Nearing the end of their fixed rate energy plan, surging industrial gas prices threatened the viability of NCIA (the last remaining manufacturer of large ceramic tiles in Australia).
Partnering with OFS, NCIA were able to automate their gas monitoring and forecast their requirements – Providing them with access to the cheapest gas prices in the market via spot pricing.
Partnering with OFS, NCIA were able to achieve:
Production events and gas usage are now monitored side-by-side.
NCIA now have a forecasting accuracy of 99.5%
NCIA now analyse gas efficiency and productivity side by side.
Factory Manager, Craig Oliver, and the team at NCIA felt the strain of rising industrial gas prices in Australia. As NCIA reached the end of their fixed-rate contract, gas suppliers were quoting unit prices of $16-$18 per gigajoule. This was over a 200% increase on their previous $5-$7 per gigajoule rate.
Realising that this price would be unsustainable, the team at NCIA explored a new structure of gas supply: spot pricing. This model was significantly more affordable at $9-$10 per gigajoule, but required accurate forecasting of future gas requirements. Attempting to record and scale gas usage manually proved laborious and inaccurate, resulting in heavy penalties from the gas suppliers for the team at NCIA (up to $12,000 per month).
In order to look ahead and forecast required gas usage, NCIA investigated how they could look back at their historical gas usage as a guide.
NCIA had been using the OFS software solution for several years to capture real-time data on their production outputs and efficiencies. Realising that this data capture might hold the answer to their gas forecasting, NCIA collaborated with OFS to enable gas monitoring in their facility.
Utilising existing gas meters with digital outputs, NCIA worked with OFS to automatically track and log every cubic metre of gas used, convert it into gigajoules, and record it alongside each production run.
Having an accurate handle on prior gas usage at the product level has allowed NCIA to look ahead at their production schedule and accurately forecast their required gas usage on a day by day basis.
“Measuring gas & being able to forecast our usage off our production plan takes the pressure off knowing we are measuring & controlling our side.The [gas] price is the price. This integration and monitoring provides us with access to the cheapest way of buying gas today and into the future”
Craig Oliver - Factory Manager
NCIA has been able to access the more affordable spot pricing model of gas purchasing and is now saving upwards of $40,000 per month on their gas spend – allowing the business to remain viable.
Additionally, automatic and accurate collection and scaling of gas usage have enabled NCIA to reduce their previously error-prone and time-consuming manual data collection. This is saving NCIA up to $12,000 per month in inaccurate estimation penalty fees.
GAS USAGE FORECASTING ACCURACY
CONVERSION OF CUBIC METRES OF GAS INTO GIGAJOULES
SAVED FROM INCORRECT ESTIMATION PENALTY FEES
“The gas savings here are two-fold. We have avoided forecasting penalties, and are able to access a new way of buying gas by paying the daily spot price”
Craig Oliver - Factory Manager
Looking at gas savings with production data has provided a new stream of insights on the relationship between production events and gas spend. Gas savings are now easily observed when equipment adjustments and repairs are made. Additionally, there is evidence to support whether certain products, materials or sizes are more or less gas efficient than their counterparts.
Moving forward, NCIA is looking forward to using their newfound OFS superpower to optimize efficiency on all fronts and to continuously reduce their gas consumption.