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Maintain or Replace – be Energy Efficient or not – continuing the debate

So the other day my wife told me the water in the shower didn’t seem as hot as it normally does. “Maybe something wrong with the water heater?” she said. I did all the normal checks: no water on the basement floor, pilot is lit, check, check. All seems ok.

We happened to go to Home Depot to buy some other stuff, but we ran into the water heater guy.  His diagnosis: water heater going bad. (Full admission, it is 11 years old)

I kind of buy his story, it makes sense. Here is an appliance that is 11 years old that I never maintained. Expected life is 10 years, so I am already plus one, right? And maybe a new one would be more efficient, right?

But isn’t that the sort of internal argument manufacturers go through every day? Sunk cost (what they already paid for) vs. Maintenance vs. Replacement? How efficient are the machines you bought 10 or 15 years ago? How do you know? How much does it cost you for a shutdown for two to three days while you secure a replacement machine and install it? Wouldn’t that information be valuable to you if it was visible? How do you know?

Energy management/awareness is certainly a big part of this sustainability issue. Check out this video from Chet:

This truly is the power of a Converged Plantwide Ethernet architecture. Data from end devices all over the plant is available to your HMI and SCADA reporting systems,  (all part of your existing Data Center) allowing you to monitor and track actual machine efficiency and up/downtime. Besides monitoring you can control the scheduling of those machines, and you can build in maintenance schedules when they are convenient to you. So now you know!

Our Manufacturing Solutions, coupled with our network of partners, help you discover what is going on in your operations, help you respond to external as well as internal pressures, and help you remain on top of your competition. Cisco truly makes your network Borderless, so you can be there virtually, securely, effortlessly and efficiently.

Isn’t that the key? Being profitable and being #1? And not having water on the floor?

One last thought: if you haven’t signed up for Cisco Industrial Intelligence day at CiscoLive -- do it. We’re going to go into a lot more detail with a lot more fun. You don’t want to miss this event!

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2 Comments.


  1. Sometimes, it’s really difficult to be energy efficient when you consider the prices that comes with it. I suppose in the long run, you will end up saving money. But in the short run, it’s a pricey venture to follow.

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  2. Mark Wylie

    Thanks for the comment Michelle. I agree with you there is an expense, but isn’t that true of everything we run into? Justifying the expense of an automation system for example. So yes, there is a risk/reward scenario to run. But go back to your first statement – if you have the choice to be energy efficient or not, why wouldn’t you choose efficient? Why not take control of your future when you can? You improve your bottom line, your factory is more sustainable and you have some additional profit. Yes, with some initial expense, but as with any automation project there are justifications that are required – energy efficiency is just one. Thanks.

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