All engineering operators are looking for opportunities to implement more cost-effective measures that will save energy, carbon and money. Energy efficiency is by far the cheapest way of addressing any organisation's energy security and supply issues but such measures are often ignored because they seem to have a longer payback period than can be justified. The truth, however, is that upgrading components such as gearboxes, drives, couplings and motors can create huge savings. Identifying areas where equipment can profitably be replaced with the latest, more efficient versions, such as IE3 variable speed motors, can increase both performance and efficiency. What's more, such equipment often qualifies for 100% tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme.
The remarkable achievements made in increasing the efficiency of such components are impressive, considering the challenges. Waste management, for example, presents an exceptionally tough operating environment; gearboxes, drive motors, couplings and chains in these applications must be specified to withstand extreme loads, shock, and contamination from dust, debris and glass, plus widely varying temperatures and, in many instances, infrequent maintenance.
Earlier this year, our Planet+ conference gave UK engineers the chance to meet our technical experts, see some of our product innovations and discover the cost savings that these engineering solutions can make. ERIKS Planet+ is a new initiative that focuses on innovation and sustainability to provide solutions that reduce energy consumption, waste and pollution while protecting people, business and the environment. The response was extremely positive, and this is because these innovations can actually protect and increase profits as well as build sustainability and protect the environment.
One powerful way to manage energy in waste processing is to fit a variable speed drive, which will not only save energy but also reduce shock loading on belts with features such as šsoft start' and programmable ramp times, minimising both maintenance and operating costs. Using a Fenner QD Inverter, for instance, to vary the speed of an electric motor can deliver significant energy- and cost-savings. Inverters are not typically fitted to waste handling machines but when they are the resulting elimination shock loads can significantly limit wear and tear as well as manage energy consumption.
Aggressive materials such as glass are typically found in waste and recycling debris and yet many gearboxes, drive motors, couplings and chains are not equipped for the challenge. Couplings, for example, often wear out fast in recycling plants owing to a lack of tolerance in their connections and the swift development of misalignment that results from incorrect installation. However, the use of improved couplings can reduce the likelihood of failure; for example, Fenaflex Tyre Couplings provide more flexibility, which allows for a greater degree of misalignment.
Another powerful solution in applications where fine ground glass or similar is present is to install lube-free chains, such as the Renold Syno Chain, which can offer a significantly longer lifespan. ERIKS can supply induction-hardened sprockets that are manufactured to a far higher standard than OEM sprockets to provide much greater resistance to wear. Used together, these two solutions can prove a powerful option in waste and recycling.
There will never be a shortage of waste and recycling: the challenge is to process these materials in the most cost effective way, and that means relying upon the most up-to-date methods of production, state-of-the-art products and new technologies. The drive for sustainability naturally promotes innovation and the development of, for example, the Fenner QD inverter shows just how ERIKS can innovate for sustainability, offering an easy, efficient way to cut running costs and carbon footprint.
With energy prices still on the rise, tightening restrictions on carbon emissions and concern for the bottom line in every business, there has never been a better time to put energy efficiency at the top of the agenda. With lasting benefits for the environment, the current crop of energy-efficient components offer a veritable armoury of tools with which to fight waste.