Carbon neutrality

Energy Per Unit and its importance in reducing energy consumption

21.06.20233 min read

The production of electricity has negative effects on the environment and like its use, is associated with high greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing energy use should therefore be one of the most important sustainability goals.

The latest scientific data indicate that the global climate is undergoing unprecedented changes. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that global warming is increasingly – often irreversibly – affecting the climate. The Earth’s average temperature has already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius since the industrial revolution and continues to rise. Scientists warn that a 2-degree Celsius rise will have critical consequences for nature and humans. The essence is to reduce the negative impact on the environment. A big part of this is reducing energy use.

Energy Per Unit

In the case of Mitsubishi Electric, energy saving has become part of its DNA. There is one key concept which is fundamental to changing the perception of energy usage. Mitsubishi Electric calls this EPU:
the Energy Per Unit produced. It is simply the amount of energy consumed to produce one product.

EPU has two powerful attributes; it allows the direct association of the energy cost to the manufacturing activity and it is also variable/dynamic.

This might not sound so important until you have a production line stoppage and the EPU starts to rapidly increase as energy is consumed but the product is no longer being produced. The second attribute is that it makes it easy to compare production performance between lines, or even factories because the EPU is entirely driven by the efficiency of production, i.e. productivity. And this is why Mitsubishi Electric uses it to benchmark the company but also to drive energy saving activities.

Typically, manufacturers have a very clear idea of the material costs, direct and indirect labor costs, logistics, depreciation, etc. related to their manufacturing processes. But very rarely do they actually know anything other than the headline energy consumption. So the comprehensive approach to this issue is essential. In this case Mitsubishi Electric uses the e-F@ctory concept – it is Mitsubishi Electric’s initiative to extract hidden benefits from existing resources, through integrated automation. The ultimate goal is to improve efficiencies, reduce cost, and increase overall productivity.

Connect everything

By applying the e-F@ctory concept of ‘connect everything’ and measuring what is important, customers are able to derive the EPU. The great thing is that energy monitoring can be applied retrospectively to any existing site or machinery. Modules can be added to existing breakers directly or distributed measurement points can be installed without disrupting the existing production or cabling – simply clamp over the appropriate CT modules.

Connecting these to local meters and monitoring stations makes it easy to pull all that data back to a central management point. The more visibility is given to that data, the more change effect can be created.

Proper energy management is a challenge for every company. It is important not only in terms of environmental protection, but it also results in real savings.

Photo: Getty Images


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