SEW-Eurodrive equipment helps Yalumba Winery save on energy costs

At a time when energy costs continue to spiral upwards, saving energy is not just good for the environment, it is important for the commercial bottom line.

According to Jesse Auricht, engineering manager, Yalumba Winery, decisions taken when planning a bottling upgrade at the plant have turned out well in both regards.

He said the choice of energy-efficient SEW-Eurodrive Movigear mechatronic drive units to keep the conveyor lines and bottles moving, contributed to this positive outcome.

The winery is serious about reducing energy costs and monitors energy consumption continuously. Typically, half the cost of energy is based on network charges, so it is important to avoid any spikes in consumption as the wine bottles are filled, capped, labelled and packed in the bottling plant, said Auricht.

“In the energy market, 50 per cent of your cost can be dictated by a half-hour event,” he said. “If you hit that peak once, depending on the time of day, you’ll see an ongoing energy cost increase.”

John Gattellari, national industry specialist – food & beverage, with SEW-Eurodrive, said the Movigear units are designed to minimise the use of electrical power and help manufacturers make savings. Movigear complies with efficiency class IE4 (super premium efficiency) and reduces energy costs by up to 50 per cent, due to the high efficiency of all its components.

Planning pays off
Once it was clear that the plant needed refurbishing, the owners decided not to rush in. Starting with their own design concepts, they issued a tender for detailed design and implementation of the project, and awarded it to Foodmach, a specialist Australian provider of machinery design, manufacturing and control services.

Working closely with Yalumba, Foodmach designed and installed the new conveyor and line control system. The revamped system consisted of the original bottling line with new controls, conveyor and palletisers, and a second line with a new de-palletiser, filler and packer.

SEW-Eurodrive’s engineering and customer service, together with energy efficient Movidrive mechatronic drive system and high precision servo motors and Movidrive controllers, were fundamental in obtaining the desired result.

In addition to saving costs by reducing energy consumption, the upgrade also led to a safer work environment and a reduction in noise.

Noise amplification and reduction
Another key issue was that of noise, especially given the running speeds of the conveyors. Line 2, which is used for wine only, runs at 12,000 bottles per hour. “You get glass bottles banging into each other at that rate and it’s noisy – and potentially dangerous as well,” said Auricht.

Trevor Burgemeister, process control technician at Yalumba, said that to alleviate the noise and danger of uncontrolled collisions, the system had to be designed to detect when bottles were about to collide. When this happened, it set a maximum collision speed.
Auricht said to achieve this, the drives needed to be accurate, reliable, efficient and controllable. As for the noise component, he said that the Movigear is so quiet it’s negligible in comparison to the rest of the system.

These characteristics, along with past performance and a strong relationship, were major factors in the choice of SEW-Eurodrive.

“They have been a solid partner of ours for a long time. It’s a recognised brand and we’ve had a lot of success,” he said.

No pressure
The key to reducing the noise is creating a pressureless line. In this case, pressure refers to the accumulation of bottles at any point on the conveyor system. It occurs when the conveyor is transporting more bottles than the individual machine process rate. If a processing machine for filling, capping or labelling is operating at a slower speed than bottles are being delivered, the bottles bump into each other, and that familiar sound of glass against glass can be heard. On a grand scale though, it’s not a pleasant clinking sound that you might hear in a restaurant. At a rate of thousands of bottles per hour, it’s more of a cacophony.

Auricht said that if the conveyor keeps running when this happens, the pressure continues to build up. This means energy wastage, inefficiency and noise, along with wear and tear on all the conveyors.

On Line 1, which is used for many different bottle types ranging from sparkling wine with a cork, to table wines with screw tops, the flow is between 5,000 and 9,000 bottles per hour. While the aim is zero pressure on the conveyors, the processing machines require a degree of pressure to function correctly.

To achieve this, the conveyors on this line run at set speeds, while the line’s process machines vary their speed as necessary to maintain head pressure of between five and eight bottles.

In the Foodmach, line control system speeds are controlled by software programmed according to a “recipe” that varies for each production variety.

