Driving down energy costs

With the carbon tax biting, many manufacturers are looking at any way they can cut down energy use.

One way to battle rising energy costs is by focusing on industrial motors and drives.

Over the last decade motor and drives technology has made massive bound forward, particularly in regards to efficiency and the day to day costs of doing business.

According to motor and drives manufacturer Bonfiglioli "even straightforward initiatives – such as the adoption of variable speed drivers instead of fixed speed drives – can produce savings that will more than offset the costs of the Carbon Tax currently imposed on Australia".

However "the biggest problem is that the technology is growing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with all the changes and understand which is the correct option for individual companies, especially if they haven't looked at their options for a few years".

It went on to state that "perhaps the government has role here in sponsoring holistic audits of company energy use which would undoubtedly produce major savings through the use of advanced technologies, such as, in our case, advanced and versatile VVVF and Vector electronic drive technology, including the Vector Controlled Inverters SYN, SLP, ACT, VCB series".

For quick energy savings on site companies can see if they have any fans or pumps that are not being controlled by a variable speed drive, where the flow of the pump is usually being controlled by a valve or flow regulator.

"Installation of a variable speed drive on these applications has one of the biggest potentials to save money and supply a quick payback time by reducing motor speed and thus reducing motor current," Bonfiglioli said.

It added that variable speed drives are generally between 94 and 98 per cent efficient.

In stop-start operations it can chew through power, drawing five to seven times full load current, which can fatigue motor windings, generates high heat in the motor and in some cases causes supply grid voltage dips, which may even lead to penalties.

Variable speed drives however limit the starting current to between 150 per cent and 200 per cent of full motor current, which means users can generate full motor torque down to virtually zero speed, which will reduce high inrush currents and motor fatigues.

For instance "by putting a variable speed drive onto a common centrifugal pump and reducing the speed by around 20 per cent, users can see power savings of around 30 to 50 per cent".

At the end of the day it simply about "getting your business to run more efficiently and reducing your running cost over both the short and long term".