re looking to save costs through energy management, ultimately you need to turn energy insights into cost savings. 

See below for examples of how to turn energy insights into cost savings. 

Here are some of the ways that manufacturers leverage their EMS to reduce costs: 

  • Reduce Downtime Energy Costs: Identify periods when machines are running idle or at reduced capacity 
  • Shift Loads: Run the most energy-intensive processes at off-peak times 
  • Predictive Maintenance: Use energy draw as an indicator for when machines require maintenance 
  • Minimising Total Energy Overhead: Use EMS to establish benchmarks to ensure that energy usage is within parameters. 

Energy Management Systems can also be used to help you win more manufacturing business. An EMS can help you make more accurate energy-usage predictions.  

More accurate energy-usage predictions can help you make more competitive (lower) pricing proposals, as you don’t need to pad your pricing as much to allow for energy volatility costs. 

For a deeper dive see How to use an Energy Management System to Drive Savings & Profits.   

ISO 50001

Energy Management Systems and ISO 50001

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a global organisation that maintains best practice standards for business and industry. ISO 50001 is a standard that pertains to best practices for energy management systems. 

Implementing ISO 50001 will help you:

  • Develop effective policy and get commitment across the organisation, including executives 
  • Understand current state of energy usage, and use these to develop business-specific KPIs 
  • Establish targets and a plan for achieving energy efficiency  
  • Implement change as outlined in the plan 
  • Monitor progress against targets 
  • Continuously improve energy efficiency through ongoing initiatives 
  • Document the energy-management system 
  • Integrate energy management through organisation-wide training & initiatives 
  • Maintain standards through regular updates and audits of the system 

For more on ISO 50001 certification, see the SEAI website or the ISO Organisation website.  

4 – Manufacturing Energy Audit

A manufacturing energy audit is the most thorough way of assessing an operation’s energy efficiency, and the most risk-free manner of identifying powerful steps to significantly reduce energy usage. 

An energy audit is a formal process you undertake with the help of a professional third-party auditor. The audit can cover the full extent of the manufacturing operation, or any subset thereof.  

The end-product is a report with energy usage metrics of all assessed machines and processes. The report contains a prioritised list of recommended energy-saving steps, including analyses of the expected financial impact for each.  

A manufacturing energy audit consists of these steps: 

  1. Pre-audit steps: Steps taken by both the manufacturer and auditor, to prepare for the audit 
  2. Site Visit: This is where the audit takes place 
  3. Financial analysis & prioritisation of energy efficiency opportunities: Undertaken by auditor 
  4. Delivery of the full audit report 

The duration of an energy audit varies, depending on the scope of the audit. It has been estimated that the average length of a manufacturing energy audit is 3 months

The energy audit report is for the manufacturer to keep, and to apply as they see fit.  

For a full rundown of energy audit processes, preparation steps, and outcomes, see our complete guide: What is an Energy Audit in Manufacturing?

Energy efficiency is a global issue

5 – Government Funding Resources for Energy Efficient Manufacturing

Industry accounts for 37% of all energy consumption globally.  

Governments recognise that energy efficiency in manufacturing can help move the needle for climate change goals. To support this, governments provide monetary incentives.

Governments typically provide incentives for industrial energy efficiency in the form of: 

  1. Grants 
  2. Tax reductions 

A grant is a sum of money that the government directly provides to manufacturers to help offset the costs of energy efficiency measures. Grants can be provided to manufacturers ahead of measures being taken, or they can be paid out as reimbursement. With grants, there is an application process wherein the manufacturer makes the case as to why they should be eligible for the funds.  

Tax incentives are applicable only after the fact – after measures have been taken.

Typically, there is a process whereby the manufacturer proves that payments have been made to fund the energy efficiency initiatives. The government then responds by reducing your tax burden accordingly.  

In Ireland, there a wealth of options for funding energy efficient manufacturing, including: 

  • Classes to learn how to operate in a more energy-efficient manner 
  • Funds for the development of micro solar and wind energy generation operations 
  • Funds for Manufacturing Energy Audits 
  • Funds to implement energy-savings measures 

For Irish manufacturers, Enterprise Ireland has a list of energy efficiency funding options, and SEAI has information on the funds that they oversee. 

However, in Ireland, you can find the most up-to-date list of manufacturing energy-efficiency funding options on the Citizens Information website.  

Talk to Mavarick today to learn how Energy Management Systems can help you improve energy efficiency.

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