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Net Zero and soaring prices: how smart factory technology can help you cut energy consumption

2 min read

Workers in food factory

With Net Zero on the horizon and sustainability being given a necessary seat at the table, businesses are being challenged to cut energy consumption. According to our customers, the top three strategies currently being pursued are waste recycling, reducing use, and energy management.

Now though, it’s high energy prices, inflation, and interest rates that are making headlines and causing headaches for manufacturing and procurement professionals alike. For some organisations, it’s even more serious. According to Make UK, nearly 60% of companies believe increased energy costs are a threat to business.

While Make UK also states that 58% of companies are already using energy management practices such as insulation to offset rising costs, what other options are there out there that can take the heat out of energy - permanently?

Chocolate dessert

Take control

For one of our customers, utilising RS Industria reduced energy consumption by 14% – in just four weeks.

A modular Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform, RS Industria enables both legacy and new equipment to be connected to a cloud-based monitoring system. When Kerry Foods’ engineering team decided to roll out its use at its Tenbury Wells site in Worcestershire, the results were instant.

Like most UK businesses, corporate commitments to sustainability and the impact of soaring energy costs means the pressure is on to reduce usage and make meaningful savings.

For Kerry Foods, that meant getting to grips with how and where energy was being used, in order to put in place a strategy that would make a difference. With RS Industria already in use at the site to monitor wastewater levels, rolling the modular system out to give greater visibility of energy consumption was an easy task.

RS Industria’s solutions engineers worked with the customer to connect existing energy sub-meters with newly installed ones, spread around key locations and production lines. By linking these to the RS Industria network, the customer had a clear, real-time picture of when and where energy was being used.

It revealed similar consumption even while production was idle that had, until that point, remained unseen. The clarity of insight RS Industria brought led to immediate action and rapid savings, helping the site to reduce energy consumption, take positive steps towards sustainability goals and save money in the process – all without a significant outlay.

Sustainability goals

Just like in our own homes, where the insight provided by smart meters reminds us just how costly a quick tumble dryer spin really is, having insight into our factory assets can impact our behaviour at work too. For Kerry, the visibility of consumption has generated a lasting energy-saving culture amongst the teams, who have since made further changes to operating procedures to maximise energy savings.

When it comes to sustainability credentials, another one of our customers, Brompton, needs no introduction. The iconic fold-up bike is used by commuters worldwide as an alternative transport solution.

Woman on bike

Its West London manufacturing facility produces 100,000 Brompton Bikes a year. Together, RS Industria and Brompton have worked on a series of initiatives at the site, including a programme to reduce electricity consumption.

Having expanded its site into neighbouring industrial units, maintaining visibility over electricity consumption across different accounts, meters, and networks had proved difficult.

By digitally connecting each location’s industrial equipment, RS Industria created a single clear picture of electricity consumption, enabling Brompton to optimise their electricity purchasing and save £24,000 each year.

This equates to more than 100,000 kWh energy saving per year or CO2 emissions savings of circa 4 tonnes.

It’s a big number. It’s also an area we can help your business with too. If you’re looking to make savings in the face of rising energy costs, contact RS Industria today.

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