Posted by Tom Fitz
Tom Fitz
Tom utilizes over eighteen years of manufacturing experience to help companies c
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on Tuesday, 28 February 2012
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Energy Hogs of Manufacturing - Part III

Equipment & Machinery – If it has a plug, it's using energy

In my previous two blogs, I've analyzed the inefficient operation of two of the four primary energy hogs in a typical manufacturing setting – compressed air and HVAC. Today, I will direct my attention towards the third string of the quartet – the actual equipment and machinery.

Almost all finished goods go through some form of processing prior to being sold that typically warrants the use of equipment and/or machinery. We all know with age, equipment doesn't operate as efficiently as when newly purchased. Such inefficient operation will lead to increased energy usage, higher operating costs and a greater number of quality defects.

The following tips will not only reduce energy usage, but should also prolong the life of the equipment currently used in your operation.

  • Motors – To optimize performance, equipment should be run within set parameters outlined in the corresponding operating manuals to maximize motor efficiencies. When specifying new equipment, or modifying existing, look to upgrade motors to those with a high-efficiency rating. An example would be Baldor's Premium Efficient motor.
  • Improve OEEOverall Equipment Effectiveness is a calculation to evaluate how effectively a manufacturing operation is utilized. It serves as a way to identify how to improve the performance of and operation in terms of performance, availability and quality.
  • Preventive Maintenance - Institute scheduled cleaning and maintenance of the equipment to ensure all debris and foreign material that could affect performance is removed. Maintaining lubrication levels, belts, filters, gears, pistons, motors, gauges, etc. is critical to the efficient operation of machinery. Preventive maintenance is much more effective than reactive maintenance which usually occurs when a machine breaks down and is out of commission for a much longer period of time.
  • Run time – Only have the system in operation during work hours. Power off equipment when not needed – i.e. during scheduled breaks, lunch, and at the end of shifts. Most machines come with simple on/off switches, while more automated systems have HMI's that can power down the machines by pushing a key on the touch screen monitor.
  • Fix air leaks – If the aspects of the machine require compressed air, make sure any detected leak is eliminated immediately. If motors are operated with compressed air, perhaps think about replacing them with high efficiency electric motors where applicable to see some tremendous gains in energy efficiency.

Many other steps can be taken with the ultimate goal being to improve the efficiency of your machinery and equipment. Remember, efficiency directly correlates to operating costs; so improve the performance of your equipment and reap the rewards.