Improving energy efficiency in manufacturing using peer benchmarking to influence machine design innovation
Energy efficiency in manufacturing is important for overall sustainability of society. This paper combines three observations to improve an overlooked part of the energy efficiency support infrastructure in food and drink manufacturing: innovation capability. First, variations in machine and process design produce significant differences in energy efficiency; second, these differences are not widely known or valued because comparable machine energy data are not gathered for the vast majority of products, so machine and process design is under-used as a route to efficiency improvement; third, peer benchmarking has proved to be an effective tool for stimulating change in other contexts, but has not been used at machine level in manufacturing. This paper describes and makes the case for a self-sustaining system in which machines would be validly compared on energy consumption and peer benchmarking would stimulate innovation in machine and process design for food manufacturing. The system, to be tested in a feasibility study, would benefit both food manufacturers and stakeholders. It would avoid dependence on public funding and enable stakeholders to provide value from the data. The paper contains the academic underpinning for the system and sets out an effective means of using it to achieve practical change.
UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant reference EP/K030957/1.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering