Creation Technologies is an award-winning OEM manufacturer with facilities in the US, Canada, Mexico, and China. Customers in key markets—including Aerospace & Defense, Medical, and Tech Industrials —rely on Creation Technologies for high-quality components, on time.
Goals: Improve lighting control and efficiency across the entire facility, monitor critical equipment, and identify new efficiencies and savings
Solution: Digital Lumens Intelligent LED Luminaires, SiteWorx Tune and SiteWorx Sense Applications
- Reduced lighting energy use (and costs) by 52%
- Reduced thermal chamber power consumption by 12%
- Avoided unplanned downtime, which costs an average of $300,000 per day
Innovative OEM manufacturer Creation Technologies first turned to Digital Lumens to improve lighting quality and control. But company leaders soon discovered that the SiteWorx solution could deliver significant business value—quickly and easily, right out of the box.
Big Improvements—from Lighting Bays to the Manufacturing Floor
The initial challenge was simple, but critical. Manufacturing personnel at the Creation Technologies facility in Markham, Ontario, required different light levels for specific areas. For example, light at its conformal coating station needed to be darker than at the soldering station. The wrong light level meant less efficiency and more errors. So workers were manually moving (and removing) lamps in an effort to get the light right.
Colton Porter, automation project leader, knew there had to be a better way. Porter was eager to install an advanced lighting system that made it easy to adjust illumination levels. He found the answer—Digital Lumens intelligent LED luminaires and the SiteWorx Tune lighting control application. With SiteWorx Tune’s task tuning feature, facility managers can set optimal lighting levels for each workspace. “Now we can direct a higher amount of light to areas where operators do complex work with components that are smaller than the tip of a pen,” says Porter. “And we can keep the coating station darker.”
Ensuring Safety Without Wasting Energy
For safety, the legacy fluorescent lighting in the Markham facility burned 24 hours a day, even if no one was in the facility. The automated setback feature in SiteWorx Tune allows Porter to designate an elapsed amount of time with no occupancy, after which it’s safe for the light to turn off or dim. If there’s activity, the lights turn on immediately to ensure safety. “Digital Lumens lighting has allowed Creation to cut energy costs by reducing light levels in areas that are not being used,” he says. In fact, in just six months, Creation Technologies has reduced its lighting energy use by an impressive 52 percent, thanks to highly efficient Digital Lumens intelligent LED luminaires and SiteWorx Tune.
Finding New Ways to Reduce Energy Use—and Save Money
Originally, Porter and his team at the Markham facility just planned to implement intelligent lighting. But they decided to go further, inspired by the capabilities of SiteWorx Sense, which could meter and monitor other utilities and machinery.
The facility’s thermal chambers play a significant role in the manufacturing process but they require significant amounts of electricity to warm up and maintain a specified temperature. Porter and his team intended to use SiteWorx Sense to track the energy expense per production run and allocate the actual cost back to the customer. But once SiteWorx Sense started tracking the energy usage data, they uncovered a new opportunity to increase efficiency.
“We have three different thermal chambers, each consuming a lot of energy,” Porter explains. “Using SiteWorx Sense, we could analyze how much power they were using on certain cycles and running specific products. We could see that some products took longer to process, consuming more power. And we realized we could use our chambers more efficiently.”
SiteWorx Sense power metering data enabled Porter and his team to identify which products could be rendered in one of the three thermal chambers—while using the least amount of energy. Over six months, the Markham facility has reduced their thermal chamber energy usage by 12 percent, creating a significant cost savings. “Every time we open up the SiteWorx dashboard, we see new opportunities to save more money,” said Porter.
Keeping Product Quality High—While Avoiding Expensive Unplanned Downtime
Temperature and relative humidity levels are critical to Creation Technologies. If they stray outside of their optimal range, it can affect product quality by softening soldering and other materials. If products sit for too long in less than ideal temperatures and relative humidity levels, they have to be scrapped to prevent a potential failure during use. Scrapping a product run delays delivery deadlines. And Creation Technologies has to absorb all of the costs—which can total $300,000 or more.
To help monitor site environmental conditions, Porter installed Digital Lumens’ wireless SiteWorx Temperature and Relative Humidity sensors in the five HVAC system vents in the Markham facility. The SiteWorx Sense dashboard enabled Porter to monitor the data on an ongoing basis.
As spring arrived and the air conditioning kicked in, three HVAC units cooled to 55ºF, while the temperatures on the other two were unchanged. After taking a closer look, facilities personnel discovered that the two HVAC units were malfunctioning, pulling in warm outside air and circulating it through the facility.
“Because of SiteWorx Sense and data monitoring, we caught this issue before we had to shut down production,” Porter recalls. “If we hadn’t caught it in time, it could have taken an entire shift to get the building back down to a normal temperature. During that unplanned downtime, we wouldn’t have been producing anything, but we would have been paying employees. We might have had to delay and decommit every customer shipment going out that day—an average of $300,000 in product daily. SiteWorx helped us to ensure product quality and avoid a significant problem—and cost.”
Because of the new savings and efficiency Digital Lumens delivered in Markham, Creation Technologies executives are considering rolling out the SiteWorx solution to its facilities around the world. Meanwhile, the improvements continue in Markham, with the addition of water flow metering for their deionized water system—as well as expansion of the SiteWorx solution to a second building.