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JAMES CROPPER has been manufacturing speciality paper at its mill near Kendal in Cumbria for around 150 years. The mill makes a wide variety of speciality papers and technical fibres for use in products such as insulation and fire retardant materials.
Until fairly recently, the company used two 55kW pumps to supply medium pressure water to various processes in the mill. The rate of delivery from each pump was controlled by a valve positioned downstream of the pump. This arrangement meant that the pumps were running constantly, irrespective of the level of demand for water. In addition, the valves placed a significant restriction on the flow of water through the pipes, even when fully open. James Cropper's personnel realised that variable speed drives could provide a more efficient alternative and called in Northumberland-based Quantum Controls Ltd to supply and commission a new drive-based control system.
The system has boosted efficiency at the mill in three ways.
First, the new drives vary the speed of the pump motors automatically to match the changing demand for water.
Second, the drives have allowed the old control valves to be removed, eliminating the previous flow restrictions. The company can now pump more water and meet its maximum demand using just one pump. The spare pump, fitted with its own variable speed drive, is now kept on standby to provide back-up in emergencies.
Third, the new system allows Cropper to reduce the standby pressure in its water system when there is no demand from the mill. Because it is now easier to control the pump output on demand, the standby pressure can be lowered.
The drives-based system is thus providing James Cropper with the same service as its previous installation, but uses much less energy. The project is saving the company around £20,000 a year in energy costs, and has paid for itself within a year, as well as reducing the number of pumps needed under normal circumstances from two to one.
Quantum Controls helps wallpaper factory save £27,000 in energy costs
A saving of £27,000 a year in energy costs is being achieved by a manufacturer of high quality wall coverings, following the installation of ABB drives by Quantum Controls.
Fine Décor, based in Cheshire, is one of the largest manufacturers of wallpaper in the UK and produces products for a range of leading brands. Greg Roberts, chief engineer and energy manager with the company, says: "I was keen to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. There were several areas of concern I wanted to investigate."
One of these areas was a large fan used to extract heat from one of the production processes. Run direct-on-line, it had no speed control and was extracting too much heat, resulting in both wasted electricity and a need to use more gas to compensate for the heat reduction.
Quantum Controls had been recommended to me," says Roberts. "I heard they had blue chip clients such as BT, Sky and Tesco and this gave me confidence in the company and its abilities."
Roberts asked Quantum Controls to perform a site survey, which logged energy use data and identified several applications that could reduce their energy consumption. Four ABB variable speed drives were supplied on hire to prove the energy savings possible. "Quantum proposed a package of drives to me and showed the calculated savings and payback we could expect. Based on the carbon dioxide it would be saving, the Carbon Trust offered a loan of £120,000, even though the capital cost was nowhere near this figure."
For the permanent installations, Quantum Controls installed nine ABB standard drives on six fan applications, saving over 9,000 kWhrs a week, giving an energy cost saving of just over £27,000 a year and a payback time of eight months.
Roberts adds: "We are very happy with the savings made and we may have more applications that can benefit from drives. We would definitely like to work with Quantum Controls again."