Ceramic processors. Ceramic processing process
Reducing energy consumption.
Electricity accounts for up to 30% of the cost of manufacturing ceramics, and changes in energy costs have a direct impact on profits. The introduction of a climate change levy has already increased the electricity consumption of ceramic processors and is unlikely to be the last increase in energy prices. There has been a long way to go to reduce energy use in the ceramics industry, but much remains to be done. Many ceramic processors could easily reduce energy costs (without significant investment) and increase profits through good energy management practices.
The vital questions that need to be answered before reducing energy consumption are where, when, why and how much energy is used. This information provides aspects and guidelines for improvement.
Where do you use energy?
The main consumers of electricity for ceramic processing are heaters, motors and drives, cooling systems and lighting systems. A simple map of the local energy distribution will show where the energy is used. If only one meter is used for an entire location, it may be cost-effective to install secondary meters for more information on energy-intensive areas. Additional measurement makes it possible to calculate energy consumption for each operation and to identify energy-intensive areas, which are key factors in reducing energy consumption.
The first step in reducing costs is to develop a local energy map that identifies areas for monitoring and improvement.
When do you use energy?
The time of day when energy is used is also important, and aggregate demand versus time provides invaluable information on how to reduce energy costs. Demand and timing data is usually available free of charge from your power company. When there is no production, look for unusual options and energy consumption.
The demand graph also helps to find the “base load” – the load used for heating, lighting, compressors and pumps when there is no production at all. Base load is the main goal of energy saving.
• Tip: Another way to find the base load is to record meter readings and production volumes at the end of each shift. Draw the amount of recycled material according to the energy consumed. According to the diagram, the energy consumption during zero production gives an idea of the base load.
• Tip: Reducing the base load is a great way to save.