Energy Management Solutions Shouldn’t Be Complicated

We spend a substantial amount of our time talking about the complexities of our work. The terminology of our industry and the regulations behind utility incentives can act as barriers to facilities getting the assistance they need. Simplifying those complications is one of the reasons so many customers have turned to us in the past. We offer a single source response to energy management needs.

Often, the best answers are the simplest ones.

We provide consultation and performance assessments on most energy consumers in industrial systems. There are always multiple variables to consider, but it really boils down to two questions:

  • Where is the opportunity for energy reduction?
  • What is the most cost effective way to respond to the opportunities identified?

Even the most complex industrial process or piece of machinery can usually be addressed this way.

A Case Study in Energy Savings Opportunities

Here’s a real-world example: Injection molding is a manufacturing process that relies on injecting molten material into a mold. Let’s look at a quick breakdown of the injection molding process.

  1. During injection molding, thermoplastic material in the form of granules or pellets is fed into the injection molding machine via a hopper.
  2. At the entrance point, a screw rotates and moves them forward into the screw channels.
  3. From there, the granules are forced against the wall of a heated cylinder which melts the plastic two ways:
    • Conduction from heaters mounted alongside that cylinder; or
    • Friction-heat generated by the screw’s rotation.
  4. This friction varies with the amount of earlier rejected material being mixed with raw pellets and with the type of thermoplastic.

Conserving Heat to Cut Energy Costs

Injection molding machines have historically been sold and installed without insulation on the heater barrel. They’re sold this way because of that variation in temperature caused by the friction. The baseline heater barrel has electric resistance heater bands that are exposed to the ambient conditions of the facility.

In this case, it resulted in dramatic heat loss to the ambient air. The heat loss drove up electricity costs to maintain the heat of the barrel. The solution was to wrap the barrels in thermal insulation jackets to contain that heat at the process. The heat stays inside, meaning they need less power to maintain the temperature of the molten thermoplastic material.

That might sound like a lot of technical terms, but really it came down to a loss of heat and jacket to keep warm. With this example, these insulation jackets worked so well that the ambient temperature of the facility even dropped which made the operators excited as well. This project reduced annual operating costs by over $150,000 at no cost to the plant.

Long-Term Cost Savings With Simple Solutions

The regulations surrounding utility incentives and the terminology of our industry might be complex, but the team at Air Power USA makes it simple for you to start saving money. We even often find ways to do it without costing your facility any money at all. Do you already have an ongoing energy-saving project that needs funding? Unsure of all the opportunities that are out there?

To learn more about how we simplify your industrial process improvements and energy saving opportunities, contact Air Power USA today.