Energy Management Systems: neither ERP, nor MES, nor PIMS

Submitted by Ricardo Giacomin on Fri, 01/20/2017 - 12:05
Energy Management Systems: neither ERP, nor MES, nor PIMS


With the increase of solutions that integrate energy control and performance in the industrial area, the demand for approaches that help companies to achieve their objectives is great. See below how the concept of Big Data in energy and utilities management can help meet this demand.


After a period of investments in Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems, many industrial companies by the end of the 1990s and early 2000s turned to their own operations and invested heavily in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Process/Plant Information Management Systems (PIMS).

MES are dedicated to controlling and tracking transformation processes, from raw materials and inputs to finished products. Located between ERP systems, where production demand is typically defined, and automation systems, responsible for controlling each production stage separately, MES schedule and manage the execution of production orders, recording the main inputs and outputs from each process involved.

PIMS also rely on automation components such as PLCs, SCADAs or SDCDs, to retrieve process measurement data on flows, temperatures, vibrations, etc. These variables, or tags, are sampled in high frequency and stored in a historical data repository. PIMS users, typically operators and process engineers, prepare graphical views (e.g., dashboards and control panels) to monitor real-time data as well as historical data.

With the growing demand for more control and better energetic performance from industrial operations, there is greater interest in solutions that help companies:

  • know their current performance;
  • identify improvement opportunities;
  • simulate operation scenarios considering their energetic result;
  • and optimize energy planning, supply, and costing processes.

Inadvertently, some companies have extended their ERP, MES and PIMS implementations while attempting to reach these objectives. Somewhere along this path, however, companies realize that these systems are not meant for the job, nor do they have the technological infrastructure for such.


The Big Data approach to energy and utilities management


A good energy management system implementation necessarily requires a big data approach. It is important to know and analyze all energy variables for all processes (or at least for the largest consumers), in real time. It is also important to keep the history of these variables for a long period of time, along with inferred consumption models, derived from this data, for all equipment. Particularly, due to their database management subsystems, ERP and MES are not appropriate platforms for providing such features.

On the other hand, industrial energy management involves more than continuous, historical variables (such as consumption data) and their graphical presentation. Other types of data must be taken into account, such as executed production orders, to understand the energetic behavior of all equipment, planned production orders, structure and current status of energy contracts, and to forecast energy consumption and generation, among others. For such, PIMS are also not appropriate platforms to implement a complete energy management system. Lastly, more mature energy management systems will generally require more sophisticated algorithms for statistical modeling, simulation, optimization, and other computational intelligence methods, all of which are usually out of the reach of ERP, MES, and PIMS.

Even if your current energy and utilities management requirements are still basic, make sure whatever solution your company adopts will not impose strong restrictions in the near future.

Viridis supplies an integrated energy and utilities platform, with different products and integrate and complement other systems such as ERP, MES, and PIMS. Learn more about Viridis’s products by following this link.

EVP, Viridis

Viridis founding partner with more than 20 years of experience in developing and commissioning technology systems for industrial clients. He has led projects in Latin America, Europe, and the United States for companies in different industrial sectors. He is a specialist in the design and deployment of technology solutions for shop-floor management. He holds a MSc and a BSc in Computer Science from UFMG.

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