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PII Oct-Nov 2013

Businesses turning to digital 3D technology to help cut energy costs and carbon emissions Increasingly, businesses across the UK are finding the answer to their prayers in virtual reality modelling. Using sophisticated computer software created for the purpose, users can re-create their own business digitally. Then, using 3D modelling techniques, they can accurately calculate, and ultimately reduce, their carbon footprint and energy costs, avoiding costly mistakes in developing their solution. “One of the biggest advantages of the virtual reality modelling approach is that it allows users to try out a wide range of alternative solutions to their problems before committing spend to actual changes: to try before they buy, in effect, ” says Ian Aubrey, Director of CyberPharm Ltd, leaders in the field with their premium Eco3D software and consultancy services. Aimed initially at larger businesses with factories and mass production lines, this advanced technology is now being used by businesses of all types and sizes. Using Eco3D software standard you can build a 3D computer representation of any business activity, and easily calculate energy usage. 3D layouts can be any size from small offices to large factories and from any industry sector. Energy saving calculations and features are designed to reduce energy usage and increase efficiency as well as predicting the effects of change over time. Initially, measurements and observations and data is gathered on site before using a powerful 3D modelling software tool, to create a 3D replica of the business or organisation as it operates – a simulation model of the processes involved. The business could be in manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, automation and robotics, healthcare and public services – virtually any commercial business endeavour and many public service organisations could use this method. Walkthrough view The baseline simulation model developed in this way reflects how the processes work currently in a specific business. A dynamic simulation facility provides the How does a business go about reducing its carbon footprint and energy costs to meet ever more stringent targets? Boardroom brainstorming; piecemeal measures; specialist consultants? customer with the impression that they are actually in the facility with a bird’s eye or even walkthrough view of the system, as in a computer game. Analysis at this stage reveals any problems with rates of carbon emissions, energy wastage, logistical inefficiencies or whatever is being targeted. This versatile software can be used to experiment with new processes, designs, input or components. It enables cost, productivity, energy and carbon benefits to be accurately calculated before any actual change or investment is made. Clients are given advice, training and an extensive ‘component’ library to help them build these 3D models of their operations. This unique library is a large, ever-expanding resource detailing more than 60,000 energy-consuming products. All product information and energy consumption data is kept up to date, and allows users to input relevant details in order to build realistic models quickly. Proposed solutions are incorporated into a modified simulation model then tested to see how they work in a particular business environment. In this way, ideas are tried out in virtual reality, without a large cost to the bottom line. Consultancy service Users of this software may manage the software themselves with advice from CyberPharm though many opt for a consultancy service too, explains Aubrey. “We offer a ‘fresh eyes’ service to businesses using our software. In these cases, we come and look at their problem, and the possible solutions clients have selected, and give our independent opinion. If needed, we can help them understand and clarify the pros and cons of their choices, allowing them to make more informed decisions.” To see how effective the system can be in practice, industrial bakers G.H Sheldon used Eco3D products to help make sustainable savings in their operations by reducing the carbon footprint of their industrial lighting. Carbon cut by 80% Having grown from a small family enterprise to an industrial baker supplying supermarkets nationwide, G. H. Sheldon knew all about traditional baking and wanted to bring the same level of expertise to a very modern problem: the reduction of its carbon footprint. “Eco3D has helped us to understand how we can achieve significant reductions in our carbon emissions” says Lee Sheldon, Director of G.H. Sheldon Wholesale Bakers Ltd. The main focus for initial carbon and cost cutting was the outdoor lighting. CyberPharm began by visiting the site, talking with employees and analysing their ideas before presenting them to the financial director to show what changes they would suggest, and why. Readings were taken on site using meters and other equipment before Eco3D was brought in to visualise, in 3D, their existing systems and processes. The software simulated the existing lighting systems in combination with accurate sunrise and sunset times. On-going maintenance was also included before the simulation was run to cover various periods of 1, 5, 10 and 20 years. In this way they determined the cost of ownership of the existing system and were quickly able to see virtual efficiency. Next, the simulation was altered to incorporate alternative lighting technologies to reveal their impact on the setup and to provide optional improvements. The system and positioning finally selected brought additional benefits, including improved image quality on the existing CCTV system and the use of motion detection to switch lights on and off only when needed. Once implemented, the carbon savings identified by the software in Sheldon’s lighting were immediate: an 80% reduction in carbon emissions, and a predicted 50% reduction in the total cost of ownership. ‘Try before you buy’ Sheldon’s were able to clearly see and examine their options closely before committing to a big spend on changes,” says Ian Aubrey. “In effect, the simulations make it possible for clients to effectively ‘try before they buy’ the different scenarios.” Ian Aubrey sees businesses of all kinds turning to this exciting development tool: “With the advance of modern processors, there’s an increased ability to simulate ever more complex scenarios. Extra speed means that many alternative layouts can be tried and tested before a single physical action is taken. This allows more informed decisions to be taken, avoiding planning mistakes and defects which can so easily snowball project deadlines and budgets.” CyberPharm Limited, Macclesfield, Cheshire Can be contacted on: Tel: 01625 511528 E-mail: info@cyberpharm.co.uk Web: www.cyberpharm.co.uk Process Industry Inforem r October-November 2013 13


PII Oct-Nov 2013
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