In times of global climate change, energy-intensive industries need to reduce their energy consumption. Since 2013, METRON has been guiding them towards this path. The French Cleantech, part of 5-HT’s digital ecosystem, has developed an AI-driven platform solution for Energy Management 4.0. Learn more in this interview with Jérôme Briend, Business Developer – EMEA, and Anne-Laure Daniel, VP Marketing METRON.
What is METRON all about?
Jérôme Briend: METRON specializes in improving energy efficiency and operating performance to reduce energy costs and carbon footprint. We offer a new industry 4.0 approach to energy management and strategy thanks to our AI-driven platform METRON-EVA®. Our vast array of customers come from energy-intensive industries such as iron and steel, food and beverage as well as pharmaceutical and chemical industry.
What are the limits of existing energy management solutions?
Jérôme Briend: Up to now, several companies have already established punctual energy management projects to optimize individual assets. At METRON, we follow a more holistic approach by contextualizing the assets and by considering full processes and production lines.
Anne-Laure Daniel: Companies are often told to replace their current assets if they want to reduce energy consumption. With METRON, you can actually optimize energy flows without additional investment. Our customers can reduce the energy bill using their current assets if they implement certain good practices within their factories, for instance tracking their energy consumption.
How does your platform METRON-EVA® help to reduce energy consumption?
Jérôme Briend: METRON-EVA®, our Energy Virtual Assistant, is a cloud-based platform allowing industries to optimize energy consumption through analysis and forecast. The platform collects all data available on site (energy consumption, assets, production processes, etc.) as well as external data (weather, current energy prices, etc.) to have a full understanding of all factors influencing energy usage. Of course, the consumption also depends on the production volume, the machine settings, or the actions of individual operators. Once we have found all influential parameters, we can identify which of them are flexible and, thus, can be changed in real-time.
By taking real-time data into account and connecting it to data science algorithms and a large energy-related knowledge base, METRON-EVA® detects potentials for energy optimization and communicates them to the operators. This is a key advantage: a human operator can have some parameters in mind, but it’s impossible for him to consider this huge amount of data points. We can unlock massive potentials for energy optimization with data already present on sites.
Can you tell us a bit more about the technology behind METRON-EVA®?
Jérôme Briend: First, the collected data is aggregated in a cloud (if our customer already has his own cloud, we establish a cloud-to-cloud solution). Then, we create a digital twin of the factory,mapping all assets and energy vectors – gas, steam, hot water, cold water, electricity. Through the combination of artificial intelligence and the expertise of our data scientists, we then calculate baselines (reference models used to compare actual and theoretical consumptions) with extreme precision and recommend corrective actions in-real time to the operators, all without touching the real assets.
How do your customers benefit from using METRON-EVA®?
Anne-Laure Daniel: Our solution gets the right information to the right people at the right time. With METRON-EVA®, every operator gets a personalized dashboard with specific notifications and recommendations. Because we make energy management a matter for everybody, we speed up the ability to act and react. In the long-term, this will lead to a real energy performance culture within the factory. Energy management can only become truly efficient when everybody is involved.
Jérôme Briend: Although energy efficiency is a very important topic for the industry, factories should still be able to focus on their main job: production. This is why we strongly support our customers on the energy management part: not only in tracking the potentials for saving energy, but also in organizing workshops and preparing monthly reviews. We do not just sell a software which the customers will be alone with, we sell a partnership.
What about METRON’s growth?
Anne-Laure Daniel: METRON was founded in 2013 from Vincent Sciandra and David Tagliabue’s shared vision. Starting in France, the startup grew very fast internationally. Up to now, we have nine offices worldwide: Paris, Milan, Dubai, Singapore, Mexico, Bogotá, São Paulo, Seoul and Tokyo –with more to come! Recently, METRON captured a place in the 2020 Global CleanTech 100, a list of the 100 leading companies in sustainable innovation. In April 2020, our solution METRON-EVA® Factory also received the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label, an award for solutions that have proven to be clean and profitable at the same time.
How strongly do you plan to expand in Germany? And how can 5-HT help you in this regard?
Jérôme Briend: Germany is a top priority for us. At the moment, we are launching several projects and are already working together with our first German customer, a large food and beverage company. Being part of 5-HT is a great opportunity for us to get in contact with additional German companies, especially from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
Anne-Laure Daniel: At METRON, we strongly believe industries can have a positive impact on the planet, while being profitable. To make this vision come true, we need to collaborate with other companies and innovators. Together, we will change our way of consuming energy and, thus, our way of dealing with the planet.