Location: South Bend, Indiana
Annual Energy Spend: $1M a year across electricity and gas
- Visibility into real-time energy data and operations inefficiencies
- Ability to fund energy intelligence software through demand response payments
- Total energy savings of $25,000–$50,000 per year + annual DR payments
- 2.5–5.0% energy savings a year with demand management
Suzuki Garphyttan is a global, leading supplier of spring wire products with plants in Europe, China, and the United States. The US plant, located in South Bend, Indiana has utilized EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software (EIS) since July 2014 to gain visibility into its real-time energy data. The plant produces 12,000 metric tons of valve quality wire per year and spends $1M annually on energy.
Like many manufacturing organizations, Suzuki Garphyttan’s facilities and operations team had little visibility into the company’s energy data and treated energy as a fixed cost prior to working with EnerNOC, thinking there wasn’t much they could do to control it. The team set out on a hunt for a solution to make decisions on energy usage based on cost—instead of looking at utility bills every month and seeing charges for the first time or at higher-than-anticipated amounts. With the long list of competing priorities Suzuki’s facilities and operations team faces, the team also needed a solution that wouldn’t require an incremental time commitment. Because producing the highest quality wire is Suzuki Garphyttan’s number one priority, there could be no compromises in product quality to make gains on the energy management front.
In July 2014, Suzuki Garphyttan deployed EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software (EIS) in order to gain more granular visibility into its energy data and usage as well as better understand what was driving its energy spend. The company also enrolled its South Bend plant in demand response (DR), giving the operations team access to streaming real-time data and payments that fully fund their software investment. In addition, Suzuki also saw the benefit of enlisting one of EnerNOC’s energy advisors to ensure the company was getting the maximum value possible without dedicating additional resources to its energy management program.
The EnerNOC energy advisor works closely with the Suzuki team, digging through the South Bend plant’s data frequently in order to find anomalies and ensure the team is effectively maximizing their operations.
The Importance of Real-Time Alerts
Steve Dill, Suzuki Garphyttan’s Maintenance Supervisor, uses EnerNOC’s real-time alerting capabilities in order to determine when the plant sets peaks. Dill has several alerts set for his plant at different thresholds, letting him know how his plant is performing in real time. When Dill gets an alert, he backtracks with the operators in order to determine what happened at the plant to set the peak. For example, the alerting capability helped him determine that when the plant starts manufacturing wire, it is most likely to set peaks. “The alerts let me know what’s going on and helped me find that problem,” Dill says.
Because Suzuki Garphyttan’s furnaces run on electric heat, there is a big heat demand when the facility starts manufacturing wire. Dill realized that there was a major spike occurring when many wires are started at the same time, but when he started only a few wires at a time, the spike disappeared. Dill was surprised that the furnaces were causing his spikes much more frequently than other high-energy-use equipment at other manufacturing facilities. “We were able to find the big [energy] users. We were surprised—big users at another company like chillers, air compressors, or dyers, were so small here you couldn’t even notice them.” Through demand management, Dill can get a much better handle on one of his major drivers of energy costs—when he uses energy. “When you control when you’re using your energy, that’s when you get rid of your peaks.” Dill also proactively changes the alerting thresholds to ensure Suzuki continues to drive improvement and avoid excess cost.
Real-time alerts are sent via text message to Dill and notes are added to the application to track these events for future reference.
Expertise from a Dedicated Energy Advisor
When the Suzuki team decided to invest in EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software, they knew they didn’t have the resources to dedicate a full-time employee to energy management. In order to maximize the value of their software investment, they realized they needed a dedicated energy expert from the EnerNOC team who not only knew the software inside and out, but also could become an extension of their team. The EnerNOC energy advisor works directly with Suzuki’s team through bi-weekly calls, providing customized application training as well as timely insights after mining through Suzuki’s energy data.
One discovery the EnerNOC advisor found has resulted in thousands of dollars in savings for the company. Suzuki’s electricity bill is made up of consumption charges (kWh) and demand charges (kVA). By analyzing Suzuki’s tariff, the EnerNOC advisor discovered an opportunity to save on the company’s demand charges, which are based on Suzuki’s peak. Although Suzuki’s electricity bill says it is charged $7 per kVa, the EnerNOC energy advisor realized because of the complex interaction of its demand and consumption charges, the company was actually spending $20 per kVa. By using EIS and visibility into the plant’s real-time data, the advisor realized if Suzuki increased its load factor from 0.75 to 0.82, it could save between $2,000 and $4,000 a month, resulting in potentially $50,000 a year.
Validating Electricity Bills
The Suzuki team also relies on EnerNOC’s utility bill management (UBM) software to confirm their utility bills are correct. The software automatically spots bill errors and mitigates overcharges, ensuring Suzuki is charged accurately.
Policy Development and Enforcement
Once Dill figured out that the start-up procedure for the wire manufacturing process can set spikes, he realized he needed to set policies with his maintenance and operations staff about how many wires could be started at once. With access to his real-time energy data in EnerNOC’s software platform, Dill is now able to verify and make sure his policies are working. If the policy is broken, he can easily determine the cause and how much that cost his operation. Dill will then follow up with his team and reinforce the policies he has set in place for the plant.
Offsetting Software Costs with Demand Response
Suzuki Garphyttan is able to fully pay for its software investment through demand response (DR) payments. The South Bend plant has continuous operations, but the team found that it is more beneficial to shut down their operations for a few times a year and get the DR payments than it is to produce their product at all times. When a DR dispatch is called, the South Bend plant shuts down compressors and curtails some of its furnaces. These DR payments not only provide Suzuki with an additional revenue stream, but also allow the company to have access to energy intelligence software with zero out-of-pocket expenses.
The Suzuki team knows how important an effective energy management strategy is to the company’s bottom line. The team plans to continue using EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software to successfully manage their peak demand and in the future aims to use the software to better inform their budgets and accruals and for long-term energy planning.