In Focus

Saving energy costs for a low outlay

Saving energy costs for a low outlay

Joining forces with tribology experts to exploit potential savings to the full

Energy efficiency is a major issue in the chemical industry, not only because rising energy costs constitute a significant cost driver. Another important factor is that high energy consumption shows up to adverse effect in a company’s environmental performance balance. Often, however, energy efficiency projects entail high capital investment costs. KlüberEnergy Services offer a systematised approach for identifying and implementing optimisation potentials. In a pilot project, they enabled a chemical company to achieve a payback time of just two years.

Energy efficiency projects frequently entail a substantial outlay for the companies concerned, which makes promised savings appear in a different light. One of the advantages offered by KlüberEnergy’s projects is that energy costs can be verifiably saved for a relatively small outlay. The chemical company’s contribution is primarily limited to a few man-hours for shared project discussions, assistance with the measurements, and the outlay required for the lubricant changeover. Klüber Lubrication is in conjunction with the chemical company developing a solution for the specific conditions involved, which is not restricted to mere lubricant recommendations. This is because while significant successes can be swiftly achieved by changing over from a mineral-oil-based lubricant to a synthetic one, this is a long way from exhausting all the potentials available.

More stringent auditing regulations with ISO 50003 as from October 2017

For many companies, certification of their energy management system under ISO 50001 plays an important role. With the new version of ISO 50003, which will come into force in October 2017, there will be some fundamental changes for companies with a certified energy management system. The new standard lays down that in future auditors will have to document a major non-conformance when recertifying a company, unless there is a project ongoing for improving energy efficiency, in which the savings concerned have been quantified in conformity with international standards. It’s for precisely this purpose that KlüberEnergy offers a systematised solutional approach.

A KlüberEnergy project involves professionally identifying potential savings in the tribological systems concerned, measuring the energy consumption before and after the solution was introduced, professional analysis of the data acquired, and translating the results of the measurements into specific statements about the financial savings being achieved. Based on an analysis of the tribological system in question, a high-performance lubricant is selected, which after the initial measurement is utilised to optimum effect. This is followed by the second measurement. In addition, the component concerned is holistically analysed. Depending on its condition, a cleaning procedure may also be required.  Klüber Lubrication has developed a specialised product for this purpose that can remove decades-old residues of mineral-oil products from the component.

A pilot project reveals abundant potential

A globally operating supplier in the chemical industry placed an order with Klüber Lubrication for identifying possible potentials for energy savings in his plant. As a pilot project, following joint project discussions with both the energy team and the maintenance people at the chemical company concerned, the gear unit of an agitator in a polymer reactor was selected. First of all, the mineral oil previously used for lubricating the gear unit was replaced by a synthetic speciality lubricant. Before being filled with the high-performance oil, the gear unit was cleaned using the above-mentioned speciality product.

A measurement of the power consumption revealed that the superior performance of the lubricant developed specifically for gear units enabled efficiency levels to be substantially increased, resulting in a payback time of around two years. Often, in fact, payback times of less than a year are achieved, depending on the operating situation of the line involved, as well as a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. Another plus is significantly extended oil-change intervals for gear units. This pilot project conducted on just one unit has already produced annual savings amounting to 3,000 euros, composed primarily of energy savings and lower maintenance costs. In the case of sizeable production lines, the number of units that can be changed over to synthetic high-performance gear oils is very large, which in turn means very high potential savings.

Klüber Lubrication, specialist article cav
Helga Thomas, Market Manager Pharma and Chemical Industry
Alexander Leis, Service Business Developer