John Guthrie, Energy Efficiency Manager, ABB writes: In any industrial process, there is a certain amount of waste. Companies try to get it down but inevitably, whether its material or energy, something is lost.
That is the case with Smurfit Kappa, which produces cardboard packaging used to transport and display supermarket products such as beer bottles and tubs of butter. The products are stamped out of cardboard sheets and then printed, leaving behind a small amount of cardboard waste.
This is then shredded into smaller particles by fans and then blown into a baler for packing and disposal.
The problem was the large amount of energy needed to turn these 45 kW shredder fans. There might be waste in the production process but surely there could be savings on these fans?
Smurfit Kappa asked ABB authorised value provider, APDS, to look at this application, among others. APDS measured the power consumption of the 45 kW shredder fans and discovered they cost over £47,000 per annum to run.
Installing an ABB drive on one of the fans showed that if all three fans were fitted with drives, the plant could save nearly £22,000 per annum in energy costs on these fans alone.
APDS began by running the motor at 50 Hz and reduced it to 35 Hz before anyone noticed, achieving an energy saving of some 50 percent.
This was good but the company was concerned about the fans getting clogged up with cardboard waste if they ran at such a slow speed. The answer was to run the motor at full speed for two minutes on start-up to clear the accumulated debris. It could then be ramped down to 35 Hz for its normal energy saving operation.
Once this was cleared up, the two remaining shredder fans on the machine were also fitted with ABB drives.
A further four fans are in the process of being fitted and the company intends to install drives on the various other fans used on its machines.
The result is that the company is set to save over £60,000 in annual energy costs by installing drives on all its fans, together with over 776,000 kWhr of energy and 408 tonnes of CO2.
Now that’s what we call cutting waste.
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