Managing energy is an increasingly complex challenge for manufacturers. Energy prices continue to rise, making up an increasingly large percentage of total overheads for many manufacturers. At the same time, pressure is growing from legislation, supply chain partners and customers to demonstrate substantial, quantifiable progress towards net zero. For many, failing to act isn’t an option in the face of steadily increases to both costs and the risk of power issues disrupting productivity. However, finding the solutions that balances sustainability, resilience and cost effectiveness is difficult.
Powerstar have produced a white paper that outlines the implications that Industry 4.0 and the shift towards net zero will have on manufacturers and their power resilience. With 20 years’ experience supporting manufacturers in protecting their sites and productivity from the risk of power disruption, Powerstar lay out why resilience is now more important than ever, as well as the options available to improve it.
What can you expect from the white paper?
The shift to Industry 4.0 presents a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers to increase productivity and build more connected processes and supply chains. Properly implemented, it can offer reductions in downtime, improvements in quality and production, better asset utilisation and huge increases in overall productivity. However, the increasingly interconnected nature of Industry 4.0 makes manufacturing sites even more dependent on a stable and interrupted power supply.
At the same time, the UK’s drive towards a 2050 net zero deadline that is rapidly approaching presents additional power resilience challenges. As the UK transitions towards a generation mix largely supported by renewable generation, we face an energy system that while clean, is inherently inflexible. While fossil fuel generation can easily be turned up or down, renewable generation is inherently linked to weather conditions we can’t control. This means National Grid face an increasingly difficult task balancing changing generation and demand.
As the grid transitions towards clean energy, there is a growing expectation, as well as financial incentives in the form of Climate Change Agreements, for energy-intensive sectors such as manufacturing to follow. On-site generation and a switch to electric vehicle fleets both offer long-term cost savings and significant sustainability improvements, but both bring their own infrastructure and resilience challenges.
Many manufacturers have already implemented Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) backup to protect critical equipment in the case of a power disruption. However, as Industry 4.0 makes sites more interconnected and makes more equipment and infrastructure critical to a site operating properly, a site-wide solution is needed. With the pressure growing on manufacturers to reduce emissions, a UPS that actively adds to your consumption and net emissions, while only protecting specific critical equipment, may no longer be able to deliver the power management goals you need.
Instead, a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) offers the same instantaneous emergency power across your entire site, while also offering a host of additional functionality that can support your sustainability and cost reduction goals. Powerstar’s white paper outlines how a BESS can help to maximise your on-site generation, lower costs from grid, greater efficiency and allow you to unlock major new infrastructure projects such as rapid EV charging.
Many manufacturers are also vulnerable to minor power disruptions, such as sudden dips or spikes in voltage. These not only add to overall energy consumption and costs, which continue to soar at a record pace, but can also damage or disrupt sensitive equipment. Machine downtime already costs the UK manufacturing industry over £180 billion every year, and relatively minor power disruption can have a profound impact on productivity and profitability. Voltage regulation technology can be used to condition voltage behind the meter, ensuring that your equipment is supplied with a steady supply of power at the correct voltage for maximum efficiency and lifespan. This conditioning also typically reduces the total consumption by lowering voltages, reducing energy costs as well as contributing to sustainability.
Download the white paper for free
To access and download the white paper for yourself, please complete the short form below. If you wish to learn more about Powerstar can help your business, speak to one of our experienced team members here.
27 September 2021