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Improving Energy Efficiency With Customized Monitoring Tools


Highly adaptable, real-time measurement tools can measure and remotely monitor power-use and process status parameters to improve energy efficiency in metalcasting facilities. JAMES WICZER AND MICHAEL B. WICZER, SENSOR SYNERGY, VERNON HILLS, ILLINOIS


large, power-hungry industrial equip- ment consuming over $200 billion of electricity each year. Many of these processes require electricity as an input to produce process-specific outputs


M


anufacturing in the U.S. consists of many individual processes that often involve


needed for the overall manufacturing process. Tese outputs can range from high-pressure air to focused heating, but all perform a vital step in the over- all start-to-finish production process. Few manufacturers know if they


are using this electrical input in an efficient manner. Measurements have shown that manufacturing systems are


frequently designed with a substantial overcapacity to accommodate antici- pated growth in demand and to pro- vide engineering margin to prevent a shortfall of equipment capacity under most scenarios. In practice, manufacturers can


easily determine if there is too little capacity in their production equip- ment because the output will not be adequate for the manufacturing process. Examples can include not enough air pressure to consistently drive the linear motion actuator tools, not enough hydraulic pressure for the molding press, or not enough heat to bring the subassembly parts to the necessary temperature to complete a metallurgical process. However, what isn’t known by most


This is a diagram of a measurement system used to monitor energy efficiency data. The system is based on smart sensor standards for sensor interface and data collection.


36 | MODERN CASTING April 2015


manufacturers is if the equipment capacity is beyond their true needs for reasonable growth and some engineer- ing margin. Te problems with too much capacity are the ongoing annual costs for electricity, the costs of main- taining this unnecessary equipment capacity, the problems with determin- ing how much extra capacity exists, and the impact on corporate culture from solving problems by committing extra resources to the issue. For sim-


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