Effective energy management in the food and beverage industry is not just a preference, but a business necessity. With increased competitive pressures, tighter margins and rising energy prices, food and beverage plants are being forced to change their historical approach of treating energy usage as an unmanaged trade expense.
Not to mention, with the need for consistent heating and refrigeration, the food and beverage industry is a massive energy hog. Refrigeration alone is an energy-intensive process that accounts for 15 percent of worldwide electricity production. To reduce energy waste and maximize energy management, food and beverage companies are searching for new technologies to capture key energy and production data.
Here are three ways food and beverage companies can improve energy management, from data collection to automated technology.
Link Production Data with Energy Data
When monitored and managed properly, data provides visibility into how food and beverage companies consume energy as well as the impact to their operation. The quickest path to greater profits in the food and beverage industry lies in leveraging real-time energy data to identify energy inefficiencies and waste.
At the heart of an efficient program may be a network of digital power-monitoring devices that capture and communicate energy-consumption data. These devices can be used to measure energy parameters related to observation systems, which may include power, gas, water and wastewater. With this data, plant managers will gather information on power consumption in several areas of their plants.
While traditional energy management methods can track basic observation systems, without connecting those findings to production processes and data, real-time adjustments cannot be uncovered or matched to a facility. To effectively drive energy efficiency, decisions need to be made immediately with real-time data.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
The cold supply chain industry is beginning to recognize its impact on carbon emissions, with many companies already stepping-up to enact real change. Pressure across key supply chain stakeholders is also driving the need to create energy efficiencies and reduce emissions. Improving energy efficiency is the most direct way to reduce a food plant’s carbon footprint.
Financial savings combined with increased sustainability goals are driving both small and large industry players to reduce their energy usage. Engie Impact, a sustainability consulting firm, found that 75 percent of global executives believe that excellent sustainability execution provides a competitive advantage.
Multinational food and beverage companies such as Danone, General Mills, Nestlé and PepsiCo have emerged as sustainability leaders, leveraging energy efficiency and resilient value chains as drivers for increased revenue, decreased costs and improved operations.
Choose Automated Technology
While data and software are the keys to success, few industrial food and beverage companies are equipped with the right tools and expertise to tackle energy efficiency at scale. For starters, many industrial cold supply chain facilities run on legacy, paper-and-pencil systems that were never designed to connect to the cloud.
Automated energy management software can act as a centralized database for all accessible energy points within a facility or across multiple facilities. The software can help plant workers see problems that might exist and lead them to the proper corrective actions.
This same software also allows food and beverage manufacturers to model their energy profiles by measuring peak demands, determining demand patterns, matching energy consumption to weather patterns, aggregating loads and calculating energy costs.
With these three methods, smart energy management in the food and beverage industry can become feasible.