Dairy industry: what gets measured, gets managed

Compressed air energy is a significant cost to the dairy industry. In many areas of production, more than 20 per cent of compressed air energy can be attributed to waste.

As with many industries, a key strategy to reduce this waste should include an analysis of existing energy consumption and identifying strategies to reduce waste and often excess energy necessary to efficiently consume compressed air.

When asked what ‘inefficient compressed air’ demand looks like, Paul Grantham, key account manager for SMC Corporation Australia New Zealand (ANZ) – dairy industry said that there are many factors that could lead to wasted energy including higher than necessary flow rates, excessive pressure leading to higher pressure drops and high leakage rates

SMC has long been an advocate for energy saving technology and has spent years developing new energy saving technologies for its customers through its Energy Conservation Group.

According to Grantham, SMC utilises a four-step plan to help customers in the dairy industry realise energy saving opportunities:

  1. Visualise or identify – “Here, SMC works alongside the customer to identify energy saving opportunities and gain an understanding of their compressed air utilisation and the potential for energy savings. Initially, we would look at base line data and where this is not available, we work with the customer to collect this data.  It is here that SMC’s monitoring equipment including flow meters and pressure sensors come into play”.
  2. Analyse – “Once the data has been collected it can be analysed and related to the compressed air processes to identify areas where the most significant energy savings can be realised. By reviewing energy saving opportunities in an efficient and structured manner, the cost of improvements can often be significantly reduced. Often, small changes can make a big difference,” said Grantham.
  3. Implement – “Having identified and analysed the processes using real data, it is possible to incorporate energy saving techniques to compressed air processes. Through monitoring components such as flow meters and pressure sensors there is improved visability and feedback relating to energy consumption. This allows customers to make informed decisions and to efficiently manage their current and future consumption,” said Grantham.
  4. Improve – “Once the smart technology is implemented, we continuously review the processes and savings to identify the next opportunity for improvement and to ensure that any change is reviewed against the base line data to quantify the measured improvement . This can be an ongoing partnership and our commitment to you – our valued customer. We are here every step of the way on this energy saving journey”.

 The PF3A Series from SMC
Suitable for the dairy industry, the PF3A series now offers an IO-Link digital flow switch complete with 2-screen display. It is compact in size and offers improved display visibility, a built-in temperature sensor, enhanced energy savings and is IP65 compliant.

SMC Energy Conservation Group
“Recently, SMC established the SMC Energy Conservation Group which is works with customers globally to provide initiatives and solutions that are delivering efficiencies, process improvements and reduced costs,” said Grantham.

More than just identifying efficiencies SMC takes a long-term approach working with customer sites to also identify management and control solutions; to retain the value achieved.

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