Renewable energy generation technologies and emerging energy storage techniques, coupled with the drive to reduce carbon emissions, are motivating us all to develop better and smarter ways to control our energy use. What does this mean for industrial businesses and how can greater digital connectivity help?
New process and building technologies mean factories of the future will be increasingly modular, have more flexible production and even the option to be ‘packed up’ and moved to different locations to suit new markets. New production technologies such as advances in 3D product printing will see mini factories grow as satellites from hub factories located closer to consumers. Industry 4.0 will play a massive part in ensuring these factories stay efficient and optimised. Interconnected computer systems provide tremendous opportunities for businesses to generate, analyse and exchange production, scheduling and energy use data across systems and entire industrial businesses and supply chains. This data can be used to spot areas of opportunity for improvement or poor or inconsistent energy performance across manufacturing facilities. The data that is now available allows businesses to manage and control their manufacturing systems much more widely. We have a system-wide approach to energy optimisation that not only considers a process but the energy that feeds it. By considering energy use beyond just the process and facility to include infrastructure, offices, workshops, administration buildings and lorry parks, it is possible to understand the wider cost of a business’s energy use across an entire site, country or even internationally. You can read the full version of this article on AECOM’s website, here.