Technologies to help you prepare for 2011

Australia’s manufacturing industry faces another tough year ahead, but there are technologies to help companies fiscally and environmentally. Alan Johnson reports.

WITH environmental issues and energy costs set to rise even further with the introduction of a carbon tax in 2011, it is increasingly important for manufacturers to become aware of new technolo gies to reduce their operating costs and their carbon footprint.

What many don’t realise is that energy in the manufacturing sec tor is the single largest operating and maintenance expense.

According to Rod Ellsworth, VP global asset sustainability with Infor, energy costs are 60 to 80% of operating and mainte nance expense in many manufac turing sectors, including food, chemical, metal and pharmaceu ticals.

“With energy costs expected to continue to climb, it is becoming more relevant that manufactur ers start managing them. It is their assets, their property, plant and equipment that consumes that energy, and we factor all that into our new Asset Sustainability Application.

“Then from a sustainability perspective, we factor compa nies’ environmental stewardship into the way they operate and maintain their properties, plant and equipment,” Ellsworth told Manufacturers’ Monthly on his recent visit to Australia.

“The new application factors in energy in a users environmen tal impact of operating property, plant and equipment into the day to day decisions of how they operate and maintain the equip ment,” he said.

Ellsworth says the application has changed the paradigm on how users make decisions on how they manage their assets. ”Previously they didn’t factor in the cost of energy or the environ mental impact of how this piece of equipment is operating.

“We can also look at how long a piece of equipment is running, plus a couple of premises not many people think about.

“First fact is that most assets are not operating as efficiently as they were designed to oper ate, which in manufacturing is predominately motor driven assets.”

According to Ellsworth, most assets are operating 5 to 80% less energy efficiently than they were designed to operate. “It all depends on the type of asset, but if you aren’t monitoring and managing your assets on a con tinual basis those dollars go out.

“We have taken the approach that if we can fix the energy effi ciency problems with the assets, we will inherently fix the envi ronmental problems with the assets.

“The way we do this is to moni tor the energy consumption on a real time basis, whether it’s at the asset or at the system or structure within a manufacturing facility or the facility itself.

“We know how much energy users should be consuming, ver sus what they are actually con suming.”

Ellsworth says information in the application on what that asset should be consuming can come from a range of sources.

“If the users have the design specification from the OEM, they can capture that and put it in the system.

“Alternatively, if they have the timeframe when the asset was bought and put into production, we can go back and look at aver age energy efficiency standards at NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association).

“We bring in those standards and if motor was bought in 1990, for example, we can see 100hp motors at that time were about this energy efficient, and we will capture that.

“If neither of these is avail able, then we will go in and, after all the preventative mainte nance on that asset/motor, moni tor it for its efficiency and estab lish a baseline. Then if it deterio rates from there, we know we need to do something,” Ellsworth said.

“We can capture any of those approaches. Then we break down the energy coming in; the kW, the current, the V, the power fac tors, the phase imbalance etc.

“We understand every aspect of how that device is consuming energy. By bringing in that infor mation in real time, we then have within asset sustainability application a knowledge base, called alert management.

“It analysis the energy coming in and looks at where users are at and where they are supposed to be. It identifies all anomalies with energy.

“We monitor all these and alert the customer proactively if the customer’s equipment is not running as energy efficiently as possible, plus give them the rea sons why.

“The alerts can manifest them selves into work orders, email alerts, or other messaging requirements. Each has three components; we identify the cost the user is currently incurring, showing excess over what it should be, and show the finan cial reason for doing something.

“We also address what the environmental impact is, so you now have an environmental rea son for doing something, and the risk factor.

“And because excess energy consumption manifests itself into a degradation of the asset per formance, meaning that the asset is not going to last long in pro duction if this condition contin ues to exist, we incorporate those aspects into all the communica tions,” Ellsworth said.

“We have to change people’s cultures, and get them to think differently about why they need to do things.

“They have to think about the environmental aspects of their decisions. They have to think about their financial and energy aspects of their decisions and of course they have to think about the operating aspects of their decisions.”

According to Ellsworth, the only way to change that culture is to fuse that into a day to day decision.

“Asset sustainability brings all this together to help them, so that when users read that email message, they know why they are doing it.

“For the next generation behind us, this will be a common way of doing business. We are in the throws of having to change our culture, so we have embed ded that into our new system to help that behaviour change.”

Ellsworth says compressors, motorised pumps and valves, motors themselves, such as on conveyors for example are the primary users of energy.

“There are also other users of energy, such as lighting and HVAC, but they only comprise a small percentage of energy usage. In manufacturing that will be less than 10%. Over 70% of energy usage in manufacturing is consumed by 3-phase motors,” Ellsworth said.

While offering a comprehen sive view of energy usage, Ellsworth says the new Asset Sustainability Application is not that complicated, or expensive to set up.

“There needs to be a sub meter to capture the informa tion, which can be wired or wire less. It becomes an IP address on the users network.

“There does not need to be a sub meter on every motor, but if there is a small electric motor that is critical to your operation, then that might be worth while sub-metering. However, most motors under 20hp do not warrant sub-metering.”

