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Energy-Saving Green Schemes, Part II

By: Brad Kuvin

Saturday, May 01, 2010
 
Last month we offered several relatively easy moves metalformers can make to save money while going green—information gathered from a brief survey of a handful of forward-thinking metalformers. Here’s more energy-saving advice, right from the source.

A manufacturer of washers, shims and stampings, Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing, Bamberg, SC, recently put its four air compressors under the control of a PLC that monitors air-pressure levels at all times. The PLC starts and stops the units as needed. The shop uses compressors to blow parts out of its compound dies.

In addition to adding the PLC, the firm also revised its pneumatic system to use a much larger storage/reserve tank than before to alleviate some of the on-off cycling. Air lines were expanded to equalize air pressure throughout the plant. Power consumption to drive the compressors has been reduced so much that the system overhaul will pay for itself in less than 2 yr.

Cleveland, OH stamper Talan Products explained to us its focus on recycling, by first contracting a company to take away its recyclables mixed rather than having to sort them. The firm also acquired a cardboard baler, reducing trash-hauling fees by $3000/yr.

To reduce energy costs, Talan—a member of E4S (Entrepreneurs for Sustainability)—modified its air-compression system with bigger pipes and smaller pumps. New air curtains at drive-in dock bays will result in a 3-yr. ROI of 200 percent, while new metal-halide high-bay lighting installed with T5 fluorescent bulbs will reduce the plant’s electric bill by 73 percent. The stamper’s also adding oil-containment units to presses to capture overspray, reducing use and easing cleanup.

In New Jersey, metalformer Weiss-Aug received a $9000 rebate from the state’s Smart Start Building program to replace 1980’s vintage 50-hp air compressors with new 75-hp variable-frequency drive units that promise to reduce air consumption and improve efficiency.

Lastly, consider what Ford Motor Co.’s doing to conserve energy throughout its vast network of manufacturing facilities. Since 2000, the company’s U.S. factories have slashed energy consumption by a whopping 35 percent, and during 2009 its overall energy efficiency improved by 4.6 percent, saving the company $15 million.

Its newest project: a personal-computer power-management program that is expected to save Ford $1.2 million. Software called NightWatchman will centrally control power settings on laptop and desktop computers, and will shut down computer systems when not in use, particularly overnight and on weekends.

Smart, simple and savvy money-saving solutions that if you’re not already leveraging, why not start today?

 


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