An energy monitoring kit installed and connected to a machine. Credit: Vikram Jadhao / Indiana University

Analytics project to help Indiana manufacturers reduce energy consumption

Industry and academia are coming together to improve the energy efficiency and carbon footprint in one of Indiana’s biggest sectors: manufacturing. The collaborative research project employs machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to achieve greater sustainability.

Researchers at Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame will collect and analyze data gathered from university testbeds and the newly launched statewide Energy INsights program to develop energy analytics applications. They’ll also create a data lake, a centralized data storage and processing platform. The data models and analytics applications will provide insights on actions the small and medium-sized manufacturers can take to reduce energy consumption.

“Currently, over 95% of Indiana manufacturers do not have analytics to correlate their energy usage with factory assembly lines, machines, shifts, operator usage patterns, and more,” Raj Acharya, associate vice president for research and AI innovation at Indiana University, said in a news release.

Conexus Indiana, Energy Systems Network, the Emerging Manufacturing Collaboration Center, and Amazon Web Services are industry collaborators on the two-year project.  

Energy INsights launched in March to help Indiana manufacturers bring down their energy costs. Participating companies receive grants to install sensors on factory floors to collect and transfer data to an Amazon Web Services account. AI tools analyze the data and provide insights to the company via a digital dashboard.

The project also is being used as an educational tool for university students, and the academic partners will create curricula and offer students hands-on learning opportunities based on some of the energy, machine learning, and AI principles from the project.