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Technical Notes - Individual Equipment vs. Whole Plant

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Should I Monitor "Whole-Plant" or Individual Equipment Power Use?

In most cases, monitoring individual equipment gives you better insights into saving money through operational changes at your facility.

  • Monitoring individual equipment or processes provides you with actionable information to reduce electricity costs.
    • Measurements of the whole-plant may mask important information about individual pieces of power-hungry equipment and disguise any actionable information.
    • Focus on making measurements directly related to the mission of saving dollars on your electric bill. Whole-plant measurements about "Power Quality" such as the number of voltage spikes from the utility or the frequency of the power may not be useful saving dollars on your plant's next electric bill..
  • Monitoring a small portion of your total power usage allows you to make measurements with enough resolution in the power data so that individual pieces of equipment or processes can be identified.
    • This includes both time resolution and ability to resolve small power changes.
    • There may be so many, small and frequent changes when measuring whole-plant power, the particular power change from a single piece of equipment that you are trying to measure may be unidentifiable.
  • Select a remote monitoring system that allows you to view changes in power consumption near the work location where changes are being made.
    • Whole-plant power-use monitoring systems do not typically make it easy to view real-time power-consumption data on the plant floor -- where the action is.
    • You should be able to see the effect of your changes instantly in close proximity to the physical location where the changes are being made.
  • Select a monitoring system with easy installation and setup effort.
    • Monitoring systems for individual pieces of equipment should be easy to setup and install and easy to move.
    • For "whole-plant" monitoring, the installation and setup is frequently an involved process with conduit installation, power outages, and wiring modifications.



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