How the factory of the future saves energy
When it comes to factories, manufacturing floors and industrial facilities, the interests of plant managers and corporate sustainability professionals are intimately intertwined.
Reducing energy consumption, minimizing freshwater withdrawals from local aquifers and reusing materials that otherwise might be scrapped makes sense from financial, environmental and social standpoints. Indeed, the production floor appears to be one place where efficiency-motivated capital expenditures advocated by the sustainability team actually might stand a chance of becoming reality in board rooms without too much of a fight.
That’s even more true as companies of all shapes and sizes begin to mull the impact of the circular economy — one that prioritizes a radical shift in thinking about how resources are used and spins off new revenue streams in the process.
“The circular economy is at the heart of the promise of the industrial Internet of things,” said David Mount, partner with venture capital firm G2VP who has invested in numerous companies. “That is the goal. So that you have a manufacturer who is building a product that is built for what their customers want, and it’s got enough intelligence or connectivity or telemetry in it so that [the maker] doesn’t lose track of the product the minute it sells the product.”