Energy savings roadmap from SMC

SMC Corporation will be showcasing the latest in their range of energy saving solutions at Auspack 2019.

According to Tony Randall, SMC’s head of OEM and key accounts for the company’s ANZ Global Account Group,  they are finding more customers who are actually specify energy saving as part of their tender requirements. The increase in energy costs is of course a big driver for this.

“Customers know they need to look at the bigger picture and take a long term view at cost saving –  energy saving forms very much part of this picture. At SMC we have worked on making the process clearer and easier to understand for our customers. We have developed an energy saving roadmap to simplify the process” says Randall.

The process starts at the beginning with the customer objective. The customer may have a key objective when it comes to energy saving – what will make a difference to their bottom line? There are also energy saving targets to work to, and these are increasingly becoming more and more important and top of mind for businesses which SMC are dealing with.

The first point of to consider is quite logical but often overlooked – measurement. You can’t save what you can’t measure – you know what you are saving if you don’t know what you are using!

According to Randall, many customers still have machines without the digital flow switch to measure the use of air.

The digital flow switch provides improved benefits.

The PF3A7-H series features:

  • Wide range of flow measurement 300 – 3000 l/min in one switch
  • 3-Screen display digital flow monitor added
  • Applicable fluid: Air, N2.
  • Flow ratio 100:1
  • Pressure loss: 75 per cent reduction (20 kPa / 5 kPa)

SMC guides the customer through the various points on their machines which could benefit from energy saving components. Sometimes it is as easy as retrofitting a new more efficient product and this could mean ultimate energy and cost saving for the client. SMC assists customers to calculate the potential savings at each point. An energy efficiency calculator is available online to make this an easy process.

There are quick wins when it comes to air consumption. Any factory using more than 5 kPA could benefit from a booster. It is common that factories run at the pressure of the highest pressure application requirement which is a wasted on the rest of the applications in the factory which may require less than 5 kPA. A simple booster where higher pressure is needed means the rest of the factory can run at the required lower pressure and save money and energy in this way according to Randall. SMC offers a range of booster regulators designed to increase your factory’s air flow by up to 200 per cent/four times with no power supply required.

Customers can enjoy a maximum of double the pressure by connecting air to a factory line and space savings can be easily achieved as it connects directly to air tanks and booster regulators.

The VBA/ VBAT series also offers reduced heat generation with no electricity required for an improved service life of valves and cylinders.

While some boosters are known to make a noise, SMC’s sleek range has been reduced by 13 dB thanks to a silencer in the exhaust and bumpers on the impact part of the switch valve.

Selecting the correct vacuum products can offer savings too. The vacuum should not be using air when it is not in use. Clever energy saving vacuum units such as the ZK2 can help customers get around this. The ZK2 incorporates an energy saving switch which turns off the supply valve when the vacuum level is reached reducing air consumption.

“Once we have gone through the process and identified all the possibilities, we recommend an ALDS (Automatic Leak Detection System) to ensure ongoing maintenance and savings. The Automatic Leakage Detection System is installed on an OEM machine’s main airline, and integrated with the machine’s control software (PLC). When the machine is newly installed, the ALDS system will run the machine through a complete sequence, measuring the air consumption of each actuator, and confirming that there are no leaks.

During an idle moment in the machine’s daily operation, the ALDS system will perform a “Leakage Detection Cycle”, operating each component in sequence again, recording the air consumption and manipulating the data to identify each leak. Today, creating a competitive advantage by employing lean manufacturing principles is made simple by a supplier such as SMC. By partnering with a supplier who offers superior offerings and expertise, it is possible to realise significant benefits.

According to SMC they have completed successful energy saving projects with a number of global accounts internationally as well as locally.