This thesis reports on the research undertaken to minimise energy consumption within the production phase of a product lifecycle through modelling, monitoring and improved control of energy use within manufacturing facilities. The principle objective of this research is to develop a framework which integrates energy data at plant and process levels within a manufacturing system so as to establish how much energy is required to manufacture a unit product.
The research contributions are divided into four major parts. The first reviews relevant literature in energy trends, related governmental policies, and energy tools and software. The second introduces an Embodied Product Energy framework which categorises energy consumption within a production facility into direct and indirect energy required to manufacture a product. The third describes the design and implementation of a simulation model based on this framework to support manufacturing and design decisions for improved energy efficiency through the use of what-if scenario planning. The final part outlines the utilisation of this energy simulation model to support a Design for Energy Minimisation methodology which incorporates energy considerations within the design process.
The applicability of the research concepts have been demonstrated via two case studies. The detailed analysis of energy consumption from a product viewpoint provides greater insight into inefficiencies of processes and associated supporting activities, thereby highlighting opportunities for optimisation of energy consumption via operational or design improvements. Although the research domain for this thesis is limited to the production phase, the flexibility offered by the energy modelling framework and associated simulation tool allow for their employment other product lifecycle phases.
In summary, the research has concluded that investment in green sources of power generation alone is insufficient to deal with the rapid rise in energy demand, and has highlighted the paramount importance of energy rationalisation and optimisation within the manufacturing industry.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.