According to a recent study, which involved enterprises in the manufacturing sector throughout Europe, it has clearly emerged that electricity is the main variable cost.
Machinery, lighting, heating and refrigeration are just some of the items: for plastic processing industries, energy ranks third among the budgeted costs on average. A fact that must make us reﬂect on the need to adopt virtuous practices and more advanced and efficient technologies, in order to be able to optimize the available resources and thus reduce consumption.
The objective is twofold: on the one hand, increasing the company’s economic performance to become more competitive on the market; on the other hand, reducing the impact on the environment, by absorbing less energy from the mains and by cutting waste.
So let us see how to reduce energy consumption while improving productivity.
As an example, we selected some inhouse tests made on our machines to give a performance index, by comparing installed power values (kW) and motors.I'D LIKE TO REQUEST DATA SHEET
Choosing the right instruments is the first step in optimizing the processes and in limiting electricity costs. For example, using a large extruder to produce small profiles is a waste of energy and money: each polymer and each mixing requires extensive testing to determine which solution is best based on technical characteristics and screw geometry. Speed is also a parameter to consider: the consumption of an extruder is reduced to the minimum when it operates at the maximum speed for which it was designed, that corresponds to the point of greatest mechanical efficiency. Among the main factors we certainly must not forget the age of machinery and the conditions of wear, which can lead to greater energy dispersion and therefore to significantly higher costs. But even if they are new, extruders are not all the same and the solutions available on the market are several and different. The MULTIDRIVE system, introduced by Bausano in the early Eighties, allows cutting energy consumption for the same performance, subdividing the torsional effort and the torque onto the driveshafts. A technology that is still the core of Bausano’s twin-screw extruders.
In 2017, the IEC (International Electro-technical Commission) made the I.E.3 standard mandatory for the electric motors installed on extrusion lines. This is a significant step forward in terms of technological adaptation, but there are already instruments capable of guaranteeing significantly higher levels of energy efficiency. The new Bausano Nextmover lines are, in fact, equipped with synchronous I.E.3 motors, which are more compact and dynamic and feature much higher efficiency if compared to traditional asynchronous motors, which are controlled by an inverter and resulted excellent in the entire speed and load range. An investment that translates into immediate energy savings of 30-35% and which in turn is a new and valuable resource for the company growth.
In extrusion lines, the barrel is traditionally heated by direct contact with electric resistance heating elements. A system that has a number of limits, first of all high dispersion as well as high thermal inertia and poor uniformity of heat on barrels. With this method the temperature of the material always remains around 20 °C lower than that of the barrel, and it is difficult to achieve energy efficiency levels above 70%. By applying the principles of electromagnetic induction to the extrusion process, Bausano created Smart Energy System, the first contactless barrel heating system. The metal is exposed to an alternating electromagnetic field generated by special coils that line the barrel and produce parasitic currents at the inside (also called Foucault currents) through the movement of the magnetic field and which, in turn, generate heat leaving the outer surface cool to the touch. The result is faster and more uniform heating of the barrel and thus of the processed material, which can reach higher temperatures this way. But the real advantage concerns the efficiency standard, which can reach 95%, for a 35% net energy saving.
In order to be able to reduce energy waste and optimize production, it is necessary to accurately know the consumption of each single phase of the process, in order to identify the weak points and malfunctions and take actions accordingly. Not an easy task considering the size and complexity of some machines and the need to avoid costly downtime to disassemble, examine and test individual components. With the aim of providing companies with a reliable screening tool, Bausano developed Digital Extruder Control 4.0, a system for monitoring the energy performance of the extruder and of the whole end of the line. A highly innovative technology that meets the most recent vertical integration requirements provided for by Industry 4.0. All parameters can be viewed in real time and it is possible to intervene at any time, even remotely, in order to manage the power of the engines, the temperature control, the definition of alarms and safety thresholds and to consult and store data and consumption statistics. If we want to reduce electricity consumption in the industry, there are several points to leverage and wide margins for improvement. Everything is played out on the innovation and quality of the technologies used: the higher the quality and energy efficiency of these technologies, the safer and more profitable the investment for the company.
Each of our projects derives from well-deﬁned technical requirements and production targets that may diﬀer from time to time. This is why each extruder is unique, even diﬀerent from the others belonging to the same series. What never changes is the ability to optimise production, cutting down costs and passing any tests with exceptional results.
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