Skip to main content

3M: Energy Data Management System Improves Readiness for ISO 50001/SEP Certification

3M adopted the structured ISO 50001 Energy Management System (EnMS) and Superior Energy Performance (SEP) for its energy management framework. This framework aligns with 3M’s climate and energy sustainability targets. From 2015 to 2025, 3M set a target to improve energy efficiency by 30% indexed to net sales. In 2019, 3M also committed to the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative to source 100% of electricity from renewable energy. Recently, 3M furthered its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals to reduce Scope 1 and 2 market-based GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040, and achieve carbon neutrality in all operations by 2050. 

The goal of the project was to automate energy reporting and develop a dashboard and trending system to enable more proactive energy management system (EnMS) operations. It was built using a Microsoft Power BI dashboard and Grafana Labs reporting platform.

The first step in building out the energy management data system was to set up a program to extract energy data across the site’s electrical meters. This was done using Microsoft SQL Server queries tied to the site's power monitoring system & asset management program. To help implement the automation features, the Valley energy team acquired a data specialist. The team also worked with facility programmers to compare production data across departments, analyzing indicators like output, labor hours, and machine hours. The team then constructed a Power BI report that combines and compares production energy data with statistical tools. This Power BI report page enables the cross-analysis of select energy data points and relevant production variables to track Significant Energy Users (SEU) performance. Additionally, the team implemented an email alert system to notify team members of offline meters or significant SEU deviations from energy performance targets.  

Figure 1: The three steps to developing 3M’s Valley Energy Management Data platform

3 step process to creating 3M's energy management data platform

With the new energy data system, the Valley team can analyze energy savings performance at the department and equipment level. Valley’s digital energy infrastructure was upgraded to include compressed air, natural gas, and water usage sensors. The Valley energy team follows 3M’s Management of Change (MOC) process for each new equipment or change, which includes thresholds of when to include metering—e.g., compressed air metering will be included in all new equipment with usages above 75 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM). After installing air flow meters, the Valley team was able to closely monitor and manage compressed air usage. The meter data is sent to an operational historian that records meter values (CFM, CF) every second to a database. Then, this data is plotted live in Grafana, an open-source visualization software. Grafana allows maintenance technicians to see real-time or historical data on a webpage they can access on the manufacturing floor. Using this data, the team focused on reducing compressed air usage in idle states by upgrading pneumatic components, repairing leaks, and updating the programmable logic controllers (PLCs). These steps reduced ‘idle’ air consumption by more than 80% and ‘run’ air consumption by 25%. After replicating to 13 other compressors, the compressed air reduction project has an expected yearly energy savings of $60,000, equivalent to 2.4% of Valley’s yearly energy usage.  

The project began as an idea from a member of Valley's Energy Team, and it was refined in monthly energy team meetings for costs, feasibility, and implementation.  Outside of these meetings, a reliability specialist and maintenance technicians regularly collaborated to reduce compressed air usage on machines. After implementing changes, the specialist determined CFM limits for emails alerts and communicated the change to technicians, who would receive an email notification, create work orders, and troubleshoot compressed air issues to achieve target usages.  

The Valley energy data management project introduced opportunities to achieve ambitious facility efficiency goals, while also showcasing the significant value data integration projects can offer industrial facilities. In 2021, four of the energy team’s projects were implemented, with an expected annual energy savings of 1,500 MMBtu, equivalent to $32,600 in cost savings. Looking forward, the Valley Energy team was able to scope additional energy projects and determine cost-effectiveness using real-time energy data, including an HVAC controls project. These projects included improvements to water heating systems, HVAC, and LED lighting. In total, the Valley Energy team built up a project pipeline that is expected to save 8,600 MMBtu per year.

The success of the project empowered team members across departments to generate additional energy optimization proposals. The Valley energy team is now able to perform proactive and predictive energy management by monitoring energy consumption alongside other performance metrics. This tool will support other innovations in smart manufacturing to bring new opportunities to enhance energy management systems and improve industrial approaches to achieving sustainability goals.