Does it make Sense to Include Energy Consumption on Bills of Material?

April 25, 2013
A researcher makes the case that industry energy management analytics can help companies get a better handle on their automation’s energy consumption.

When an organization builds a bill of materials (BoM) and defines the components and instructions for manufacturing a product, it’s not typical for energy costs to be included. However, according to Mike Roberts of LNS Research, for some energy-intensive industries, with advanced reporting capabilities, it may make sense to include the estimated amounts of energy required in production. These estimates would have to be made based on both experience and an analysis of real-time data captured over time, he writes in a new article, How Real-time Energy Monitoring Will Impact Production Decisions,.

“By viewing projected energy use on the BoM relative to actual energy use with the real-time visibility provided byindustrial energy management (IEM) analytics, companies could make more informed production decisions,” he writes. “IEM software will be central in delivering this product-by-product energy consumption analysis.”

According to Roberts, the dynamics of industrial energy use have driven increasing concern around variable energy consumption and how companies deal with their power suppliers. Organization have traditionally signed a yearly, fixed price contract with their energy supplier. Today, energy is priced more variably and the cost can change as fast as every 15 minutes. This has prompted companies to engage in cogeneration projects as well as to make production decisions using smart grid approaches that optimize energy decisions based on the cost of purchasing power, versus the cost to cogenerate, versus consumption, reports Roberts.

“IEM reporting and analytics help companies turn raw process and meter data into consumable information on each automation asset,” according to Roberts. “For instance, as opposed to one single electrical distribution box that’s being monitored, with each motor or conveyor or pump having its own energy consumption measurement, companies can know not just which products or lines are causing inefficiencies, but also which pieces of equipment. This will facilitate identifying pieces of equipment that need to be fixed or updated.”

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