Ellsworth says the new application can save manufacturers 10 to 20% of their cost of energy, plus far less carbon emissions.

“We approach carbon and energy mitigation through three distinct ways.

“The first is behavioural change through providing visibility to how much a company is consuming, with goals and objectives.

“Through our dashboard, users know if they go and do something, such as turn off lights, they will immediately get an impact and see how much energy they are saving.

“We also have an engineering view through an energy and greenhouse portal that’s focused on comparative analysis so users can go in and understand how like assets are operating, one against another and look at control strategies.

“The second area is demand management; understanding at the asset level, how much users are consuming and what are the attributes of their energy usage, such as power factors.

“This is where we are bringing in intelligence to interpret the energy consumption and alert users to their operating conditions.

“The third area is factoring in energy efficiency, the cost of energy and the environmental impact into a users replacement decisions for assets.

“In some cases we recommend companies replace an asset sooner rather than later because of the energy efficiency differential and the environmental impact differential. We bring that level of intelligence to our customers,” Ellsworth said.

The application’s procurement engineering function, in which OEMs supply all the information needed, such size and type including mountings, energy efficiency, casings etc is said to be unique to Infor. The system includes information on any type of motor driven device.

“We do an equivalent evaluation against every like item across an enterprise and then build a business case to tell users when to replace an item and why they should replace it. We also warn the user how much it will cost, and what the environmental impact will be if the item is not replaced.”

Ellsworth says, like Australia, many US manufacturers are being forced to reduce their carbon footprint by powers further up the supply chain.

“For a couple of our food manufacturing users, their customers are saying they want to know what their carbon intensity per product is for the food. They are using our application to measure it and to mitigate.

“I see the carbon market maturing to the fact that folks now associate energy with carbon and that if you can mitigate energy, you can reduce your carbon footprint,” Ellsworth said.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is another area more manufacturers are set to embrace in 2011, with security concerns becoming less of an issue. Many analysts are now predicting more than 40% of all software will be sold as a service in five years time.

Bruce Richardson, Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer with Infor, believes it is just a matter of education to reach that figure.

“On-premises deployments will still be prevalent but the percentage of customers wanting cloud based solutions will continue to grow as customers become more comfortable with the cloud deployment model.

“We have offered cloud services for over 10 years and have seen significant interest. We currently have more than 750 customers and a half million active users”

“The beauty with Infor’s solutions is that customers have the choice of on-premises, cloud, or even hybrid deployments using the same software,” Richardson told Manufacturers’ Monthly on his recent visit to Australia.

Regarding security concerns, Richardson says the data centres used by Infor include onsite security guards, multiple mantraps which must be traversed to enter server area, security scans at each entry, palm scans for entry into the server cage and security cameras cover all internal and external areas.

“We also manage firewalls at multiple levels in the network, intrusion detection and prevention technology, firewall and ids log monitoring performed real time by an external security firm, regular vulnerability scans, virus protection, SSL/TLS and VPN connections are supported, administrative user ID and password management solutions for enforcing best practices.

“For customers, another factor is availability. Infor’s solutions are setup with full redundancy to eliminate single points of failure. They have redundant ISP connections from multiple providers and redundant network components including routers, firewalls, switches, NIC ports and network paths.

“Another concern for customers is interoperability. Infor ION allows for plug and play integration between Infor and non Infor solutions. It works natively over the web for remote integration,” he said.

Richardson rejects outright industry’s concerns that transaction speeds could be affected if a large number of heavy data users take up the ‘Cloud’ offer worldwide.

“Our solutions are built to scale wide so there really isn’t a limit to how large our customer base can be and there should be no change in performance as the number of customers increase.

“Internet backbone providers have a tremendous amount dark/unused fibre already in the ground/water and have shown no reluctance to add more as demand increases.

“Backbone providers have also been helped by the fact that their transmission technology has improved at a rapid pace allowing them to transmit much more data down existing fibre,” he said.

When it comes to costings, Richardson is adamant the present low prices can be sustained.

“In fact our costs have continued to decline over the past ten years while at the same time we have seen dramatic improvements in technology. We don’t see this trend changing.”

“Over the past 10 years we have seen all sized companies adopt the cloud deployment option.

“Much depends on a customer’s comfort level and what capacity they have for additional on-premises deployments.

“Small customers tend to go with the cloud option because it is much less expensive than doing it themselves and they may not have the expertise required to manage the solutions.

“Mid-sized customers like the lower costs, high availability, and may or may not have the expertise.

“Large customers tend to want to concentrate on core aspects of their business and leverage service providers where they can for things that are not core,” he said.

According to Richardson, no customer really gains any competitive advantage by maintaining their own enterprise solutions any more than they would if they owned and maintained their own power generation capability.

“As with power generation, there are situations where it makes sense to do it yourself, but in most cases it really doesn’t.

“During the early 1900s century, almost every manufacturer generated their own power because they had no choice. Once the power network was put in place they did, and it was much more economical for them to buy power as a service. The Internet is having the same effect on computing,” Richardson said.

Infor 1800 260 2640, www.infor.com.au