Industry 4.0 applied to energy saving and sustainable development.
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Industry 4.0 applied to energy saving and sustainable development.

Robotics and automation



In the analysis and improvement phase of Lean Energy it is very important to consider the integration of technology into energy management, considered from a perspective of respect and conservation of the environment. The fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is the result of the evolution of work systems that throughout history have radically changed the way in which society lives and develops. Knowing its elements, advantages and disadvantages is very important because we are designing the work of the future and the way in which human beings communicate, live and interact with natural resources. The first revolution came with the development of the steam engine, devised by James Watt, which had a significant impact on industry and transport, forever changing the world economy. The second industrial revolution began in the mid-nineteenth century, motivated by advances in the use of electric energy applied to industry and transport. Also the development of the mass production system, devised by Henry Ford, took a world economic turn by making mass manufacturing possible at low cost and, therefore, with products accessible to large groups of people in the world.


The third revolution began with the development of computer science, by developing microprocessors, computers, internet and telecommunications, which allowed significant advances in industry, transport and the way of interacting between people as never seen before. Now we are starting the fourth industrial revolution, motivated mainly by advances in technology, mainly in the most industrialized countries, which allows to automate many functions that people used to do.


This stage is characterized by the use of interconnected sensors in equipment for industrial and domestic use to store and analyze data, which are automatically analyzed using other large amounts of data that are updated in real time, and that by artificial intelligence make similar decisions or better than those of humans.


In this fourth revolution it is estimated that more than 60% of jobs in the world have not yet been designed. So there is a great responsibility of those who make decisions about the design of a world where the quality of life increases, while taking care of nature.


Robotics and automation


Energy saving through building automation is a reality, considering the rising costs of energy, in addition to the impact on the environment.


Robotization and process automation is a key element of the fourth industrial revolution, since it allows the development of repetitive tasks with greater safety, efficiency and quality. It is important to consider robotizing and automating operations that are a bottleneck, high risk areas or high energy consumption.


A good way to save energy and take care of the environment is the incorporation of building automation systems, also called building (BAS). The benefits of implementing these technologies are as follows:


• Continuity in the operation, when installing drivers that allow information to be shared with each other, and that allow continuity in case of failures. • Energy saving, by improving energy management using intelligent air conditioning and heating systems that maintain optimum temperature and humidity conditions, even when the demand is very variable, since the systems learn from the demands and needs of air conditioning . • Labor savings, since not so many people are needed for operation and maintenance. • Increased security, by integrating remote surveillance and access control systems. By integrating intelligent lighting and air conditioning control systems, safety and reliability are increased, costs are reduced and CO2 emissions to the environment are avoided. Currently, companies developing and manufacturing industrial robots are studying the sequences of their movements. They have detected acceleration patterns and sudden stoppages, which by being softened with better algorithms in computer programming, can reduce energy consumption by half. This has already been studied in tests by companies such as Siemens, in collaboration with Volkswagen and the Fraunhofer Institute, in Germany. Having robots, machines, or tester support equipment will be a reality. A robot will send an email informing that it needs maintenance, or an assembly line will give notice that the energy efficiency per piece or fuel consumption is above the established limit. This will allow to make wise and timely decisions.


If this information was useful to you and you want to know how many ways you can generate substantial energy savings in your company or organization, ask us about our workshops and books on the Lean Six Sigma principles applied to sustainable energy: Lean Energy.


MBB Juan Pablo Martín.


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