Building energy-efficient factories, achieving green and smart manufacturing

Text by: DGC

Green and smart manufacturing is the inevitable path for industrial transformation and upgrade.

In the face of the rapid development China’s manufacturing industry, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and other agencies have jointly released “The Guidebook for Green Manufacturing 2016 – 2020” to define clear green manufacturing goals and to emphasize that green manufacturing is an important part of the building of an environmentally-friendly society. It requires green manufacturing systems that feature advanced technology, low resource consumption, and low environmental pollution to accelerate the implementation of green production.

Over the years, Delta has made great progress in smart manufacturing and green manufacturing and has provided many clients with beneficial energy-efficient factory solutions. To learn more about the development of energy-efficient factory and green manufacturing solutions at Delta, we have obtained a first-hand account from IABG Applied Technology Center Manager
Patrick Yen. In this article we share this with our fellow coworkers, along with how to achieve green manufacturing and build modern, energy-efficient and eco-friendly factories, in which industrial automation technology plays an important role.

Multi-aspect approach in building an energy-efficient system

Patrick Yen says, "The key to building an energy-efficient factory is to understand the information of its operations and energy consumption, adjust or establish an energy strategy accordingly, and upgrade the equipment and heavy energy consumption points. The factory will be smarter, more transparent, and more visual. This is the future of energy-efficient factories."

The range of energy-efficiency covers all aspects of a factory. Energy-efficiency stems mainly from the following aspects:
First is the overall layout of the factory. One factory often has various functional zones. The key energy efficiency considerations of management are: how each zone is utilized; minimizing the area while maintaining the same capacity, functions, and efficiency; and reducing unnecessary energy consumption.

Second is the production line. There are huge fluctuations in the energy consumption of production lines. This depends primarily on whether the operators are able to implement reasonable optimization at various periods of time. The evidence shows that different production lines in the factory have significant differences in energy consumption at different times. The operation habits and energy-efficiency awareness of the production line operators are critical factors.

Third is the energy efficiency of the main production equipment. One production line will often carry multiple units of equipment, but Yen thinks the key is to select advanced automation and energy-efficient products, so that the production equipment is efficient in terms of production and energy consumption. The main sources of power consumption must be identified and have energy-efficient equipment applied, such as inverters, to reduce power consumption and improve the operation efficiency of the machinery and equipment.

The framework of Delta's energy management system. (EMS)

Customizing exclusive energy-efficient solutions for our users
Delta offers its users a series of energy-efficient solutions aimed at the demands of an energy-efficient factory, and customizes exclusive energy-efficient solutions. The energy-efficient products include high performance inverters, energy management systems (EMS), industrial configuration software SCADA, energy regenerative units, burn-in energy recovery systems, smart meters, smart sensors, and efficient LEDs. For example, the EMS and SCADA industrial configuration software monitor the energy consumption status of each piece of equipment and every production line in the factory, and provide visualized information for energy use to find opportunities for conserving power. Inverters are installed to improve energy consumption of the equipment for production and factory facilities. Mobile equipment such as elevators, cranes, and vehicles is installed with energy regenerative units for energy recovery and reuse. Smart meters directly display the equipment energy consumption status. Delta PLCs and smart sensors are used to control air conditioning and fan systems, compute in real-time, and ensure the proper inverter output frequency for stable and controlled indoor positive pressure and energy efficiency at the system level.

As an industrial automation leader, Delta's efficient industrial automation products and technologies improve the efficiency of its customers’ equipment and production lines, which further minimizes and optimizes energy consumption. In recent years, Delta has been dedicated to the development of green and smart manufacturing solutions, which integrate automation equipment and construct automated, smart and energy-efficient factories by combining manufacturing execution systems (MES), IoT, big data analysis, and cloud-related technologies.

The benefits of Delta’s energy management system (EMS) solutions.

Creating energy-efficiency concepts and awareness
In Mr. Yen's opinion, energy efficiency involves every aspect of the factory, and corresponding measures are diverse and depend on the specific conditions of individual factories. For instance, many essential facilities in the factory have huge potential for energy conservation. According to related data, aside from the production equipment, other facilities such as air-conditioners, lighting, and elevators account for a large proportion of the factory’s energy consumption. Air-conditioners alone may account for over 60% of the factory’s power consumption.

To conserve energy at facilities, Delta adopts professional inverters to reduce and adjust the power consumption of air conditioners, and installs smart sensors in key locations in office areas, such as air vents, to monitor external temperature and humidity variations and link with the air conditioner control system. The air conditioning system operates based on environmental conditions, which effectively reduces energy consumption.

"For energy-efficient factories the energy efficiency awareness of each manager and equipment operator is even more important than the amount of energy-efficient products applied to the equipment," says
Patrick Yen, who believes that energy efficiency is system engineering. A truly green factory must be built with various energy-efficiency measures along with energy efficiency concepts and persistence.

The execution of an energy-efficiency plan is often in conflict with existing production operations, especially the working habits of operators. For example, in factories that have undergone energy efficiency reforms, operators do not always consider energy-efficiency habits necessary or a part of their duties. They pass the responsibility on to the staff in the facilities department. The concept of energy efficiency must be applied throughout daily actions. Examples include turning off lights when leaving the room, turning off equipment during idle periods, frequently checking energy consumption of key equipment, and optimizing settings.

Since 2011, Delta has continuously adopted its self-developed energy execution information system to implement daily energy management at each of its factories. The system offers real-time monitoring and analysis, assisting each factory’s energy management team perfect their energy management measures. Energy-efficiency at each site centers around areas such as air conditioning systems, air compressors, injection machines, lighting systems, burn-in, energy recovery, and production process improvements for energy conservation and carbon reduction. At the same time, this application experience is continuously shared with clients to demonstrate Delta’s energy consumption savings of 30% and more using energy-efficient solutions. For the future, Delta will continue to develop various energy-efficient products and energy conservation solutions, expand applications related to energy efficiency, devote itself to continuous improvement of automation areas such as procedures, processes and logistics, and provide clients with more energy-efficient factory applications.

Delta’s Wujiang production base is renovated with a demonstration smart manufacturing production line, which reduces the number of operators and the operation area, increases capacity, and achieves green and smart manufacturing.