The recipe specifies which processing machines are required for the product and also their operating parameters. Recipe data – speed, diameter of bottle, gap between bottles and the like – is communicated from the programmable logic controller (PLC) to the SEW-Eurodrive gears and units. These are calibrated so that the speed of the conveyor is set correctly. Burgemeister says that connecting the motion-detecting sensors to the motors and gear units, in order to manage the flow of bottles, was a simple operation. “It was just a matter of plugging the photoelectric in,” he said.

Poetry in motion
Correct flow is set up at the start of the operation on the Foodmach de-palletisers, where thousands of bottles per hour are fed into the two bottling conveyor lines. At this point, several mini conveyor lines, running side by side and at different speeds, cause bunched-up groups of bottles to be fed into a single line. Complex programming, communicated to each Movigear drive in the system, makes the operation look easy. For Auricht, this is what good engineering is all about. He describes the process with a single word – poetry.
“This was probably one of our most successful projects undertaken – both in timeframes and outcomes,” said Auricht. “In the scheme of things, the premium for the high-efficiency, low-energy drives was not that much. Looking back on it now, it absolutely was the right decision.”

Premium power supplies for food makers

NHP has released a premium range of basic power supplies that offer a cost-effective solution without compromising reliability, efficiency and application flexibility – the 1606 XLB Series from Allen-Bradley.

Ideal for use in manufacturing applications such as food and beverage, packaging, materials handling, and water and wastewater the compact 1606 XLB Series from NHP offers the highest levels of reliability to reduce downtime and optimise savings.

Rated up to 1.37 million hours mean time between failure (MTBF) and with a minimum service life-time of 47,000 hours, the efficiency figures of these power supplies range from 90.7% up to 95.2%.

Offering increased choice when it comes to finding a solution that meets your application requirements, these convection cooled units can operate from -10 C° (some units -25 °C) up to 70 °C ensuring performance in the most demanding applications.

Available in 5A (120 Watts) with an input range of 85-132V AC / 170-264V AC and 10A (240 Watts) with an input range of 170-264V AC, the outputs ranges on both models are 24-28V DC.

The XLB Series are equipped with a DC-OK signal which allows the ability to monitor the output voltage, the unit also clicks smoothly onto any standard DIN rail and features large-sized terminals which makes wiring easier.

The power of efficient food processing

In light of Australia’s bid to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030, Steven Impey takes a look at how the food-processing sector is reacting to changing views on energy cost.

Energy consumption within the food sector is increasingly becoming a matter for concern – from the farmland where food is grown, right up to the processing methods that put packaged meals on supermarket floors.

Amid a growing energy crisis across Australia and the country’s bid to improve its carbon footprint, industry leaders are saying that now, more than ever, it is vital to react quickly.

To stave off climate change, the federal government is aiming to reduce its emissions by 26-28 per cent from its 2005 levels by the year 2030.

At the same time, power generated from the grid in mainland states is expected to rise to somewhere between 75 and 220 per cent in the next 20 years.

The question is: how are food-processing plants, and especially those that are reliant on a constant flow of energy, going to cope?

Spotting diminishing returns

Wiley, who design, build and maintain facilities, seek the latest approaches and technology to ensure they offer the best efficiency solutions.

Brett Wiskar, the company’s R&D and innovation director, believes that finding the link between the cost of energy and profitability is a pressing issue for many food processors.

“The real trick in reducing the impact and cost of energy is spotting the point of diminishing returns,” Wiskar said. “The opportunity to find power savings and wasteful systems in a manufacturing business is available to every operator in the food industry.

“To remain competitive both domestically and internationally,
our food sector has to find both the means to control energy costs and the means to lower their consumption as a percentage of output.”

Rather than deciding on a tactical expansion – for example a new product

line or facility expansion – businesses will start to give more consideration to the associated energy cost.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 10.41.23 AM
Red meat consumption is in decline.

 

In turn, this enables businesses to take earlier steps to being self- sufficient in power generation and makes them better able to make tactical moves in the market.

