Growth results in increased energy costs.
After a period of growth and the resulting expansion in production capacity, Flakeboard was also faced with rising energy costs. These increased costs were a driving factor to better understand the breakdown of the energy usage from each of its mill’s lines and to determine an accurate cost per unit.
As part of an initial Energy Management Information System (EMIS) Pilot Program, Flakeboard partnered with Efficiency New Brunswick to help determine the best system and process in which to implement an EMIS. They chose Flakeboard’s plant in New Brunswick, Canada for their study due to its growth pattern.
Our mill is composed of many sub mills. Many of the energy services overlapped and it was difficult to attribute the costs for energy with our different mills. Flakeboard is focusing on saving energy and producing as much product as we can with the least amount of energy.
EMIS audit reveals a need for software implementation.
In September 2008, Flakeboard began the process of engaging the independent consulting firm Enviros to conduct an EMIS audit. The objective of the audit was to fully understand the savings that could be realized through implementing an EMIS, as well as the potential costs associated with this initiative to help determine ROI.
The audit revealed that a budget of $270,000 was needed to realize a $1,000,000+ savings over a three year period. The budget would be allocated towards software implementation, purchasing meters, and training.
Flakeboard's phased implementation plan:
Establish baseline data
- Determine required meter types
- Develop software specifications
- Create employee training plans & targets
- Identify an implementation timeline
The mill’s two main electrical transformers were sub-metered by 40 power quality meters. In addition, several oil, gas, water, and compressed air meters were added in combination with production rates, temperatures, and other factors used to determine the overall performance of each Energy Account Center (EAC).
RtEMIS was selected to tie the entire system together. The software divides the company into corporate, site, department, and EAC so that it can illustrate detailed energy targets for each EAC and identify savings and losses in both dollars and energy. With RtEMIS, each user is able to get real-time energy consumption data, relative achievement of targets, and the costs or savings that have been realized. The data is pulled from each station via PLC or HMI and brought together into one interface, which can be accessed from any site via RtEMIS’ web client.
Energy: from a given expense to a controllable item.
Flakeboard's implementation of RtEMIS has helped the New Brunswick mill to reduce its energy consumption by 6.6%, resulting in the savings of $953,279 within 3 years. Flakeboard has reduced its monthly demand by 1.2 MW from the baseline established in 2009. In addition, Flakeboard has seen a paradigm shift among the employees that have been trained within the new EMIS. “We’re using a personal approach to train our employees,” says Burke. “Many of the things they do to reduce energy costs at the mill they can do at home. If they can relate it to their home energy usage, they’ll naturally bring that mindset to work.”
The end result so far has been that energy is now being actively managed by everyone at all levels in the organization. “In the past energy was always seen as a given expense and not a controllable item,” he says. “Not anymore!”
In the past, energy was seen as a given expense and not a controllable item. Not anymore!