Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How can standards help reduce your energy costs?

Author: Victor Lough, Product Manager, Asset Management

In my February 25th blog posting, Avantis discussed the emerging ISO 55000 standard and how this would drive change in the way of doing business. We did suggest that adaption would be the preferred policy with a view that this would drive bottom line performance, in line with previous quality initiatives.

My attention was therefore drawn to a recent blog on behalf of Frost & Sullivan, London – 6 March, 2014: Water and Wastewater Industry’s drive to optimise energy usage and reduce costs sustains European Smart Pumps Market (http://www.industrialautomation.frost.com). It pointed to a Euro 2020 directive for a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, which would point to external stakeholders driving change.

It would seem obvious that a Smart Pump, with reported improved energy efficiency and lower total cost of ownership, would be universally welcomed even with the higher upfront costs over a traditional design. However, resistance has been met from municipal maintenance personnel in the water and wastewater treatment sector. There is a belief that with the increased complexity of installation, operation and maintenance, there is an increased perception that the risk of unplanned stoppage to water supply would increase. This legitimate concern is indeed backed by the ISO55000 reminder that values can change and that there is a need to consider the management of risk, liabilities and opportunities throughout the asset lifecycle. The use of a “silver bullet” solution to the energy problem is not necessarily the only answer.

The blog reminded me of a conversation I had with a maintenance leader from a municipal water and wastewater facility at the Avantis Users Conference 2013. Over coffee we discussed some of the ways that you can at least achieve design life. He said, “One of the first things we did when I started was to ensure that every pump that left the shop was aligned to a standard better than the manufacturer’s recommendation. At first people questioned why our turnaround time was a little bit longer than the organisations norm. Over time our pumps now have an energy reduction of $4000/year and the MTBF beats the design specification by at least three (3) years. Our standard is now being rolled out.”

The conversation precisely shows that an asset is something that has the potential to add value to an organisation and additionally, that maintenance management is the management activity that derives that value from the asset.

Reducing your energy usage can simply be a natural extension of diligent adherence to maintenance best practices.

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