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Plastics

Quantum Control Boosts Energy Savings for Plastic Recycling Company

Regain Polymers

Quantum Controls have helped Regain Polymers of Castleford, West Yorkshire convert their plastic extruder machine from DC motor to a new ABB AC Motor and Variable Speed Drive, creating an annual energy cost saving of £49,000.

Regain Polymers is one of the largest plastic recycling companies in the UK, currently recycling around 50,000 tonnes of plastic per year. The company turns waste plastic materials such as polypropylene, high density polyethylene and polystyrene into new pellets which are then used to produce products such as water pipes and wheelie bins.

The company's production is based on seven extruder lines. As part of its programme to cut energy use and carbon emissions, it had identified one of its extruder lines as a prime candidate for improvement. This was based on a 400 kW DC motor and the company wanted to convert it to AC operation. The conversion to AC will also eliminate the need to replace the DC brushes every three months, resulting in a saving of a further £2,500 a year.

Regain Polymers is one of the largest plastic recycling companies in the UK, currently recycling around 50,000 tonnes of plastic per year. The company turns waste plastic materials such as polypropylene, high density polyethylene and polystyrene into new pellets which are then used to produce products such as water pipes and wheelie bins.

The company's production is based on seven extruder lines. As part of its programme to cut energy use and carbon emissions, it had identified one of its extruder lines as a prime candidate for improvement. This was based on a 400 kW DC motor and the company wanted to convert it to AC operation. The conversion to AC will also eliminate the need to replace the DC brushes every three months, resulting in a saving of a further £2,500 a year.

Regain Polymers is one of the largest plastic recycling companies in the UK, currently recycling around 50,000 tonnes of plastic per year. The company turns waste plastic materials such as polypropylene, high density polyethylene and polystyrene into new pellets which are then used to produce products such as water pipes and wheelie bins.

The company's production is based on seven extruder lines. As part of its programme to cut energy use and carbon emissions, it had identified one of its extruder lines as a prime candidate for improvement. This was based on a 400 kW DC motor and the company wanted to convert it to AC operation. The conversion to AC will also eliminate the need to replace the DC brushes every three months, resulting in a saving of a further £2,500 a year.

As an ABB Drives Alliance member, Quantum Controls were asked to investigate the extruder for possible conversion to AC. Quantum installed a data logger which established that the daytime electricity costs for the DC motor were £424.

Quantum fitted a 400 kW ABB AC 4 pole squirrel cage motor and variable-speed drive, together with a new mains cable. Following the installation of the AC motor and drive, energy costs dropped to £260 per day, a saving of around £163 based on a 24 hour a day production.

Quantum offer AC Drives and Motors for hire, with before and after monitoring along with full turnkey installation and commissioning. "This means we can prove actual savings for our clients and give a factual payback period prior to any capital investment "says Peter Stelling, Quantum Director. "This proves invaluable when clients are faced with the decision of making the investment on new equipment as they know exactly the saving they will achieve"

With 300 days total production a year, this would give a total annual saving of £49,000. This would be an energy reduction of nearly 870,000 kWh per year, as well as saving over 488 tonnes of CO2.

The AC motor runs at the same speed as the previous DC motor, with savings coming from the improved torque ratio and efficiency of the AC drive and motor.

Ian Fenwick, Asset Care Manager for the plant, said: "Quantum estimated that we would get a 20 percent energy saving from the project and we are getting above this figure with the AC motor and drive fitted, so we are more than pleased with the project."

To find out what savings you can achieve switching your existing DC applications to AC contact 0330 9000 247 or email p.stelling@quantum-controls.co.uk

ABB drives save £80,000 a year for plastic extruding company

An £80,000 reduction in its annual electricity bill is estimated by a manufacturer of extruded plastic products, following the installation of ABB AC motors and low voltage AC drives.

Alma Products, based in Runcorn, Cheshire, supplies extruded plastic products to the food industry. Operating in a highly cost-conscious market, Alma was facing rising electricity costs that threatened to make it less competitive.

David Green, engineer manager with Alma, asked ABB Motor Service Partner, Quantum Controls, to look at the energy use of its extruders and recommend options for cutting the company’s energy consumption. The extruders were running in a DC drive system which drew a load whether it was required or not, because DC motors draw a current even while producing zero torque. The maintenance cost of the DC motors was also an issue, as it far out weighed the AC motor option.

As the project was proposed for Carbon Trust funding, a precise energy save reduction had be obtained for converting from DC to AC on the extruder lines. Alma Products obtained two ‘estimates’ from other manufacturers, these had a savings difference of nearly £60,000 per annum between them.

Quantum Controls were approached for advice and a hire trial was proposed to prove the savings before committing to a purchase and the Carbon Trust funding.

One of the DC systems was monitored by Quantum Controls over a two week period with a 3 phase energy data logger on the input supply to the DC system. Quantum Controls then fitted a temporary ABB 132 kW AC drive and ABB 132 kW motor and monitored it for a further two weeks for comparison.

The test results showed that the AC drive had saved just over 25 percent of consumed energy compared to that of the DC drive system. This would give an estimated total saving of over £80,000 when all four main extrusion lines were converted to AC drives.