Pressure is also being placed on companies within the supply chain to reduce greenhouse gases by – in some cases – more than 50 per cent by 2020. Among them, leaders in the meat and agricultural sectors are considering the consequences if the industry doesn’t address its energy use.

Addressing climate issues

Last year, a report by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) looked at the impact increasing average temperatures are having on the condition of cattle in the processing sector.

The report explained that, while maintaining a social licence to operate can be difficult, the red meat industry is seeking to avoid costs by increasing advocacy and research into offsetting carbon emissions of animals and the environmental impact of grazing.

It also raised the issue of increasing acidity in Australian soil, which it claims is affecting an estimated 50 million hectares of agricultural land.

To address climate issues, the AMPC is working with its members to help them better understand and reduce their own energy costs, which may include undertaking regular research into new initiatives and systems.

“Australia is facing a changing natural environment with increasing incidences of extreme weather events and changing weather patterns that directly impact the industry,” an AMPC spokesperson told Food and Beverage Industry News.

“We recognise this and continue to work to raise awareness about Australia’s changing climate and the impact it is having and will have upon our sector.”

AMPC is investing in research that seeks to understand “critical vulnerabilities in the value chain” as well as investigating technology, infrastructure options and mitigation techniques to minimise the industry’s impact on the environment.

Collaborate effort

In an address at the 2XEP Energy Productivity Summit in Sydney in April, the impact the ongoing energy crisis will have on industry was top of the agenda.

“Over the last 10 years, we have seen a decline in red meat consumption,” said Carl Duncan, who is group manager for resource efficiency at beef supplier Teys Australia. “High [energy] costs and competition mean the industry needs help.

“We would be the first to put our hands up and say that, while working collaboratively with government, we all need to help work through the energy crisis we are experiencing at the moment.

“What we would like to see is consistent policies [from the government] because, with large corporate companies and the current energy crisis being so rapid, it can be difficult for them to react.”

Using renewable sources of energy is one area were Teys is managing its consumption. By diverting wastewater, they have managed to offset 20 to 30 per cent of the company’s natural gas needs across their portfolio.

“The fact is: the energy crisis is putting unsustainable pressure on the industry, with energy markets increasing from 60 to 170 per cent in the last year and natural gas is increasing too,” Duncan added.

“Throwing stones isn’t going to solve the problem, so we all need to collaborate together to help solve it.”

In most food businesses, wastewater – whether a bi-product or as a consumable – contains organic matter, which keeps it at an artificially high temperature.

“Both the elevated temperature and the organic mater are potential sources of energy available to a food production business,” Wiskar explained.

“Through the implementation
of bio-energy recovery systems, businesses are able to harvest energy locked in the organic matter suspended in their wastewater.

“Covered anaerobic ponds or closed tanks allow the biological matter to breakdown generating bio-gas, which can be burnt to create energy.

“In addition, waste heat recovery systems can allow hot water and steam to be used as a source of energy through a range of potential conversion systems.”

Expectations are changing

Simplot, based in Victoria, is one of Australia’s leading food manufacturers for some of the world’s well-known packaged and canned food brands.

Speaking at the 2xEP Summit, the company’s manager for national continuous improvement, Carmel Gilles, explained how “integrating lean processes” is helping reduce energy cost.

“At Simplot, we have created a framework for continuous development and sustainability,” Gilles said. “A system where we can audit all of our sites to find where the gaps are and that helps us generate our plans. “

Their customers are also expecting are harder drive on energy and sustainability improvements. To do this, Simplot is engaging all of its employees to help make a difference.

Wiley are working closely with the food industry, empowering more companies to follow the same example.

“Simple wins exist in most food production businesses and are, generally, easily identified by auditing the operation to determine where power is currently being consumed,” Wiskar said.

“However, just because a change in the production process might reduce energy consumption doesn’t mean savings are scalable with continued long-term positive impacts.”

Simple solutions are often powerful and within reach – whether by changing the insulation or the means of exhaust within a production facility.

