An effective solution for the Energy optimization of production facilities

The first step toward consuming less is to know exactly how much you consume.

That's why we want to tell you about the experience of Energy AWARENESS, an ante litteram project that we carried out in partnership with Politecnico di Milano, with Compel Electronics and IMP Industria Metalli Pressofusi.

It was 2011, the energy crisis was still far away, when Energy AWARENESS ranked first among all projects submitted for the Metallurgy - Environmental Sustainability and Energy Efficiency of Production Processes category, in response to the Call for Industrial Research and Experimental Development co-funded by Regione Lombardia and MIUR.

Crucial to the project was the use of the ICT4Green energy management application for monitoring the energy consumption of the die-casting metal processing plant and modelling it with parameters useful for energy analysis.

How Energy AWARENESS Works
An extensive network of sensors and actuators measure and monitor, in real time, all relevant process parameters. The collected data are then processed by the Hub Center, a special software application developed by GFM Net, which enables control and supervision of the entire system.

Hub Center allows all energy data to be stored homogeneously, represented accurately, and charted in set time periods, thus obtaining the timely analysis of consumption and proposing, thanks to the coding of process modelling, efficient implementation schemes for energy optimization. It is therefore possible to predict what the consumption generated by the process may be as early as at the planning stage.

What problems it solves
The stages of the die-casting process are characterized by heavy consumption of electricity for the operation of presses and induction furnaces, in addition to the consumption of methane gas by the melting furnaces and, in some cases, also the holding furnaces.

To give an idea, IMP had an average annual consumption of more than 1,330,000 Kwh of electricity with costs around 200,000 euros and spent as much on more than 640,000 cubic meters of methane gas. In addition to this, it was using about 1,000 tons of aluminium alloy, with operations carried out on 2 eight-hour shifts, in an industrial complex of about 4,500 square meters covered.

With the activation of the Energy AWARENESS project, it was possible to verify the effectiveness of transmission on the various channels, begin to populate the database with actual data collected in the field, and set up the analysis to verify possible areas of intervention in production planning processes for the goal of energy savings and efficiency.

Awareness of power usage, associated with the various stages of the production process, immediately led to significant savings on the purchase of energy used in production: -12%, in addition to the benefits of more reasoned management of plant maintenance and restart events.

The possibility of having the level of efficiency of the plant under control in real time, having an intelligent system to help management plan production, represents an important opportunity for the entire metallurgical supply chain and, more generally, for all industrial fields, today more than ever.

Thanks to Energy AWARENESS, the operator can choose the most suitable settings to minimize energy usage, acting on the degrees of freedom of the production system while maintaining product quality.