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 steady increases to both costs and the risk of power issues disrupting productivity. However, finding the solutions that balance sustainability, resilience and cost effectiveness is difficult.
Sheffield-based power solutions manufacturer, Powerstar, has published a new 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 lays out why resilience is now more important than ever, as well as the options available to improve it.
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 that can’t be controlled. 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 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 the grid, and gain greater efficiency, whilst allowing you to unlock major new infrastructure projects such as rapid EV charging.
To get to grips with the energy management needs that will ensure your business can secure the many benefits of Industry 4.0 without compromising your power resilience or risking disruption, download the white paper from Powerstar here.
About the author
Powerstar is a market-leading smart energy solution provider, designing, manufacturing, and delivering advanced engineering solutions for specialist applications. The company’s vision focuses on helping clients solve unique energy problems affecting their business, and Powerstar’s expertise enables a fully bespoke solution to be delivered to meet the client’s goals.