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The Energy Savings of Smart Manufacturing

Research Report IE1403


Ethan A. Rogers


Smart manufacturing is the use of information and communications technology to integrate all aspects of manufacturing, from the device level to the supply chain level, for the purpose of achieving superior control and productivity. A more efficient manufacturing processes is a more energy-efficient manufacturing process and that is the focus of this research report.

This report describes the many components of smart manufacturing and explains how through the use of networked devices in combination with predictive and anticipatory software systems, it can yield energy savings not attainable in the past. The narrative starts with smart devices and builds to an integrated, cloud-based, open-access smart manufacturing platform that incorporates real-time parallel production simulations to identify optimal operating conditions for an entire process.

These platforms will also be able to calculate net energy savings from new energy measures by comparing current energy consumption to a pre-implementation baseline calibrated to current operating conditions. Such an ability to automatically and continuously determine a net energy savings could be used to provide energy efficiency program administrators and financial investors the information they need to finance investments in industrial energy efficiency.

The report then examines the communication, interoperability, security and workforce challenges inhibiting faster adoption of smart manufacturing technologies. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of the future of smart manufacturing to transform the industrial sector, recommendations for overcoming existing barriers, and a call for engagement by stakeholders in all sectors to participate in the many collaborative efforts to create common standards and protocols.