Glass Toughening

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Quantum Controls helps glass maker cut £46,000 off energy bill

A glass manufacturer has saved over £46,000 a year on the energy costs of its glass hardening plant following the installation of ABB variable speed drives from Quantum Controls.

Derw Glass based in Pembrokeshire, manufactures double glazing units for windows as well as a toughened glass product for uses such as roof glazing and curtain walls.

The glass toughening plant has two 160 kW fan motors originally running at fixed speed. Derw Glass was concerned about the large amount of power being used by these motors. Factory Manager David Pinkney says: "Quantum Controls contacted us about the possible energy savings we could make using variable speed drives. We asked them to investigate the plant and assess any saving that could be made.

Quantum Controls monitored one of the fans for nine days, both fans run equally for the process and so the kWh consumption could be doubled to give an overall usage. Taking electricity costs at 9p per kWh day rate and 7p per kWh night rate, Quantum found that the fan cost around £812 per week to run. Running both fans cost of just over £1,625 per week. With the fans running for 50 weeks, the total running cost for both fixed speed fans would be £81,292 per annum. As well as consuming nearly a million kilowatt hours, the fans would also be responsible for producing over half a million kg of CO2.

Quantum supplied, installed and commissioned two ABB variable speed drives to the plant, allowing it to observe the effect of speed control on both fans at once. It also again monitored the fans , this time over a two week period, to give an average for operation times, fan hours run and kWh consumption.

The findings showed that running the fan applications with variable speed drives compared to that of fixed speed would save £46,543 a year, a saving of 57 per cent. This equates to over 580,000 kWh and nearly 326,000 kg of CO2.

The permanent ABB drives are now installed. "We are happy with the results Quantum Controls have achieved for us," says Pinkney. These large savings give Derw a payback time of only 0.8 years.

Quantum Controls' hire drive saves production for glass plant

Quantum Controls has saved a glass manufacturer from suffering a major loss of production after working over the weekend to replace a failed variable speed drive. The variable speed drive was controlling a fan employed by Custom Glass of Merseyside to cool toughened glass used in double glazing. When the drive failed on a Saturday, Custom Glass immediately called its maintenance contractor Total Plant Analysis.

Darren Oakley, director of Total Plant Analysis, says: "We attended the site on Saturday and confirmed that the existing drive had failed. We then called Quantum Controls who visited the site that afternoon. By 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, Quantum Controls had replaced the failed drive, with a 250 kW ABB industrial drive, which was up and running on site; an excellent turn round time.

Total Plant Analysis works closely with Quantum Controls, integrating the drives they supply with customers' equipment. "In this case, we could not integrate this particular drive as we were working on another Quantum Controls drive elsewhere," says Oakley. "Quantum integrated their hire drive with the customer's system and supplied a complete turnkey package. They saved Custom Glass from a major disruption to production, as the glass hardening plant feeds three other production lines in the organisation.

As a partner of the Carbon Trust, Quantum Controls was also able to help Custom Glass procure a loan for a permanent replacement drive and also signed a 12 month maintenance contract to maintain it.

As well as getting back into operation quickly, Custom Glass will soon have a new ABB variable speed drive running the application, which is more reliable and will give greater energy saving than their old equipment. They will also benefit from the excellent spares and service support of ABB.

Glass Toughening Plants See Energy Savings Using Variable Speed Drives

Quantum Controls Ltd have recently installed ABB variable speed drives and motors for several glass toughening plants looking at cutting electricity costs across their glass manufacturing process.

After initial site audits conducted by our trained engineers, it was found that the majority of all electricity used on the sites was consumed by the electric motors driving various heaters, pumps and most of all the main furnace quenching fans.

Quantum installed energy monitoring equipment over a 1 week period to record the existing KW power consumed with the furnace fan running at fixed speed. Quantum Hire department then supplied, installed and commissioned a 250kW ABB Variable Speed Drive on to the fan application. We then installed the energy monitor once again and took a further 1 weeks log of energy usage when driving the motor through the hire variable speed drive for energy comparison

Data results showed that energy savings of over 40% were achieved utilising the hire drive to slow the fan to a reduced speed matching the requirements of the thickness of glass being treated. The fan damper system previously used to control the air flow was fixed fully open and total speed / flow control was set via the variable speed drive. Thus giving greater savings the thicker grade of glass treated. And less flow required.

With the cost of new drives and installation the payback period to upgrade the fan was 1.2 years; the fan is now running with a new ABB drive supplied and installed by QC Ltd and constantly providing significant savings to the production

Energy Saving Analysis

Many companies are interested in saving on electricity costs, especially with the advent of 30% increases year on year of energy from their current suppliers.

Many of these companies have an initial energy audit done to assess where they can save money on specific applications. The audit will often recommend the use of variable speed drives as the ideal way to reduce costs, yet, how does the user know if the report will save as much the reports says?

Before committing to what could be a major purchase, company's can hire the drives they need from QC hire and see for themselves what the results will be. They can then feel confident enough to make the investment and reap the rewards.