TÜV SÜD's energy efficiency experts assessed the efficiency of the use of electricity, gas and compressed air at forklift manufacturer Linde MH.
Resource efficiency in production is becoming increasingly significant as a competitive factor, and energy saving proves to be a continuous challenge. Linde Material Handling (MH) GmbH, Aschaffenburg, accepts and addresses this challenge by taking focused action. Last year, the company commissioned TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH to prepare an independent process analysis focused on energy efficiency.
Linde MH ranks among the world's foremost makers of forklift trucks and warehouse handling equipment. The company is also one of the most important producers of drives for agricultural and forestry machines. It maintains production and sales sites throughout the world and employed a total of 13,800 people in late 2011. Plant 1 produces cast components such as steering and drive axles for forklifts, and control blocks and transmission houses for hydraulic components.
End-to-end recording of processes
TÜV SÜD's analysis was aimed at end-to-end recording, evaluation and mapping of the actual energy efficiency of the plant. The analysis covered all technical systems and infrastructural facilities. The experts also calculated the volume of savings, taking into account the expenses involved in unlocking them.
Central facilities in the plant are two induction furnaces for the production of cast parts, where custom metal alloys are produced. Further installations include core shooting machines, forming machines, blasting facilities and a spray paint booth with integrated drying chamber. The main energy carriers used are electricity, natural gas and compressed air. The latter, in turn, is generated by power-driven compressors.
Measuring power demand by seconds
TÜV SÜD's analysis shows that the induction furnaces account for 50 per cent of the electricity and around 30 per cent of energy consumption. Given this, they also offer the largest potential for saving. The company already engages in continuous improvement of the melting process and is recording electricity consumption on a per-minute basis. However, connection to the building instrumentation and control systems provides for even more detailed data and improved transparency of energy flows. This facilitates the detection of further potentials for saving, including minimisation of idling times.
Linde MH is already showing excellent performance in terms of energy efficiency. However, close monitoring of the energy consumption of the electric furnaces by using building control systems may further reduce annual electricity costs. As far as compressed air is concerned, estimates reckon possible annual savings may amount to EUR 10,000 if the distribution system is further streamlined and production is optimised, for example by installing more efficient compressors.
TÜV SÜD's energy-efficiency expert Martin Hahn comments: "Investments in energy-saving measures and modern technology not only slash energy costs but also ensuregrowth and promote innovation."