Material Manufacturing Facilities’ Hidden Benefits from Energy Efficiency

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By , Small Business Pulse

As one of the manufacturing hubs of the United States, Michigan consists of more than 600,000 residents working in establishments for motor vehicle, motor vehicle parts, textile, and tool and die production. However, to maintain this standing, material manufacturing facilities owners need to focus on improving productivity and profitability. One way to do this is to fine tune operations for optimized energy efficiency.

Save by reducing compressed air inefficiencies

Given how pneumatic machinery improves efficiency, compressed air systems have become ubiquitous in modern manufacturing. As air compressors require significant amounts of electricity to function, they likely represent a major chunk of most Michigan-based material manufacturers’ electricity bills. Accordingly, facilities owners should be aware of the fact that they can meaningfully reduce their energy costs by getting a compressed air energy audit performed.

During an audit, a qualified contractor will examine a facility’s compressed air system to see if it can be improved by:

·        Installing variable speed drive (VSD) air compressors

·        Installing zero loss condensate drains

·        Installing new, efficient air dryers

·        Adding air compressor waste heat recovery systems

·        Replacing pneumatic air tools with electric tools

As noted in the piece "Saving in the Air: A technical paper on potential saving in compressed air system at IOCL Gujarat Refinery," making improvements to an air compressor system can result in energy savings of between 20 to 50 percent. Moreover, optimizing your compressed air system function can have the knock-on effect of increasing production throughput, reducing downtime, and extending equipment life.

With many rebates available through Consumers Energy's compressed air improvement program, Michigan manufacturers have significant incentive to invest in some upgrades.

LEDs save money in three different ways

Another way material manufacturers can reduce their operation and maintenance costs through improved energy efficiency is by overhauling their lighting. By doing something as simple as replacing a facility’s fluorescent or CFL bulbs with new LED lights, founders can make their plants safer and more productive.

LEDs’ brightness and phenomenal color rendering make it easier for employees to identify defects in the production line, just as it helps doctors examine their patients. Additionally, a recent study found that the white light emanating from LEDs makes workers feel less fatigued and five times more alert. The combination of increased visibility and heightened worker awareness can also help manufacturers avoid costly and productivity-hampering employee injuries. As LED lights are 90 percent more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, their installation can significantly reduce a facility’s energy costs.

Michigan businesses shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the savings provided by an LED lighting upgrade. Utility companies may provide extra incentive, such as Consumers Energy, where their electric customers can receive rebates on LED bulbs, lighting fixtures, dimmers, and signage lighting retrofits.


Saving energy saves your business money. Discover the many ways your business can save. For more tips or to get started on an energy efficiency project visit Consumers Energy.

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