Energy Management in Plastics Processing - a measurement framework

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Abstract

Energy management is a task of growing importance to plastics processors but there is no established structure for measurement, assessment and prediction. Many companies are trying to measure the wrong things in the wrong ways. They then wonder why they get the wrong answers!

This paper describes and illustrates a framework for measurement, assessment and prediction that can be used for most plastics processing companies. It looks at both internal and external benchmarking, at site level and at machine level and how this information can provide real insights into how the site and the process are performing. More importantly, the paper looks at how this information can be used to improve both operations and performance.

Introduction

The concept of energy management is relatively new to the plastics processing industry but is now being strongly driven by the recent rises in energy costs and the rising insecurity of supplies for the future. 10 years ago, energy management was a ‘minority sport’ and it was difficult attracting the interest of industry in energy management. This is no longer the case and for most companies energy management is now a real business issue. Energy costs generally represent the third largest variable cost (after materials and direct labour) and in some companies is even the second largest variable cost.

This is not a ‘green’ issue, it is not a ‘carbon management’ issue, it is a real business issue and in many cases is a survival issue. Getting the measurements wrong can be fatal to the company.

Despite this, there is no established or recognised structure for measurement, assessment and prediction and many companies are trying to measure the wrong things in the wrong ways. They then wonder why they get the wrong answers!

This paper describes and illustrates a framework for measurement, assessment and prediction that can be used for most plastics processing companies. It looks at both internal and external benchmarking, at site level and at machine level and how this information can provide real insight into how the site and the process are performing. More importantly, it looks at how this information can be used to improve both operations and performance.

The framework is shown below:

 

  

 

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Last edited: 11/03/10

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