Smart Manufacturing

Towards smart manufacturing

In 2005 the primary energy consumption industry in the EU-25 was responsible for amounting to 297 Mtoe (mega tons of oil equivalent). This is a share of about 17-18% of the total amount of energy consumption in these countries. For the year 2020 the same source sees an energy saving potential of 25% with respect to a forecast on the basis of a business as usual model. To realise these potentials a paradigm change is necessary from an economical focus on maximum benefit from minimum capital to a more sustainable focus on maximum added value from minimum of resources.

ICT has a key role in improving energy efficiency in manufacturing and supports optimisation approaches both for product development and production processes. In the development phase the developers get the necessary information to realise a design that is more energy efficient, to evaluate the design solution with this respect and to assess the production process for its energy consumption. This covers for instance the selection of materials: if the designer selects new steel this means an investment of about 18GJ per ton in contrast to 2.5 GJ per ton for recycling material. However, the recycled material may be of lower quality which means that the part needs to be heavier to have the same strength. But higher weight of a part often means higher operating costs, for instance in a car. Therefore a designer always has to consider the whole life cycle of a product. Nevertheless, targets for the production process comprises the integration of processes and process chains, the substitution of production processes by those which are less energy consuming, the increase of process stability in order to prevent failures that cause rework, and the application of ICT driven controls.

Accordingly various ICT-supported measures to increase energy efficiency are needed to bring together the expertise of several research and development fields and focuses on:

As information is essential for the management of energy efficiency, information on energy consumption should be collected and made available. Such an information base is essential to measuring, planning and organisational change across economy. Creating and promoting a public repository of energy efficiency measures and opportunities would help generating the appropriate mindset.

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