Forget all the woes managers must contend with on any given day in the job shop. The biggest pain point today, from a dollars-and-cents perspective, is energy.
Ontario’s Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) says the average price of electricity sits above $2.64 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) during peak daytime production time, and there are no signs of this dropping.
It’s a fixed cost manufacturers can’t exert much control over.
But imagine the competitive advantage afforded any company that gains an edge on energy costs through efficient production practices.
It’s this niche that has controls and automation companies the world over clamoring for ways to outfit existing tooling to improve efficiency.
One of those companies is Siemens, and its Sinumerik Ctrl+Energy software and ancillary drive, motor and control technology claims to maximize energy efficiency on the production floor.
Meeting the strict requirements of the international energy efficiency standard EN16001, this product portfolio assesses energy consumed by machine tools in every cycle, on every part produced and throughout the machine’s life cycle. Specific power loads can be shut down automatically during downtime. Energy generated by the tool braking is stored or fed back into the power grid.
Ultimately, the machine user can parse this data to analyze the amount of energy that goes into machining every individual work piece, and use it as the basis for machining strategy and workflow improvements.
Its no secret Siemens is a world leader in automation and machine controls, but benefits similar to its CTRL+Energy system can be found in products from a range of industrial automation suppliers, such as Bosch Rexroth, ABB, Emerson Industrial Automation, Honeywell and many local companies as well.