Peter Stelling of Quantum Controls says: "We recommended an AC drive in place of the DC drive as it would give maintenance savings and energy savings, as the AC drive system is more efficient than that of the DC.

Following the tests, Quantum Controls was awarded the contract to fit motors and drives on all four extruders. The project was funded by a £100,000 loan from the Carbon Trust. "Quantum was extremely helpful," says Green. "They wrote the application for the Carbon Trust loan to suit our requirements. We were very pleased with the performance of Quantum.

The drives are fed from 4 to 20 mA signals from pressure transducers before and after the extruder pump. The signals provide for speed control in order to maintain the correct back pressure. This ensures that the correct amount of material is being fed to the extruder and there is no danger of over pressures causing damage to the machine.

Overall, Green expects a two year payback on the project.

There is another potential benefit of the drives installation, in that it gives us more information on what is happening with the process," says Green. "In time, this will help us calculate throughput and gives us a better idea of the load the machine is handling and how efficiently we are making use of its production capacity.

Alma intends to use Quantum Controls for an expansion of the project to other extruders and other companies in the group may also use them.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.

DC TO AC Challenge

The Quantum Controls Ltd Hire Department was recently invited to look at a possible DC to AC Conversion on various plastic extruders for a manufacturer supplying largely into the food industry.

Because of the very price conscious food industry and the rising costs of electricity, energy saving was decided to be looked at to remain competitive in the market.

With the clients electricity bill exceeding £600,000 per annum, the main extruder motors were looked at first. The client had already had the approval from the Carbon Trust for an interest free loan; all that had to be done now was to prove the savings.

Before Quantum's Hire Department were involved, the client had 2 other manufacturers looking at the possible savings, both came back with figures showing savings, the problem was that there was some £60,000 difference between the figures supplied by the other 2 manufacturers

Solution

Quantum were then contacted and upon our first visit offered not to calculate the figures but prove them using one of our Hire VSD panels and AC motor rated at 132KW.

The DC system was monitored over a period of 2 weeks with one of our energy recording meters and then the data saved in excel format.

Quantum Controls then fitted a temporary AC drive and motor, replacing the DC drive and motor system and commissioned to run with the existing PLC operation with closed loop control, taking the speed reference from the extruder pressure transducers.

Again the AC system was monitored over a 2 week period and recordings saved electronically for comparison

When we compared the 2 sets of recordings we found that the AC system had saved just over 25% of consumed energy compared to that of the DC. This meant possible saving of over £80K if all 4 main lines were converted.

Quantum, due to the ability of hiring out equipment to prove the savings were then awarded the contract to upgrade all 4 lines with a Carbon Trust funded project worth £100K.

Plastics

Benefits

The loan was paid back by the amount of energy savings seen by the end user, as in this case as an example, £80K saved per annum equals saving of £6,666.00 per month so the loan is paid back at £6,666.00 per month.

This is why the energy save calculation for Carbon Trust loans is very important and the hire fleet gives the opportunity of proving those savings.

The payback time on the project was less than 18 months and the hire drive was left on the application until the permanent unit was fitted as this was more cost effective for the client rather than revert back to his inefficient DC Drives

Not only were the energy savings seen but also further savings on DC maintenance, the factory noise and heat level was greatly reduced and more products can be produced at a quicker rate of production

Quantum Controls Hire were not only able to show the savings, but prove the application of changing from DC to AC, was a viable one not only financially but electrically and mechanically too.

Recent conversion from DC to AC motor and drive combination for plastics company on the Alpha line sees great results from energy report

Overview

Previous 360KW, 1840RPM, DC motor supplying plastic extruder machine on Alpha line has been replaced with AC equipment to reduce overall energy consumption.

From previous similar applications we have seen energy KWH reduction by converting from DC to AC control of approximately 25%

We have carried out energy logging on the previous DC system and the new AC system and this report compares the two. Our report is based on an average KWH cost of 6.188p day and 4.085p night per KWH.

DC Report

Power usage – Amps
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Power usage - KHW

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Cost - £

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CO2 - kg

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DC Summary –

KWH usage of 46,857.5 over 6 days and 4 hours =

Hour rate calculated as follows –

46,857.5KWH ÷ 148 hours = average of 316.60KWH

Day rate calculated as follows –

316.60KWH x 24 hours = 7,598.40KWH per day with an average cost of £423.95 approximately

AC Report

Power usage – Amps

Graph
Power usage - KWH

Graph

Cost - £

Graph

CO2 - kg

Graph

Graph

AC Summary –

KWH usage of 28,804.3 over 6 days and 3 hours =

Hour rate calculated as follows –

28,804.3KWH ÷ 147 hours = average of 195.94KWH

Day rate calculated as follows –

195.94KWH x 24 hours = 4,702.56KWH per day with an average cost of £260.40 approximately

Overall DC to AC Summary

DC day costs = £423.95

AC day costs = £260.40

AC day cost savings = £163.55 average based on a 24 hour day production.

Based on 300 days per annum on average would equate to £49,065 saved per annum

Also saved –

2,895.84KWH per day

Based on 300 days per annum on average would equate to 868,752KWH saved per annum, 488,238.1 CO2 (kg)