One of the main commodities AFES looks into includes optimising assets and utilising them in the best possible way AFES utilises outstanding tech for asset facilities management
by LYDIA NATHAN
IN MALAYSIA, MMC Corp Bhd is a leading utilities and infrastructure group with diversified businesses under four divisions, namely ports and logistics, energy and utilities, and engineering and industrial and development.
As part of MMC Corp, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd — one of the leading environmental companies — aims to manage and reduce waste in manners that cause minimal impacts to the environment.
Its subsidiary, Alam Flora Environmental Solutions Sdn Bhd (AFES) in particular, plays an important role in managing assets and facilities efficiently at an optimum pace every day.
One of the biggest trendsetting movements this century is energy management system, the reduction of carbon emissions and an overall renewed focus on Mother Earth and its wellbeing.
AFES offers effective management of the system processes and practices of all technical, mechanical, electrical, civil, structural and architectural engineering facilities within the building. It operates at an optimum cost and efficiency, without compromising on safety and quality.
AFES has the competency to execute all the maintenance work to ensure a comfortable workplace for buildings users. Among the engineering competencies include registered electrical energy manager to perform energy efficiency initiative; engineers in mechanical, electrical and civil; and BO chargeman.
Energy Monitoring System
Environmental Technology and Solutions manager Ts Muhammad Rodzi Umar said one of the main commodities AFES looks into includes optimising assets and utilising them in the best possible way.
He said when looking at equipment in buildings, knowing how to monitor the electrical energy could make a huge difference on the bills, as well as impact the life cycle of the equipment.
“The Energy Monitoring System (EMS) is the best-automated system around. Its purpose is to collect data and monitor and optimise electrical energy consumption, so we can improve utilisation and increase the reliability of the equipment,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in a virtual interview recently.
According to Muhammad Rodzi, commercial buildings that do not use this system have proven to receive large and costly electricity bills at the end of every month.
“Considering the operating cost must be placed on top, especially with most looking at the bottom line, this is one of the ways to do it.
“For example, in a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) cooling system used for air conditioner, that alone consumes 40% to 50% of electrical energy,” he said.
He added that AFES uses Eniscope EMS by the British Energy Savings Technology from the UK which is currently installed at the DRB-Hicom Bhd Corporate Office in Glenmarie, totalling seven units in a strategic location at chiller room, low-voltage room and office area. Load apportionment analysis has been performed before installation takes place.
Muhammad Rodzi said the system consists of both the hardware and software, which is installed near the equipment being monitored to ensure it receives a clear signal for the energy and power.
“The software allows one to see real-time data for energy usage, with settings that authorise a person to set a threshold of a minimum and maximum value to trigger an alarm, which in turn utilises the equipment most efficiently,” he said.
He said similar to a cloud-based system, sensors are used to read the analogue signals which then projects it onto energy profile.
“We are very confident that the system is good, not only for us, but for our clients as well.
“Part of the criteria in choosing this system is the wireless connectivity, as it makes it easier to obtain signals. Another factor is its interface which is user-friendly to view all equipment. And lastly, the features inside help analyse data collected,” Muhammad Rodzi said.
He said companies showing concern for these issues are on the right path, steering an aim to reduce carbon emissions where possible.
“For our next round, we plan to package this system together with our contracts to not only give more value to clients, but also to create an awareness of how important these issues are today.
“So, post-pandemic, this will be one of the strategies and initiatives to reduce the bottom line for our clients,” Muhammad Rodzi said.
On another note, AFES is capable to conduct a detailed energy audit (DEA) in improving energy efficiency with cost-benefit analysis and action plans to reduce energy consumption for commercial and industrial buildings. DEA is an inspection survey of physical audit on equipment, room data survey, measurement of energy profile and analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building ecosystem.
Leveraging Condition Based Maintenance
For better efficiency, AFES has adopted the Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) system.
This is a maintenance strategy that monitors the actual condition of an asset to deciding what maintenance needs to be done.
For example, CBM will notify the need for maintenance only when certain indicators show signs of decreasing performance or upcoming failure.
For this, Muhammad Rodzi said the company partners CWorks, a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) specialist, which leverages the system.
“The system taps into the asset life span and can create a work request like a ticket. This request is then uploaded into the system, giving instructions on precisely what needs to be done or checked.
“The system also combines inventory management and can be used on the smallest asset to the largest, starting from light bulbs, chairs, tables, air conditioner, motor and pumps, and others,” he said.
The system has been installed in one of its premises in ICQS Bukit Kayu Hitam for the immigration, customs, quarantine and security border between Thailand and Malaysia.
“The good thing about CBM is it can communicate with CMMS as well,” Muhammad Rodzi said.
The system divides the teams into three areas, namely electrical engineers, civil engineers and mechanical engineers, who work all on-site. By following the schedule, it increases efficiency and productivity, while not only reduces time and cost, but also improves the life cycle of an asset.
Next in the Pipeline
Muhammad Rodzi said moving forward, the asset facilities management will bring the systems into one that can work together to communicate, send signals, provide data and information on operations.
He said currently, despite using EMS, CMMS and other third-party systems, the key will be moving it all into one.
A system that can monitor all three key elements is vital, which are people, process and machine.
“This will also require us having a command centre to monitor and ensure operations are running smoothly,” he said, adding that this is one of the aspirations this year for the company’s assets and infrastructure connectivity.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Rodzi also said the company is very supportive of the government’s plans for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) which will change the way businesses work and operate using automation.
The government has already embarked on IR4.0 in the manufacturing sector and soon it will grow to wider sectors, including commercial buildings.
“As part of the private sector, we have to move in tandem with the government, so plans and strategies align nicely together.
“In line with this, we want our role to be the introducer of new technology to our clients, so we can focus on maintenance while the company focuses on their business.
“We want to show initiative to clients to help them reduce energy consumption while moving towards the national agenda and we as a private sector are definitely in support of this,” Muhammad Rodzi concluded.