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Unlike most commercial premises where you may have 2 or 3

utilities to manage…

…some industrial or manufacturing sites can be managing dozens of meters.

What’s more the equipment used to run a plant can be vast and varied meaning monitoring consumption is never going to be straight forward.

Those of you working in industrial and manufacturing are probably saying “Tell me something I don’t know!”. So how do you tackle monitoring in an environment like this?

Well, we know from experience there isn’t a one size fits all solution but we also know that energy expenditure tends to be one of the biggest expenses and is therefore coming under more and more scrutiny. Often with complex and vast estates, managing everything can become a full time occupation, leaving no time for the rest of your responsibilities.

Firstly, getting all of your data into one place is a must, it saves a massive amount of time and also means that you won’t overlook any of your data feeds.

Look for a system that allows you to set up automated reports – this is another time saving tool and if it lets you schedule the reports and disseminate them to a list of colleagues you’re onto a winner, one session of set up and then “Bob’s your Uncle”!

A good Alarm feature will tell you about water/chemical leaks and other exceptional events so should be considered a must when looking for a monitoring solution, you need a system that not only picks these things up but also lets you know about it. It’s no good seeing it on your Monday morning checking session if it’s been happening since the middle of the previous week. An alarm system enables you to deal with issues much more quickly and it saves you cash in the long run.

Another way to help manage the cost of the energy you use in production is to include it’s cost in the bill of materials and therefore pass it on to your customers. You can either calculate how much energy you use and divide it by the number of unit produced in each half-hour period of production or….get a solution that does it for you. Import data from your production systems and see in real-time how much energy has gone in to the manufacture of each product!

Finally, ensure that your system is tariff friendly in order to generate accurate costing reports and that you can create cost centres to help with future budgeting.

It’s never going to be easy to manage the complex and potentially vast industrial/manufacturing estates but these are just a few ideas on how to make your energy management system work for you.