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Digital transformation and the circular economy

circular economy

An effective business and IoT strategy can drive ROI savings and efficiency improvements and contribute to a circular economy.

The explosion of IoT devices and connected factory floor has provided many organisations with direct visibility to operations, equipment performance, process performance, equipment reliability and more. And as this technology has advanced many manufacturing organisations have been aligning these projects with sustainability goals and the circular economy, according to a new report from the Industry IoT Consortium.

A simple example of how IoT devices impact a sustainability goal is to look at a typical three-phase, 20-HP motor operating 24 hours a day. Online sensors that monitor motor temperature and electrical power can detect when a motor is not running as efficiently and wasting energy. A 20-HP motor with a power unbalance between phases of 2.5 per cent will result in a motor winding temperature increase of 12.5 per cent. Correcting the power unbalance from 2.5 per cent to a recommended 1.0 per cent results in 1311 Kw/h savings equivalent to 0.57 Tons CO2 per year. The accumulative savings of CO2 would greatly increase by the number of motors operating in a typical plant and motor horsepower.

However, an average factory in the US uses about 95.1 kWh of electricity per square foot annually with almost 70 per cent of the power consumed by electrical motors. Expanding the example case above to an average manufacturing plant could result in a reduction as high as 106,010 kWh or 45.9 Tons CO2 per 100,000 square foot facility

IoT systems combined with an effective digital transformation strategy and program can support a circular economy and augment a manufacturing organisations’ ability to achieve its sustainability goals with solutions such as:

Industrial automation-based process control: IoT can help reduce the carbon footprint by optimising the manufacturing processes and reducing the energy consumption and waste generated by inefficient or faulty operations.

Quality control: IoT can help reduce the carbon footprint by detecting defects or anomalies in real-time and preventing defective products from being produced or shipped, which would otherwise require rework or disposal and consume more resources and energy.

Condition-based maintenance: IoT can help reduce the carbon footprint by monitoring equipment health and performance and scheduling maintenance based on actual condition rather than fixed intervals, which would avoid unnecessary or excessive maintenance activities that consume more resources and energy.

Smart metering: IoT can help reduce the carbon footprint by monitoring and managing energy consumption and costs across different machines, departments, or facilities, which would reduce waste and improve efficiency and enable better energy management.

Smart manufacturing execution system (MES): IoT can help reduce the carbon footprint by collecting and analysing data from various sources such as machines, workers, or materials, which would improve production planning, scheduling, tracking, or reporting and enable better resource utilisation and optimisation.

An effective and well thought digital strategy and roadmap can bring valuable benefits and insights to reducing waste, increasing process visibility, decreasing cost, improving quality and building a more effective and efficient workforce.

Digital Transformation and its benefits for solving ever increasing demands upon manufacturing to remain agile, resilient and efficient is well known, providing substantial savings and should be the goal of every industry. The ability to use digital transformation as a mechanism to achieve lower demands upon resources, recycling of resources, lowering carbon footprints and providing a better environment to our communities is just as important and built into the organisations’ strategy.

A key part of a good transformation project is the people involved. Digital transformation should include all functions, engineering, operations, quality, human resources, laboratory, IT, environmental health & safety (sustainability) and key external partners to assure the project will meet all objectives.

CTS The industrialisation of IT
CTS - Industrialisation of IT
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