Three engineering companies from the UK and Ireland have joined forces to help businesses in the plastics industry "conquer soaring energy prices."
Advantage Control, based in Northern Ireland, APDS from Bristol and Midlands-based Sentridge Control say they are transforming working practices across the industry and saving businesses thousands of pounds by converting businesses from DC to AC equipment.
“Using DC equipment was once the only option for high-level speed control needed for production processes. DC equipment comes with costly overheads as annual inspection costs and spares can become expensive for maintenance teams. Noise pollution on the factory floor can also be an issue as these motors are often noisy to run,” commented Brian Dick, from Sentridge Control.
The companies say that with advances in modern AC technology, there is now an alternative solution. “Converting motors from DC to AC is a painless process,” explained Alan Jones from APDS. “It can be done swiftly and efficiently during production downtime and payback on investment is on average less than two years. Reduction in energy bills not only lowers overhead costs but also helps meet stringent Climate Change Levies and of course, quieter AC motors also improve the working environment.”
A number of plastics processors are reportedly seeing the benefits of switching, say the companies, including one company based in Chippenham said to have made a 50 percent saving following a production review.
“The largest extrusion machine at the factory was unreliable and very energy hungry. It was running a DC 400kW motor, which was proving unreliable and required frequent drive belt maintenance. After an assessment of the production process, a recommendation was made to replace the old DC motor with an AC 132kW, which was adequate for the client’s production process,” Jones continued. “The result was power consumption was more than halved without any loss of performance. The larger drive pulley removed ‘belt slippage’ previously the main cause of downtime and maintenance of the machine.”
Additionally, a plastic extrusions company based in Belfast reportedly saved £20,000 a year in energy and maintenance bills after switching from DC to AC, with the added bonus of a much quieter factory floor.
Advantage Control, APDS and Sentridge all offer free on-site energy audits across the UK and Ireland, without any obligation to make a commitment to carry out the upgrade.