My whole life I have lived in locations where the summers are hot and humid, but this past summer took the term “heat wave” to a whole new level in many areas. In fact, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and Maine had the warmest July on record, and thirteen other states had July temperatures in the top 10 of their warmest on record. In Spain, workers harvested grapes at night due to the excessive heat. Extreme weather this year also caused wildfires in Canada and even in Maui, Hawaii. It’s crazy! Alas, the effects of climate change are extremely serious and disturbing. 

Look, our good earth is home to us all, and it is our responsibility - people, governments, and industries - to care for it. Most industries have stepped up to focus on sustainability by trying to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, with one of these being the electric vehicle industry and its suppliers. This makes sense as we look to the EV industry and its suppliers not only as sustainability role models but also as a ray of hope in the fight against climate change and its devastating effects. That is why it is critical for these organizations to lock in sustainability in their manufacturing processes, and they can do this with modern advanced automation software. I’ll tell you how, but first, I want to briefly go over what automation software is.  

What Is Automation Software  

Automation software streamlines and optimizes industrial manufacturing processes and infrastructures through operational data capture, analysis, and management and through process and equipment monitoring, visualization, and control. This software is fundamentally key for organizations to understand their processes and more importantly to make data-driven decisions that can lead them to carbon neutrality and sustainability. Moreover, this technology is a backbone of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and interconnected smart factories, buildings, and operations. Therefore, using automation software is an essential step towards energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions and significantly aids in regulatory reporting. This software can do so much more, so let’s look at some other areas automation software plays a role in driving sustainability.

How Automation Software Can Accelerate Sustainability Efforts

Automation software transforms operational data into intuitive visualization of contextualized information, so personnel can more clearly understand manufacturing processes and thereby make informed decisions to bring about efficient operations. But specifically, some of the ways automation software can be used to accelerate sustainability efforts include:

  • Operations Management: Automation software provides “eyes on the manufacturing process” for advanced operational monitoring and control. With this visualization and information, personnel can make data-driven decisions that enhance operational efficiency and drive process optimization.
  • Energy Management: Automation software allows personnel to monitor and control energy consumption from a variety of angles such as by machine, line, shift, factory, or even by unit of product produced. They can then understand how to optimize energy usage and make improvements in the manufacturing process to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Alarm Management: Automation software can notify personnel about abnormal conditions or events in addition to equipment malfunctions allowing them to quickly respond. This in turn can help reduce energy consumption and waste.
  • Predictive Maintenance Management: Automation software analyzes data from sensors and equipment in real time to identify potential issues. This capability prevents major downtime and operational disruptions and avoids unnecessary energy consumption and waste associated with unplanned maintenance. 
  • Waste Management: Automation software can be used to achieve effective waste management, which is crucial to obtaining carbon neutrality. It does this by allowing organizations to monitor waste generation and disposal processes and conserve the energy and resources involved.
  • HVAC Systems Management: Automation software can help organizations monitor and control the environments of their facilities and buildings, an integral part of achieving carbon neutrality. The software can be used to optimize cooling, heating, and ventilation thus minimizing energy use and carbon emissions.
  • Regulatory Report Management: Automation software can play a pivotal role in easing mandatory regulatory reporting. The software streamlines data collection and analysis of operational monitoring and control to ensure compliance with complex regulations. Using this software reduces human error by consistently validating data and also minimizes inaccuracies and penalties. This software can be used to generate timely automatic reports to meet regulatory deadlines thereby freeing up personnel for more crucial operational tasks.

These are just some of the ways the EV industry and its suppliers can use automation software to realize sustainability. In fact, manufacturing energy management is so crucial these days that some advanced automation software, like ICONICS Suite of products, include a specialized solution for this purpose. ICONICS Energy AnalytiX is an energy monitoring, analysis, and management system that delivers real-time visualization of energy metrics. It includes built-in calculations, analytics, and a data historian, to provide the information and visualization needed for personnel to manage and thereby reduce energy consumption. It also allows for easy report generation required for regulatory compliance.  

Smart Manufacturing Through Automation Software Is Key to Carbon-Neutral Manufacturing

This decade, manufacturing industries, including the EV industry and its suppliers, have realized that they can no longer only emphasize profit – they can no longer emphasize profit at the expense of the environment. They must however weave sustainability into their operations to mitigate their environmental impact. And they can do this by digitalizing their operations with automation software, which can easily be done without breaking the bank.

Automation software, like ICONICS, integrates all the components in the manufacturing process to provide real-time operational visualization. Personnel can then take data-driven actions to ensure continuous improvement that leads to energy efficient, sustainable operations. By using automation software, the EV industry and its suppliers can bring about smart manufacturing – a key to achieving carbon neutrality and to locking in sustainability. After all, it is no longer a matter of choice but a matter of urgency.  

You can read more about how ICONICS Energy AnalytiX tool can help you monitor and control your energy usage, and you can even download a free trial of our ICONICS suite to see firsthand how our software can help your company with its sustainability initiatives.