Saving of the Green

Good Asset Management Yields Both More Uptime and More Efficiency, but It Also Can Be a Big Contributor to Your Energy-Saving and Sustainability Efforts

By Nancy Bartels

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Paul Stamas, vice president of IT at Mohawk, outlines the challenge for the company. "Our energy costs rose 30% over the past five years, and the U.S. Dept. of Energy told us to expect another 10% increase in one year. Energy is Mohawk's largest operating and maintenance expense—60% of the total—and our motor and pump assets consume 75% of that energy." No wonder cutting energy costs is high on Mohawk's corporate must-do list.

Mohawk sought a solution by means of ramping up its EAM system. "Management needed visibility into data on the factory floor for better decision making," says Stamas. "We needed an EAM system integrating energy into our asset management strategy."

The system Mohawk chose was Infor10 EAM from Infor (www.infor.com).  It was linked to Mohawk's Microsoft SQL Server database to manage the large amount of data the system was collecting.

Stamas got the expected benefits of improved preventive maintenance programs through more proactive inspections, calibrations and repairs, but he also got a surprise. "As machines performed better through improved maintenance, our total energy consumption was decreasing. We realized that a more sustainable approach would be to drive down energy consumption in the first place through better energy management at the asset level, which also makes financial sense."

So Mohawk added Infor 10 EAM Enterprise Asset Sustainability solution, which allows the maintenance staff to compare the designed energy use of assets versus actual energy consumption. "We can now incorporate energy efficiency into our asset management program," says Stamas.

Mohawk's system is also integrated with thousands of sensors on the factory floor collecting real-time energy data. The system thus can identify machines whose performance is degrading and sends alerts, so cases of energy waste can be addressed and resolved. "We can even create a condition-based preventive maintenance program, says Stamas.

The sensors collect real-time energy use data, which is then compared to the utility bills, and that information is reported in the EAM to help users identify real, energy-saving opportunities. It also supports repair-or-replace decision-making. "We can find out whether the cost of buying a more efficient motor is less than the energy we're spending to run an old, inefficient motor," Samas explains.

The results are everything Mohawk could have hoped for. Stamas says, "We expect an additional 15% to 20% drop in energy consumption on top of the nearly 15% we've already realized."

Infor's latest iteration, Infor10 Asset Sustainablity Edition (ASE) is a pretty advanced system, says John Murphy, Infor's director of solution management for EAM. He admits that when the company released the solution in 2008, "We were ahead of the market. Customers were not asking for it."

However, visionaries at Infor pushed for it, and, Murphy says, in spite of it being a "tough sell" for customers who aren't so far along with their asset management programs, those who are ready want it to take them to the next level.

"It really is all about the cost data," he says. "As we get more stories about ROI achieved, it will be easier."

The SCADA Connection

One of those advanced customers is the City of DesMoines, Iowa. It's the contracting operator for the region's wastewater reclamation authority (WRA), and it operates a treatment facility that processes the wastewater from an area of 16 entities that encompasses several counties, municipalities and sewer districts.

The facility handles treatment from preliminary stages through secondary treatment and disinfection, including biosolids production and disposal. It has a maintenance department of 26 with an annual maintenance budget of approximately $3.5 million.

Built in 1987, the facility began its trip to advanced EAM starting with MP2 from Datastream. It upgraded to MP7, now Enterprise EAM from Infor (www.infor.com), several years ago. In 2010, driven by the desire to improve its energy efficiency, it embarked on a project funded by the IowaGrants program to integrate its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and enterprise asset management (EAM) applications to enable that objective. The project was initiated in July 2010 and went online this past January.

This Continuous Commissioning and Energy Efficiency project had several key goals: integrate data between the EAM and SCADA applications/systems; establish and configure energy and condition monitoring capabilities within the EAM; analyze energy usage trends for high-energy-use assets; and identify energy savings opportunities.

To achieve these goals, the WRA upgraded its system to Infor Enterprise EAM Asset Sustainability Edition (ASE). It also had to identify "pilot" equipment items and available data points; establish, design and implement a data structure for integration; and establish trend and analysis reporting.

Other key applications relevant to the project included Rockwell Software's FactoryTalk SCADA/HMI system (www.rockwellautomation.com) and the Hach Water Information System (WIMS) application (www.hach.com/im).

The project set up its test environment by September 2010 and was able to go live with its first operational phase in January 2011. Initial project objectives were to reduce energy usage by roughly 200,000 KW, which makes for  savings of more than $40,000 annually.

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