Energy-Conscious Machine Tools

Energy costs are on the rise, and new regulations mandate that manufacturing facilities reduce their consumption levels and overall carbon footprints.

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Energy costs are on the rise, and new regulations mandate that manufacturing facilities reduce their consumption levels and overall carbon footprints. For machine tools and other peripheral equipment, this is quite a challenge, especially if shops are unaware of how much energy they are actually consuming. Awareness is the key to reducing machine tool energy consumption, and one machine tool builder is taking steps to help.

Mazak Corporation has developed a special interface that provides realtime monitoring of energy usage, the environmental impact, and the carbon footprint for a variety of machine tools and peripherals. This software system, called the Energy Dashboard, identifies key drivers of energy expenses so that shops can better manage and minimize them, as well as helps shops to reduce their overall effects on the environment.
The Energy Dashboard allows shops to quickly understand and visualize the energy consumption of not only machine tools, but also peripherals such as bar feeders, robots and chip conveyors using existing MTConnect interfaces. The system then presents machine tool and peripheral energy consumption as comparisons with that of other types of common devices, such as the energy consumption of household light bulbs.
Mazak partnered with System Insights (Berkeley, Calif.), to introduce the Energy Dashboard. System Insights is a software company that develops tools to help improve the productivity of manufacturing systems. Working in conjunction with System Insights and software, Mazak believes that energy efficiency can now become a practical reality for manufacturers.
Mazak has been continuously focusing its efforts on the potential of MTConnect. The Energy Dashboard is evidence of how the technology has evolved over the past 2 years to provide tangible benefits to American manufacturers.
Brian Papke, president of Mazak, says the Energy Dashboard exemplifies how the MTConnect communications protocol can be used to provide manufacturers with cost savings and boosts in productivity and efficiency.
“Mazak has been an ardent supporter of MTConnect since its inception several years ago,” Mr. Papke says. “The Mazak Energy Dashboard is representative of the first generation of applications that will really start to harness and demonstrate the potential of this powerful tool for manufacturers. Increasingly, MTConnect will become a valuable tool in which customers can improve productivity, machine utilization and efficiency.”
In operation, the Energy Dashboard displays a clear and concise overview of all machine tools and peripherals being monitored, showing their current power usage and indicating how much power they are consuming relative to maximum power draw. Within the system, a details page provides in-depth information that includes energy usage statistics, current day’s power consumption trends, carbon footprint, and the potential cost and environmental impact savings from using the system.
Shops can also view a status bar that presents realtime machine tool power usage represented by the color green for low usage, yellow for normal usage and red for high usage. The system updates this information at 1-second intervals.
Making decisions regarding energy consumption requires data, not guesswork. The Energy Dashboard is a useful and user friendly step in that direction. 

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