Global F&B Plant Launches Remote Monitoring & Energy Savings with EcoPlant


In 2018, the EcoPlant team was approached by a leading food and beverage brand to improve its existing air compressors system.

Relying on traditional industry-standard practices, the Israel-based dairy plant was struggling to manage high energy waste due to leaks and higher than required compressed air pressure levels. As a result, they were unable to reduce costly production downtimes caused by unstable pressure levels. It was also difficult to identify serious and frequent maintenance issues that led to unplanned compressor breakdowns. In addition, the system was running at extremely poor efficiency levels during weekends when the flow levels were very low. Over time, these challenges were causing a significant reduction in compressed air production capacity. Moreover, their manufacturing plant was facing lowered productivity along with increased costs of energy, maintenance, and rental compressors. 

The client’s executive team was looking for more than a simple cost-savings protocol. They wanted a long-term solution that would improve their overall system visibility and monitoring capabilities. Remote monitoring of their compressed air system flow output and energy data would ensure they could closely track their energy use, identify inefficiencies or leakages, and catch any problems before they impact production. 

System visibility and unlimited data-logging is where EcoPlant’s innovative platform truly shines. Our integrated platform captures real-time system indicators and trends, with the data displayed on a user-friendly dashboard showing up-to-the-minute data analytics. At the same time, EcoPlant’s dynamic control engine actively optimizes air compressor operation, lowering energy consumption and maintenance costs. 

Within 12 months, EcoPlant achieved increased visibility and significant savings at the plant. Our proactive energy efficiency engine reduced inefficiencies and increased savings, and our integrated analytics allowed their team to make data-based cost-effective decisions. As a key example, the Ecoplant automatic engine optimized the compressor station operation throughout the weekends, during which the factory has no production. The engine operated smaller compressors instead of larger ones in order to more efficiently supply the residual air required during weekends. This enabled a 30% energy-savings for weekend operation, equivalent to over ~$25,000 in reduced electrical costs annually.

Below, we’ve provided more detailed information on the energy savings and risk reduction achieved at the plant.

  1. Weekend automatic control and energy optimization: The Ecoplant system identified that during weekend operation most of the production systems do not operate, reducing the flow demand considerably. During weekend activity, the required target plant pressure is also lower, presenting an opportunity to lower pressure and save compressor power. Before the Ecoplant dynamic engine started controlling the compressed air system, the leading compressor (Cooper 200) provided the weekend air demand. The Ecoplant system identified that a smaller compressor could more efficiently provide the full air demand. The EcoPlant automatic control engine shut down all compressors, including the Copper 200, and operated the more efficient Kaeser 100. It also changed the target pressure from 103 psi to 95 psi, saving ~4% in compressor energy and reducing pressure-related compressed air flow by &5. In doing so, EcoPlant immediately saved the site 100 kW of power annually, or around $20k in value.
6

Figure 1: Automatic control and optimization during the weekends 


  1. Alert system – preventing unplanned downtimes: The Ecoplant system continuously monitors system parameters; generating automatic system level and compressor level alerts if any value is detected within out-of-bounds range. The system also generates alerts based on compressor internal PLC alarms, since it is continuously communicating with each compressor controller. In this example (Figure 2), the compressor controller system sent a few service alerts on August 30th. 

    The Ecoplant system automatically detected high temperature on September 4th and sent a high temp alert, immediately shutting down the compressor for repair to avoid any damage. This rapid alert gave the plant enough time to operate the backup compressors and to successfully avoid unplanned downtimes. In addition, EcoPlant prevented major damage to the air compressor by avoiding a potentially costly and lengthy outage to a key part of the system.
7

Figure 2: Ecoplant alerting system in action 


Key annual results:

  • Prevented downtimes and capacity reduction: $150,000
  • Predictive maintenance and pre-breakdown alerts: $15,000 
  • Energy savings through dynamic sequencing: ~20%/ $50,000 savings