Energy efficiency: Yet another major challenge for Industry 4.0
At this stage, as global leaders in FRP Pressure Vessels for water purification and Reverse Osmosis desalination processes, at Protec Arisawa we are well aware that Industry 4.0 is called to swivel the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes new methods for optimizing global energy efficiency.
Energy transition, process monitoring and new technologies are some of the key elements for the reconversion of any industrial activity into a 4.0-industry: An immediate necessity and a challenge to ensure that our global productive system can follow the path marked by the progression of technology and innovation, regardless of sector and activity.
The importance of Industry 4.0 lies in the model towards which companies are evolving: More sustainable and increasingly respectful with the environment. This is why priority is given to aspects such as energy saving and the use of renewable energy sources.
At the outset, the factors that make up an industry 4.0 are numerous and cannot be named one by one but, in an increasing number of industrial and commercial sectors, there is one word that prevails: Connectivity.
Energy efficiency is an inherent component of Industry 4.0
Among the huge variety of tools and innovations to which we have access, the extensive connectivity between humans and systems, the generation of huge databases (Big Data), cloud computing or process simulation stand out for their importance in new industrial processes. In this sense, the evolution that connected industries will enable has a very solid foundation in process optimization. However, this cannot occur without considering the monitoring of energy consumption and the implementation of sustainable systems and processes.
Where to start? Let’s take air conditioning as an example, and observe the case of any industry that requires a type of refrigeration system at some point in its production or commercial process. The global demand for electric energy grows every year. The demand for industrial and commercial refrigeration makes an important contribution to this increase, since large-scale air-conditioning systems are some of the main culprits for this rising consumption.
It is all about data
How computing technology and large-scale data processing can help to reduce productive and energetic costs? In all industrial activities requiring any kind of cooling treatment, once the refrigeration plants have been digitalised, their main utility stems from the real-time control of the installations, which facilitates better maintenance and allows achieving optimum levels of energy efficiency.
Cooling processes are essential in many industrial sectors, and at all levels: From the extraction of certain materials, to the manufacture of products, the distribution of food or the preservation of living beings. However, such cooling processes require electrical energy. In this sense, maintaining the correct temperature of fluids, materials or rooms within industrial plants –where the processes of handling and manufacturing of finished products are long and complex– is an operation that requires complicated systems and strict cooling and/or heating protocols.
In other words, at Protec we understand this efficiency transition as a way to offer intelligent solutions that can reduce the demand for energy and resources in our field, not only with the aim of reducing costs, but also by contributing to more sustainable ways of developing industry.
The energy transition is one of the strategic dimensions of any industry, and it must be tackled in an integral way: for this reason, at Protec we consider that the achievement of maximum energetic efficiency can only be reached through innovation, changing the way we understand all phases in the energy cycle, using new technologies and involving all the players in it. Industry 4.0 is already a milestone to energy efficiency that represents a qualitative leap in the industrial field, not forgetting its environmental and therefore social benefits.