Industry, education and government collaborate to find energy cost savings for manufacturers
DEARBORN, Mich., November 30, 2012 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) announces the first five student chapters to participate in an energy conservation program focused on in-depth assessments of manufacturing facilities. With a $292,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), SME will partner its student chapters with existing Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) at universities nationwide.
IACs focus on improving industrial energy conservation techniques by providing no-cost energy assessments of manufacturers. Each partnership between a university and IAC is unique to their location, finding real cost savings for small to mid-sized manufacturers. The SME student members will expand these assessments by offering their manufacturing knowledge to enrich the IAC recommendations.
SME student chapters in the first phase of this program include: S132 at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; S019 at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.; S215 at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tenn.; S070 at University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; S296 at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, Mass.
Engaging our student members to the energy assessment centers and their site visits will not only increase the students' interests to manufacturing and SME, said Ismail Fidan, PhD, SME faculty advisor and professor at Tennessee Technological University. It will also let them learn, practice and contribute to the knowledge base of advanced trends in energy conservation, lean, quality, and cost of energy and its production.
Since the program began in 1976, the IACs have performed nearly 16,000 assessments, making more than 118,000 recommendations. These assessments have resulted in energy savings of 580 trillion Btu (British thermal units) totaling more than $6 billion.
SME student members will have the opportunity to gain industry experience and expand their networking while engaging with other IAC students in a multidisciplinary environment. SME faculty advisor at Oregon State University Karl Haapala, PhD, said, Not only will this give students the chance to apply their industrial and manufacturing engineering toolsets in reducing energy, materials, and wastes, but it will give them insight into future career opportunities.
SME faculty advisors will work directly with IAC directors to guide students during the assessment process. This partnership will increase the advisors connectivity to local industry and find new ideas for research.
SME expects to partner its student chapters with all 24 participating IACs participating in the DOE program, expanding the program incrementally over the next three and a half years. Including satellite centers and the Field Manager within the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Rutgers University, there are 32 universities participating in the IAC program across the country.
Small and medium manufacturing plants within standard industrial classification codes 20-39 are typically eligible to be assessed by the IAC if they meet the following four criteria: gross annual sales below $100 million; fewer than 500 employees at the plant site; annual utility bills are greater than $100,000 and less than $2.5 million; and no in-house professional staff specializing in energy management.
If you are interested in obtaining an assessment, or would like more information on the IACs, please visit their website.