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improving film quality and plant output rates. “Water cooling allows more energy to be recovered, because the water moves in a closed circuit. Unlike air, it cannot escape. We have already sold some machinery with this system,” says Herschbach. Film production systems represent a huge financial

investment and most new installations have a working lifetime of 30 years or more, says Herschbach. For that reason, W&H retrofits its latest technologies both to existing equipment it supplied to customers and to systems supplied by others. Sustainability and energy saving has also been a

Above: Machine makers such as Brückner offer system support to optimise energy use

Sustainability, according to Dr Christof Herschbach, head of business development and marketing at film machinery maker Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H), is the natural outcome of all development work for any machinery manufacturer and goes hand-in-hand with production efficiency. The big change in recent years is due to the rising cost of energy, which has lifted energy efficiency up customers‘ list of priorities. “For our customers, sustainability and efficiency are

Centre: Ulrich Reifenhaüser, VDMA – We

have a respon- sibility to use energy


two sides of the same coin, and so they are for us, too. If we build a machine that is even more efficient, works faster, produces even less waste and recycles the small amount of waste it does produce, reusing it immediately, that machine saves resources and hence also cost,” he says. The company’s most recent

Lower right: Christof

Herschbach, W&H – Sustain- ability and efficiency are

two sides of the same coin

development in this area is its energy monitor, which it showed at its in-house exhibition last year. Designed to provide machinery users with a transparent view into the production process, it provides a reading of energy usage of each stage of production and has been well received by customers. “If you can clearly see where things are not running as well as they might, it is much easier to get opera- tives to change how they work,” says Herschbach.

Cooling is a major cost for any

plastics processing operation and this is an area that W&H has been examining for some time. Cooling the film using water directly rather than air is one alternative option, which offers the additional benefit of

44 INJECTION WORLD | September 2013

high development priority for injection machinery maker Sumitomo SHI Demag’s engineering team for some time, according to Thomas Brettnich, the company’s head of technical development. The most obvious evidence of this can be seen in its energy-sav- ing drive technologies, which are being introduced across the company’s machine range. However, Brettnich says the company has also seen that customers are operating their equipment for longer than in the past so it is also placing a greater focus on retrofit options.

Processing under pressure “Plastics manufacturers are under enormous cost pressures, not least because end users are increasingly asking for evidence of their environmental credentials. Major supermarket chains like Wal-Mart, for example, want the environmental sustainability of virtually every yoghurt pot to be traceable from the carbon footprint,” says Brettnich. “Retailers keep up the pressure until ultimately it reaches machinery manufacturers. In Europe in particular we are finding that, despite high initial costs, firms are investing more so that they can demonstrate their own sustainability.” Brettnich says the sustainability aspects of the drives used in its latest all-electric moulding machines are indisputable. However, he says fully electric drive technology is more expensive and for most customers it is the process-related benefits of improved precision and reproducibility that are most important. “But as quantities increase, costs decline and prices fall. It is important

for us that we make the motors ourselves. That is the only way we can

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