Demand response dispatches are almost invisible to Hexagon Metrology—sensitive manufacturing continues ahead uninterrupted
Hexagon Metrology, Inc. is the North American-based manufacturing, sales, service, and distribution arm of The Hexagon Metrology Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of precision coordinate measuring systems. Hexagon Metrology focuses on manufacturing, sales, service, and distribution of micro precision measuring products under the Brown & Sharpe and TESA brand names. Its 112,000 square-foot facility in North Kingstown, Rhode Island includes high-technology manufacturing and assembly as well as office and warehouse space—where more than 250 employees work around-the-clock.
As a precision manufacturer with worldwide reach and a reputation for quality, Hexagon Metrology is focused on maximizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness, while acting as a leader within its community. It has received a number of major quality, workplace, and environmental certifications, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 18001. In 2008, it began exploring the potential of EnerNOC demand response (DR) to reduce energy consumption to augment its existing environmental and community leadership efforts.
Hexagon Metrology combines lighting and HVAC reductions and backup generation to reduce energy consumption by 120 kW during potential grid emergencies. The company receives annual payments of approximately $15,000 for its participation in DR—funds that are used to pay for new projects that further reduce energy use.
North Kingston, RI
ISO New England Demand Response
| DR Strategy:
Curtailment and backup generation
| Primary Curtailment Strategy:
HVAC adjustments, lighting reductions
| Annual Payments:
Hexagon Metrology’s customers—major U.S. automobile aircraft and defense manufacturers, as well as other high-technology firms—rely on the company’s machines to provide exceptionally precise measurements. Therefore, the company cannot do anything that might jeopardize the quality of its manufacturing processes; however, company leaders are also committed to reducing Hexagon Metrology’s impact on the environment. Any adjustment its existing processes must meet the dual needs of high product quality and low environmental impact.
“Before we began talking to EnerNOC about demand response, we were already actively working to reduce our carbon footprint and be as environmentally friendly as possible,” recalls John Mycroft, facilities, environmental, health and safety manager. “We were very involved in meeting and exceeding standards and staying at the forefront of innovation and efficiency.”
In 2006, Hexagon Metrology moved to its current facility in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a 112,000 square foot, custom-designed industrial space. This move saved the company more than $500,000 in annual energy-related costs. Once its facilities personnel were settled into the new space, the company began looking for other opportunities to reduce energy use and save money. “Even after our move to a new facility, our electrical bill was still more than $375,000 a year,” says Mycroft. “So we were very open to EnerNOC’s demand response story. Everyone here, from the manufacturing staff to our executives, was behind the idea of reducing energy, getting paid for it, enhancing the environment, and protecting our community. It seemed like an obvious win-win for us.”
Hexagon Metrology needed to protect a key area of its manufacturing facility, a 10,000 square foot temperature-controlled calibration room where its highly accurate measurement devices are calibrated under exact temperatures and conditions. The temperature in this area is held to a tolerance of +/- one-half degree Celsius. No environmental program—no matter how attractive—could jeopardize the precision control over this room. “It’s the backbone of our business,” says Mycroft. “Our customers expect us to calibrate our machines under precise tolerances. And we’re committed to ensuring maximum quality and precision.”
Hexagon Metrology receives email and phone notification of impending DR dispatches and tests from EnerNOC. Once the notification is accepted, EnerNOC automatically makes adjustments via the company’s building management system (BMS).
During a dispatch or test procedure:
This strategy creates more than 120 kW of energy reduction—50% from the heating and lighting adjustments and 50% from the use of backup generation.
“Most of our employees don’t even see the changes, they’re almost invisible,” says Mycroft. “The transfer to backup generation is seamless, and the lighting changes are virtually unnoticeable.”
At the end of a dispatch, EnerNOC returns the BMS settings to their previous levels, switches the backup generation off, and operations go back to normal—all without much effort by Hexagon Metrology staff. “During a dispatch, we have very little to do with the DR process,” says Mycroft. “Ninety-nine percent of the process is automated, which makes it incredibly easy for us to participate.”
For its participation in the emergency DR program, Hexagon Metrology receives approximately $15,000 a year in payments from EnerNOC. “In addition to these payments, we also use EnerNOC’s free DemandSMART® energy monitoring to help reduce our energy use by another $100,000 a year,” says Mycroft. “By being more aware of our energy use, we can make better-informed decisions about our facilities’ energy use, which leads to energy reductions and money savings.”
EnerNOC DR enables Hexagon Metrology to ensure the integrity of its temperature-controlled calibration room and the quality of its products. This part of the company’s facilities is protected from any changes, since it moves seamlessly to backup generation. Other areas, which are not as critical, can accommodate lighting and HVAC adjustments. With EnerNOC DR, Hexagon Metrology gets the flexibility to control what areas of its company are affected.
Other key benefits that EnerNOC DR brings to Hexagon Metrology include:
EnerNOC’s ability to automate Hexagon’s participation in DR takes much of the manual work out of demand response. “Within a few minutes, EnerNOC makes the changes,” says Mycroft. “We just continue working.” This automated adjustment enables Hexagon Metrology to continue ahead with manufacturing, while leaving the DR details to EnerNOC. After an event, EnerNOC returns Hexagon Metrology’s facilities to their normal settings.
With EnerNOC controlling all adjustments during DR events, Hexagon Metrology can be confident that its sensitive facilities, such as the calibration area, will continue without any variations in temperature. EnerNOC carefully monitors the Hexagon Metrology facilities to ensure that all DR events run smoothly.
Hexagon Metrology receives free access to energy monitoring features through DemandSMART, EnerNOC’s comprehensive DR application. These tools help the company keep a close eye on its energy use on an ongoing basis. “In the past we used to just get a monthly bill. Now we can monitor usage in near real-time, making changes and tweaking our energy use to raise energy efficiency.” In all, Hexagon Metrology estimates that it has saved more than $100,000 annually by making adjustments to its facilities—all aided and informed by EnerNOC software.
“EnerNOC demand response is good business for us, and good for our community,” says Mycroft. “It helps protect everyone from brownouts and blackouts. It’s easy to do. And we get paid for it. It’s a simple way to be a good citizen of our community, and we’re very proud to be a part of it.” Mycroft is spreading the word about DR through his local Chamber of Commerce, inspiring manufacturers of all sizes to make DR part of their company’s energy plans.
Hexagon Metrology continues to look for new ways to boost its energy reductions during DR events. It is pursuing a wide range of other energy-related projects, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Looking beyond Rhode Island, the company hopes to enroll its other facilities around the country in EnerNOC DR programs. “Every manufacturer should be a part of demand response,” concludes Mycroft. “Now that companies have such a strong interest in ‘going green’ it really makes sense—economically and environmentally.”