As a manufacturing business, it’s important to be mindful of the amount of energy used by your appliances. Energy use is a major expense for most businesses, and electricity bills can quickly add up if you’re not careful. Therefore, it’s essential to identify the most electricity-consuming appliances in your business so you can make informed decisions about your energy usage and save on your energy bills.
What appliances does your manufacturing business use?
The amount of energy consumed by appliances depends on several factors, including the size and type of appliance, how often it’s used, and the efficiency of the appliance. Key appliances to consider when it comes to a manufacturing business’ energy consumption include refrigeration units, heating and air conditioning systems, ovens, lighting, and PCs.
- Refrigeration units:
Manufacturing businesses use a variety of refrigeration systems to keep their products fresh and safe. The type of refrigeration system used will depend on the specific needs of the business and the products it produces. Some of the most common refrigeration systems used in manufacturing include:
- Walk-in coolers and freezers – These are large refrigerated spaces that can be customized to the size and shape needed by the business. They are commonly used to store food and other perishable products.
- Display refrigerators and freezers – These are refrigerated units that are used in retail settings to display products such as food and beverages.
- Blast freezers and chillers – These units rapidly cool or freeze products to help preserve their quality and freshness. They are commonly used in food manufacturing to quickly freeze or chill products such as meat and fish.
- Refrigerated trucks and trailers – These are vehicles that are used to transport refrigerated products from one location to another.
It is estimated that refrigeration accounts for about 30% to 50% of the energy used by a typical UK food manufacturing plant.
According to a study conducted by the Carbon Trust, refrigeration units in food manufacturing facilities in the UK can use up to 60% of the total electricity consumption of the plant. This is particularly true for businesses that require low-temperature refrigeration for their products, such as those in the frozen food sector.
The Carbon Trust study found that energy-efficient refrigeration technologies such as variable speed drives, heat recovery systems, and high-efficiency compressors can significantly reduce energy consumption in refrigeration units. Implementing these technologies can lead to energy savings of up to 30%.
These are used to bake, roast, or dry raw materials or finished products.
Some common types of ovens used in manufacturing include:
- Convection ovens: These ovens use fans to circulate hot air, which allows for even heating and faster cooking times. They are commonly used for baking, drying, and curing.
- Conveyor ovens: These ovens have a conveyor belt that moves products through the oven, allowing for continuous processing. They are often used for large-scale baking, drying, and curing operations.
- Infrared ovens: These ovens use infrared radiation to heat products, which can be more energy-efficient and faster than other heating methods. They are commonly used for heating, drying, and curing applications.
- Vacuum ovens: These ovens use a vacuum to remove air and moisture from the oven, which can be useful for drying and curing products that are sensitive to moisture.
- Batch ovens: These ovens are designed for batch processing of products, where a set amount of products are loaded into the oven at once and then processed. They are often used for baking, curing, and drying.
- Heating and air conditioning systems:
These systems help to maintain a comfortable and safe working environment for employees, as well as protecting machinery and equipment from damage due to extreme temperatures or humidity levels.
In addition to providing a comfortable and safe working environment, HVAC systems can also help to improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing processes. For example, some processes require precise temperature and humidity control to ensure consistent product quality, and HVAC systems can help to achieve and maintain these conditions.
- Lighting: Lighting is crucial for any manufacturing business, as it plays a significant role in ensuring worker safety, quality control, and productivity. First and foremost, proper lighting is essential for maintaining a safe work environment. Poor lighting can lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities, making it critical for workers to be able to see potential hazards and avoid them. Secondly, good lighting is necessary for quality control in manufacturing. If products are not well-lit during production, it can lead to defects that may go unnoticed until later in the manufacturing process or after the product is shipped to the customer. Finally, adequate lighting can improve productivity by helping workers see what they are doing and reducing the likelihood of errors or mistakes. For these reasons, it is important for manufacturing businesses to invest in high-quality lighting solutions to ensure their operations run smoothly and efficiently.
- Manufacturing equipment: This includes machinery and equipment specific to the manufacturing process, such as assembly lines, conveyor belts, drills, lathes, and welding equipment.
Manufacturing businesses use a wide range of equipment to produce goods efficiently and cost-effectively. The specific types of equipment used can vary depending on the type of manufacturing process and the products being produced. However, here are some common types of equipment that many manufacturing businesses use:
- CNC machines: Computer numerical control (CNC) machines use computer programming to control the movement of tools and machinery. These machines can be used for cutting, drilling, milling, and other manufacturing processes.
- Conveyors: Conveyors are used to move materials and products around a manufacturing facility. They can be used to transport raw materials to the production line, move finished products to storage or shipping areas, and more.
- Robotics: Industrial robots can perform a wide range of manufacturing tasks, from assembly to painting to packaging. They are often used in high-volume production environments to improve efficiency and reduce labor costs.
- 3D printers: Additive manufacturing or 3D printing uses a digital model to create a physical object layer by layer. These machines are used to create prototypes, tooling, and even final products.
- Assembly equipment: This includes a wide range of equipment such as presses, drills, and screwdrivers used to put together the components of a product.
- Testing equipment: This equipment is used to test the quality and functionality of products before they are shipped to customers. It includes tools such as gauges, meters, and test chambers.
- Ventilation systems: These are used to regulate airflow and remove harmful fumes or dust from the manufacturing process.
- Alarm systems: These are used for safety and security purposes, such as fire alarms or burglar alarms.
- Sensors: These are used to monitor various aspects of the manufacturing process, such as temperature, humidity, or pressure.
How much energy do manufacturing business appliances consume annually?
Manufacturing businesses are by far the most energy consuming businesses in the UK.
In 2019, manufacturing businesses accounted for 16% of total energy consumption.
Within the manufacturing industry, chemical manufacturing and industrial services each consumed 16% of the total, while food, drink, and tobacco manufacturing accounted for 13%, mineral products manufacturing for 12%, and paper, printing, and publishing for 8%.
Mechanical engineering, iron, steel, and metal manufacturing, and other industries each accounted for 7%, while vehicle manufacturing consumed 5%, and electrical engineering consumed 4%. Civil engineering and construction and textiles and leather manufacturing had the lowest consumption, each accounting for 3% and 2%, respectively. In terms of fuel mix, manufacturing businesses relied on natural gas the most, accounting for 39% of fuel consumption, followed by electricity at 35%, and other fuels at 26%.
How can I save energy?
There are several ways in which a manufacturing business can save energy and reduce their energy costs:
- Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment: Upgrading to energy-efficient equipment can significantly reduce energy consumption. For example, replacing old machinery with new, energy-efficient models can result in substantial energy savings.
- Optimize HVAC systems: HVAC systems can be a significant source of energy consumption in manufacturing facilities. Optimizing HVAC systems through regular maintenance, upgrades, and retrofits can help to reduce energy consumption.
- Improve lighting: Lighting is another area where energy can be saved. Replacing traditional lighting with LED lighting can result in significant energy savings.
- Implement energy management systems: Implementing energy management systems can help to monitor energy consumption and identify areas where energy can be saved. These systems can also help to optimize energy use and reduce energy costs.
- Implement energy-saving practices: Encouraging energy-saving practices among employees can also help to reduce energy consumption. For example, turning off equipment when not in use, using natural light instead of artificial lighting, and reducing unnecessary heating and cooling can all help to save energy.