More manufacturers are facing energy efficiency requirements. Sometimes this is a matter of government incentives or even legal demands. Sometimes it’s a customer who has made a bold statement about sustainability and it looking to you to help them walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Sometimes it’s your own company’s sustainability initiatives.
Increasing efficiency is not a problem in and of itself. With enough funding and an open mind, most machines can be made more energy efficient.
And there’s the rub. Typically, the desire for greater energy efficiency comes not with enough funding, but with budget cuts. Industry experts say that manufacturers are all for energy efficient machines, and it is one of the criteria used to choose new machinery when it’s time to upgrade, but that most companies aren’t willing to pay more for energy efficiency. Most companies are also unwilling to retrofit existing facilities for the sake of energy savings. Balancing budget limitations and energy savings is tough.
What’s the solution?
First, before you even look at the machinery, look at the factory itself. Some questions to ask:
- Are we lighting the entire plant throughout the workday, even if the offices are empty for half or two thirds of the shifts?
- Are we lighting every corridor, even though some are rarely traveled?
- Are we heating and cooling all the spaces, including those where there are neither people nor materials that need controlled temperatures?
That’s just the starting point. An energy audit will probably find air leaks, opportunities to reclaim lost heat, and many more sources of energy waste. Ending energy waste cuts costs, too; perhaps stopping a few wasteful habits will help free up funds for increasing the machinery’s energy efficiency.
In the meantime, if you have Indramat motion control systems in place, we’re here to help you fix them.