The thought of industrial waste generally conjures up images like those of waste water being pumped from a manufacturing plant. While this is considered industrial waste, a larger waste product of industry can better be measured by the cost of the finished product. A manufacturing plant that is not energy-efficient will have a higher cost per product than a plant that has been updated and regularly maintained.
Since the bulk of manufacturing is done by pneumatics, a plant that has not been properly maintained or that has management that is too focused on performance may be missing out on larger profits. When the cost of manufacturing is lowered, the profit margin rises.Lowering Costs Raises Profits In order to lower the costs of manufacturing, the equipment must be maintained or replaced as it wears out. A company that is serious about making the most of its equipment will not hesitate to make adjustments and upgrades as needed regardless of the initial cost.
Focusing on Efficiency Rather than Performance
According to reports from the United States Department of Energy, at least $5 billion is spent by manufacturers every year in some type of pneumatic system. The old adage of being focused on performance rather than efficiency can no longer apply to general manufacturing. The cost of using poorly equipped or maintained compression systems is higher than the return of forcing a non-efficient system to perform at its maximum peak.
With all the talk of ‘going green’ and other eco-friendly conversations, manufacturers need to become aware of where they can improve their efficiency. The reduction of energy wasted will reduce the amount of emissions from the plant. Changes in the way the plant operates will not only put it in a favorable eye with the public, but it will lower the costs of the products.
Reduce Energy Loss
There are a number of ways that a manufacturer can lower the amount of energy that it loses daily from a compressed air system.
• Make the pressure fit the job
• Recirculate air
• Check for leaks
• Reduce cylinder sizes
• Shorten air lines
When a manufacturer uses forced air to deliver the power to operate the machine, there are numerous ways that energy can be conserved. A simple placement of decentralized valves will help to shorten the air lines. Tighter control over air flow will reduce the waste. Lines should be less than 10-feet in length.
The force of air is not the same for all applications, and those applications that need less air waste energy if they are driven by the same force as a larger application. A pressure regulator can help significantly reduce wasted pressure.
The easiest way for a manufacturer to reduce wasted energy is by checking all of the lines for leaks. As equipment ages, seals begin to deteriorate. Replacing worn equipment is a quick way to boost profits. Valves that do not fit well should be replaced.
The Rising Costs of Energy
The cost of energy is volatile and is the result of conditions that are out of the consumer’s hands. Between unrest in the Middle East, manipulation of the markets by investors and other unnatural causes, the price of energy will never be a stable factor when forecasting a budget.
While budgeting for energy costs will never be an exact science, consumers and manufacturers would do better to focus on the environmental impact they have on the planet in order to save money on energy.
Consumers can take many steps towards making their homes efficient through solar heating, better insulation, energy-efficient windows and turning lights off in rooms that are unoccupied.
It is a larger task for manufacturers, but they can focus on upgrading their pneumatic systems, which according to the United States Department of Energy can be responsible for 20 to 35 percent of their energy loss.
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