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Plan to increase production output & cut energy bills

06 February 2015

ABB is launching an all-new Energy Efficiency and Productivity Improvement Plan, aimed at providing step-by-step support for enhancing the performance of motor-driven applications using variable-speed drives and high efficiency electric motors.

The plan takes into account the often-overlooked productivity benefits that variable-speed drives bring.

"When drives were initially introduced some 40 years ago, the focus was on regulating motor speeds to improve production output,” says Dave Hawley, general manager for ABB’s UK motors and generators business. "It is only in later years that the focus on energy efficiency began to dominate. It is time to re-dress the balance and once again highlight the important features that variable-speed drives offer to improve productivity.”

Included within the 10-stage plan is an Energy and Productivity Appraisal that is undertaken by ABB and its network of authorised value providers.

The appraisal starts by outlining the scope of supply, focussing on processes and applications where significant energy savings can be made. These will most often be variable-torque applications that obey the cube law, running continuously and where flow is controlled by a mechanical means such as valves or dampers. The productivity part of the appraisal will look at both variable- and constant-torque loads, their control methods and where improvements such as reduced maintenance, increased availability or product quality can be made.

The next step is monitoring and data collection which involves identifying applications that may be running inefficiently. An ABB engineer will look not only at fixed-speed motors but also any drives currently being used, to see if the application is running at maximum efficiency and productivity levels. The selected applications may be monitored in order to accurately determine which applications are consuming the most energy or operating inefficiently. This stage may be performed over a seven-day period, to gain a complete picture of the plant’s typical energy use and productivity profile.

Data analysis takes the findings and identifies potential savings using dedicated software. The findings are presented, with tables and graphs to help identify where savings are likely to arise. Among the data available includes present energy usage, areas of potential savings, payback time if an investment is made in drives and or motors and carbon dioxide emission reduction.

Recommendations consist of an action plan, usually comprising an Executive Summary and a detailed engineer’s report, highlighting applications that can benefit the most from using VSDs. The figures will be translated into monthly savings, and there will be detailed recommendations for fitting particular drives or motors. The report shows the expected payback time on fitting new equipment.

Implementation uses the recommendations from the appraisal and identifies the correct drive and motor for the respective application. ABB can help with the installation and start-up or commissioning of the drive and motor. ABB’s network of dedicated authorised value providers are fully trained and experienced in these services.

Verification and follow-up analyses the new equipment fitted, and looks at the energy savings achieved against the predictions shown in the engineer’s report. This will also help justify the investment in drives and electric motors.