Ambient intelligence for optimal manufacturing and energy efficiency

David Charles Robinson, David Adrian Sanders, Ebrahim Mazharsolook

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    Abstract

    Purpose – This paper aims to describe the creation of innovative and intelligent systems to optimise energy efficiency in manufacturing. The systems monitor energy consumption using ambient intelligence (AmI) and knowledge management (KM) technologies. Together they create a decision support system as an innovative add-on to currently used energy management systems.

    Design/methodology/approach – Energy consumption data (ECD) are processed within a service-oriented architecture-based platform. The platform provides condition-based energy consumption warning, online diagnostics of energy-related problems, support to manufacturing process lines installation and ramp-up phase and continuous improvement/optimisation of energy efficiency. The systems monitor energy consumption using AmI and KM technologies. Together they create a decision support system as an innovative add-on to currently used energy management systems.

    Findings – The systems produce an improvement in energy efficiency in manufacturing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The systems provide more comprehensive information about energy use and some knowledge-based support.

    Research limitations/implications – Prototype systems were trialled in a manufacturing company that produces mooring chains for the offshore oil and gas industry, an energy intensive manufacturing operation. The paper describes a case study involving energy-intensive processes that addressed different manufacturing concepts and involved the manufacture of mooring chains for offshore platforms. The system was developed to support online detection of energy efficiency problems.

    Practical implications
    – Energy efficiency can be optimised in assembly and manufacturing processes. The systems produce an improvement in energy efficiency in manufacturing SMEs. The systems provide more comprehensive information about energy use and some knowledge-based support.

    Social implications – This research addresses two of the most critical problems in energy management in industrial production technologies: how to efficiently and promptly acquire and provide information online for optimising energy consumption and how to effectively use such knowledge to support decision making.

    Originality/value – This research was inspired by the need for industry to have effective tools for energy efficiency, and that opportunities for industry to take up energy efficiency measures are mostly not carried out. The research combined AmI and KM technologies and involved new uses of sensors, including wireless intelligent sensor networks, to measure environment parameters and conditions as well as to process performance and behaviour aspects, such as material flow using smart tags in highly flexible manufacturing or temperature distribution over machines. The information obtained could be correlated with standard ECD to monitor energy efficiency and identify problems. The new approach can provide effective ways to collect more information to give a new insight into energy consumption within a manufacturing system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)234-248
    Number of pages15
    JournalAssembly Automation
    Volume35
    Issue number3
    Early online date22 Jul 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

    Keywords

    • energy efficiency
    • ambient intelligence
    • sensors
    • knowledge management
    • assembly

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