SmartSense Increaces VAM Chiller Efficiency By 21% At Leading Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility

Learn how Ecolibrium’s SmartSense automated data collection and reporting, facilitating intelligent load balancing and improving overall chiller health and reliability.

Impact Summary 

• 21% efficiency increase in mission critical Vapour Absorption Machine (VAM) chiller within the first year

• 5% chiller efficiency increase in 15 large industrial chillers across 7 plants, also within the first year

• 7 years and counting of ongoing collaboration

The Challenge

Pharmaceutical manufacturing, be it bulk drugs or formulations, relies heavily on precise temperature management to control and catalyse specific chemical reactions, maintain potency of formulations and more. This is an industry where chiller efficiency is mission critical and also the single highest energy consuming unit.

An Indian pharma giant was plagued by chiller-related issues where the operational team was facing challenges in keeping up with chiller maintenance even though they were in the process of digitizing their energy meters. The various aspects of the challenge included high maintenance costs, unavailability of benchmarks and heavy reliance on manual data collection. As a result, chillers were operating sub-optimally and fouling frequently, slowing the production process. All of this combined was driving up operational costs and lowering profitability of the plants.

The company was ready for a change and was on the lookout for a solution that would help them with smooth and optimized chiller operations for the foreseeable future. With 15 chillers across 7 plants, the energy bills and operational costs overall were mounting up fast. It was also harming their internal goals as a sustainable business. It had to be resolved fast and effectively.

The Solution 

The pharma giant reached out to Ecolibrium with an interest to test out the flagship AI/ML platform SmartSense. Using proprietary algorithms that handle data analysis and monitoring at asset level, SmartSense was the ideal answer to the chiller efficiency situation. It gives the operations team a real-time dashboard with timely updates and instant alerts the moment something needs their attention.

As part of the pilot, the company tasked the Ecolibrium team with deploying SmartSense at two main locations – Bharuch, Gujarat and Gajraula, Uttar Pradesh, with an additional chiller-only deployment in Nira, Maharashtra.

15 chillers were fitted with sensors for various controllers and the data went live to the SmartSense dashboard, giving engineers immediate alerts on any deviations or fouling of condensers or evaporators at the chillers. This created an on-demand maintenance model, which was more cost and time-effective than the previous reactive method based on manual data collection.

About 1200-1300 sensors were installed as part of the overall project and they provided a data break-up of each asset into sub-assets, providing accurate and granular monitoring and data analytics. The client team began to receive updates at 15 minute intervals on per unit energy consumption and detailed usage reports.

Ecolibrium also provided trend analysis comparing before and after figures, giving exact numbers for potential savings for the company.

The Outcomes 

As a direct result of the strategic deployment of SmartSense’s AI/ML toolset, the client team was able to track chiller operational health and power consumption with greater speed and accuracy. Here is how we helped the client team get the best out of their chillers.

• Using the SmartSense data, the Ecolibrium team was able to increase efficiency of a Vapor Absorption Machine (VAM) unit by 21%.

• The general increase in efficiency of the rest of units was 5%

• The overall savings translate to an average of 38,906 KWh of energy savings per month per location on average, an equivalent of 31.5 metric tonne emissions reduction.

This is how the Ecolirium team leveraged SmartSense AI to resolve a critical maintenance issue, optimise operational efficiency, automate data collection and reporting and accelerate the Net-Zero journey of the client.

• Chiller MIS reports and monthly usage reports were automated, analysing and comparing chiller efficiency based on approach temperature and other factors.

• Real-time monitoring makes the root cause of inefficiencies clear and reduces increased energy consumption due to fouling.

• Intelligent load balancing cuts downtime and increases the overall health of each chiller by efficiently managing load distribution across available assets.

Convinced by the performance during the pilot, the client then decided to expand the partnership with Ecolibrium, which is ongoing till date. SmartSense deployment has increased to 7 sites in total and includes all units that are tied to the operational efficiency of the manufacturing unit.

If you want to know more about how SmartSense AI and the Ecolibrium team of experts can enhance the operational efficiency, transform maintenance, and increase overall profitability for your pharmaceutical or chemical manufacturing units, contact us today to book a personalised demo.

Find out how we can help you achieve your net-zero goals while elevating productivity and reducing operational costs.

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