In addition, business operations often feel stuck with their current level of energy usage due to the “sunk cost” fallacy, where managers are reluctant to replace equipment that may be wasteful.

“This is despite the fact that a newer, more energy-efficient system might pay for itself – and the equipment it replaced – through energy saving alone,” Wiskar added.

“Exploring energy cost reduction through innovation is rarely a waste of time.”

A 4 step guide to smart energy management

Having the right energy strategy can improve reliability and sustainability while reducing energy bills as Nicolas Larue reports.

Energy is typically the fastest growing expense for manufacturers today. It can consume up to 30 per cent of an operating budget. With digitisation and the use of electronic devices on the rise, the reliance on and use of energy will only continue.

As energy prices soar and green tariffs come into force, it comes as no surprise that manufacturers are concerned about how much energy they’re consuming and at what cost.

The benefits of effective energy management are clear: protect the environment, save energy and reduce costs, and ultimately operate a cleaner network free of power quality issues. But realising the full potential of energy savings in your business can be more complex than switching equipment off when it’s not in use.

With this in mind, here are four simple steps you can take to develop an action plan for smarter energy management that could see the energy bills in your facility drop dramatically.

1. Know your energy usage

Knowledge is power, so before diving in and installing technology within your facility, it’s important to get to know your energy usage.

Smart energy management provides visibility of effective and efficiency energy usage. So a good way to start is to conduct an energy and power audit. This is where you analyse energy use and power quality based on measurement and then establish a baseline – based on historical data from the last 12 – 24 months.

There are tools you can use to help measure your energy consumption, such as energy meters and power quality monitors. This review can be complemented by using a software platform that functions as a centralised portal of energy data – helping you to see all your areas of energy consumption and track in real-time.

Once you understand your usage, you can identify areas of significant energy use and those with poor power quality, and prioritise and record opportunities for improving energy performance.

2. Fix the basics

Once you understand where your energy is being used, implementing the right kind of corrective action can create an almost immediate financial benefit – potentially 10 – 15 per cent worth of savings. Here are just some of the opportunities for smarter energy management – where you could uncover efficiency gains:

Building controls: Simple control adjustments can produce rapid energy savings. Are your building controls optimised for performance? Are lights and other systems running at the correct settings?

Mechanical: How do HVAC systems use energy throughout the facility? Can the performance of chill water, distribution, and steam systems be improved? Do air handlers and sequencers need upgrading or adjusting? Are outdated motors wasting energy? Replacing an old motor with a newer, high efficiency motor can improve energy efficiency by 90 per cent.

Electrical: How is electricity used and how efficient is the total system—from lighting and controls to office equipment, refrigeration, and kitchens? Since facilities use electricity in many ways, there are usually opportunities for savings. There could be issues with power quality to address, such as high kVA demand, poor power factor, harmonic distortions and voltage sag/swell.

Envelope: How does your building envelope perform and how does it affect other energy systems? Could simple improvements to insulation yield significant savings?

Water: Water, like energy, is a resource that can be conserved to save money. Are cooling towers losing too much water to evaporation? Are you paying for sewage charges that could be avoided with metering? Can water heating be planned and managed to reduce costs, based on actual usage times and areas?

3. Automate energy solutions

Once you’ve fixed the basics, and implemented energy saving techniques, the next step is to, where possible; introduce automation across your energy efficient solutions.

Automation of your energy related appliances and facilities – whereby energy is only ‘on’ when it’s really needed – can add another 5 per cent of efficiency savings.

For example, you could have introduced energy saving light fittings – but if you further implemented ceiling mounted occupancy sensors and power linked intelligent lighting panels, you could see additional saving.

4. Don’t stop there

Without ongoing monitoring and maintenance you could see energy savings slip back by 2 – 8 per cent.

The final step is to keep regulating your energy usage and illustrate the positive impacts to keep energy management high on the business agenda.

This will also allow you to keep an eye out for new opportunities to make improvements as your facility changes and grows.

[Nicolas Larue is Product Manager in Power Quality at Schneider Electric]