The Climate 4.0 Opportunity in Manufacturing: From Big Data to Good Data

Over the past 10 years we’ve worked with manufacturers in over a dozen countries to improve their productivity. During that time a consistent theme has emerged: sustainability is at odds with manufacturing growth. We believe that is a false choice and, today, we’re offering a new narrative and approach: data-driven manufacturing holistically supports sustainability.

Reasonable minds agree that the climate is changing significantly. The average yearly surface temperature today is approximately 1.42 ºF higher than it was during the 20th century1. We know that temperatures are expected to rise significantly by 2100, on the order of 5.4-9.0 ºF2. Contributing to this, there are three major sectors which comprise over 94% of carbon emissions, including transportation, buildings and industry. Industry is by far the largest with 43.12%; half of which is from manufacturing3.

In popular media and debate, we are consistently presented with the theory that manufacturing and sustainability are at odds; that industry must choose between growth and helping the climate. Consider recent headlines related to automobile manufacturers and efforts to curtail emissions standards “Carmakers among key opponents of climate action…”4 or “Several automakers back Trump in two other California emission suits.”5 Our experience tells us that these claims rely on the false premise that manufacturers must climate or growth. We believe leading manufacturers will be defined by their ability to optimize energy use in support of new levels of sustainability and profitability. And what’s making this possible? A strategic capability rooted in using their data – all of their data – more effectively.

What if lowering CO2 could also make manufacturers money? We think it can.

Manufacturing is the largest source of data in the world – almost two times more than any other sector6. While on the surface this should allow any production use case to be solved, in reality the data is often unusable due to the lack of common data structures, a result of an incredibly fragmented industry. Sight Machine’s Manufacturing Data Platform uses system-wide analysis, real-time data stream processing and insight-to-action expertise to marry any kind of production, quality, and energy data. The result? The ability to understand how energy is used throughout the production process, including its components and sub-components. This capability enables the company to increase yields while maintaining the same aggregate energy use – a lower per unit output of energy. Alternatively, we enable manufacturers to decrease the aggregate amount of overall energy used while maintaining output and quality. 

Let’s take a recent example from a glass manufacturing customer. Flat glass production is largely a commodity industry. At the beginning of the production process huge amounts of silica is pushed into a blast furnace for melting, a step that takes approximately 62 hours and accounts for 80% of the aggregate energy cost for the line. Scrap, or “cullet” as it is known in the industry, makes up a hefty portion of energy cost; imagine being able to lower cullet rates and limit rework. We did it and the results were huge. 

By joining energy and production data, Sight Machine was able to improve the quality of the output and increase yields while lowering the amount per unit energy cost and overall CO2 footprint. Based on the results of the initial implementation, we expect over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 reduction per year once the program is rolled out system wide over the next 18 months; that’s about 8x faster than the directive in the company’s sustainability plan.

Leverage production data to achieve your sustainability goals

When production data is properly managed and analyzed, improving manufacturing efficiency and limiting CO2 are approachable on an enterprise scale. With predictable and sustainable usage of data, outcomes start to look similar to programs in traditional energy management such as lighting control; programs that operate with scale financial leverage to help companies lower capital expense and take advantage of defined savings and operational growth.

We’re at the beginning of a long 20+ year cycle to advance manufacturing using industrial internet of things and big data. Significant moves in lowering CO2 footprint and improving energy efficiency can start in manufacturing today – all while helping your production become more profitable. Call us – we’ll show you how.

Please contact us for a live demonstration of how Sight Machine’s AI-driven platform and CI services can achieve these goals.

1 Climate Change: Global Temperature,” Climate.gov
2 Global temperatures on track for 3-5 degree rise by 2100,” United Nations
3 Total final consumption (TFC) by sector, World 1990-2017,” IEA
4 Carmakers among key opponents of climate action,” The Guardian
5 Several automakers back Trump in two other California vehicle emissions suits,” Reuters
6 Engineering the 21st Century Digital Factory,” Morgan Stanley 2017

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