Injection moulder Rutland Plastics has always had a policy of continuous investment but with the big increases in energy costs in recent years emphasis has shifted towards energy saving measures.
“As a team, we have discussed several options for reducing our energy consumption,” says MD Steve Ayre. “This includes everything from low energy lighting up to solar panels. We then ranked them on energy saving potential and payback time.”
These rules were applied when redeveloping the office and factory site with new energy efficient roofing and ventilation for the production area and a similar approach to the new offices and their air conditioning. Lighting in all low traffic areas, such as corridors and the warehouse, has been fitted with motion sensors.
EFFICIENT MOULDING MACHINES
Managing energy consumption
The main area of energy consumption though is the moulding machines. We have a wide range of moulding machines but a significant number are at the larger end of the scale. With 30 machines in total and there are eight machines from 650T up to 1700T. These machines are major users of electricity and so efficiencies in this area have a greater impact on our energy usage. This move towards greater energy efficiency has meant that recent additions of 160T, 900T and 1700T and the 1500T machines have been Engel EcoDrive machines.
Rutland Plastics uses monitoring equipment to accurately measure energy usage on different production runs. This means that it has been possible to directly compare the newer machines with the older ones. Depending upon the part being moulded, the reduction in electricity usage can be as much as 60%. Although this is a relatively small part of the cost of a moulding it does help Rutland Plastics to offset some of the big increases seen in energy and polymer prices.
Another energy saving measure has been the use of barrel jackets. The payback on the cost of fitting these has been calculated at 18 months and the plan is to fit them to the majority of its moulding machines.