This post was guest-authored by Kayla Matthews, technology writer and the editor of Productivity Bytes.
IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a popular industry buzzword, referring to the growing network of connected devices that can communicate with one another. In homes, we see them in smart appliances, digital assistants and home automation. In manufacturing and other industries, these networked devices are referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
How can manufacturing company owners and supervisors use IIoT to improve energy efficiency in their facilities?
Automatic LED Lighting
Proper lighting is essential in manufacturing, improving safety and preventing worker injuries. It’s also one of the most expensive parts of running a business. Studies have found that switching to LED light fixtures can reduce your company’s lighting energy expenditure by up to 90%. Collectively in the U.S., industrial lighting consumes 58 terawatt-hours of energy. Switching to LEDs industrywide could reduce that by 52 terawatt-hours.
Utilizing IIoT can take that energy reduction to the next level, using networked sensors to determine when to turn the lights on and off. Motion sensors can reduce lighting in areas that aren’t in use, or turn down artificial sources in favor of windows or skylights. With IIoT, LEDs can reduce lighting energy costs by up to 99%.
Keeping the interior of a manufacturing facility comfortable can be challenging, especially if the building is lacking insulation. Manually adjusting the heating or cooling can cost you a lot of money in the long run. In homes, switching to a smart thermostat can save up to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling, which is ideal for anyone who’s looking for a way to improve energy efficiency in their manufacturing facility.
Networked IIoT devices can make smart thermostats even more efficient. Networking a facility’s climate control with local weather forecasts and interior thermometers allows the computer to automatically change the internal temp based on outdoor weather conditions. It can also keep track of areas that need to be climate-controlled, such as storage freezers or server rooms. It can even adjust the thermostat based on when the building is in use.
Instead of turning down the thermostat manually when you leave for the night and turning it back up in the morning, IIoT-controlled climate systems take the guesswork out of it. They automatically change the interior temperature as soon as the last employee leaves for the day.
Real-Time Energy Monitoring
One of the best ways to promote energy efficiency in manufacturing is to monitor usage. Once you determine what uses the most power, you can make changes to reduce it. Manual monitoring is possible, but not as efficient as introducing IIoT into the workplace.
IIoT sensors can monitor energy use in real time and report that information back to the central warehouse management software. With proper programming, this system can generate energy reports or even turn lights and equipment on and off. This is similar to what happens when you apply IIoT to industrial lighting.
Companies are already starting to embrace data collected by the IIoT to improve their energy efficiency. Eastman Chemical began a data-driven energy program in 2008 and has saved 9% in energy costs. The program saved the company $30 million in a single year. Building owners in Washington, D.C., found that real-time energy monitoring reduced power costs by 13%.
Additionally, building and business owners can design their system to send alerts to them remotely. This is helpful if they’re not in the building and something is using too much power, a setting is changed or equipment is not working correctly.
Looking Toward the Future
The Industrial Internet of Things isn’t a buzzword for you to throw around at meetings anymore. It’s quickly becoming a necessity in manufacturing and many other industries, especially if you’re interested in improving energy efficiency for your company. Climate control, lighting and real-time energy monitoring are just a sample of the possible applications for IIoT in the future.
As technology continues to advance, we may start to find more and varied applications for these networked devices. If you haven’t started looking into implementing the IIoT in your facility, for energy efficiency or anything else, now is the perfect time. Use the power of the Industrial Internet of Things to make your facility more efficient.
The leading Industrial IoT event on the East Coast returns in November 2019!
07 – 08 November 2019 | Hilton Boston Logan Airport, USA