In any industrial setting, your initial focus might be on human productivity and figuring out ways to reduce inefficiencies. However, focusing on energy-efficient machines is also a wise decision that could positively impact your bottom line. Below, we’ll look at some reasons why there’s no better time to make a permanent transition toward specialized machinery that supports your energy-efficiency goals.
A Potential Rebate on the Purchase Price
Investing in new heavy-duty machinery becomes significantly more attractive when there’s an available rebate that lowers the cost. Canada and Japan are two countries that offer such eventual discounts, and there are strong arguments that a similar program is appropriate elsewhere. Many states already provide tax credits for businesses wishing to upgrade to an energy-efficient HVAC system, so it makes sense to expand the program to include other enhancements.
Only Run the Machines When Necessary
Many of today’s energy-efficient machine tools have specialized idling modes that prevent them from passively consuming electricity. If you are still using outdated machinery that doesn’t have that feature, you may be surprised how much of a difference it makes to switch over to using machines that are ready to go when needed, but don’t waste energy otherwise.
Benefit From Energy-Efficient Drive Components and Motors
The feed-axis motors and spindle are among the key parts of today’s machine tools. There have also been impressive advancements in the amount of energy consumed and the resultant power output. In other words, engineers have figured out how to manufacture drive components capable of efficiency values that are greater than 95 percent, without compromising the robust power levels required in the machine industry.
Another way to maximize energy efficiency is to ensure the parts consistently operate at or near their respective power ratings. That’s especially crucial for a spindle. When a spindle moves at a rate far below the optimal level, intrinsic losses result that negatively affect the overall energy balance. In turn, a process such as milling takes longer to complete when the parts can’t operate at the ideal speeds.
With these things in mind, it’s important to strongly consider upgrading to drive components that maximize energy efficiency. Furthermore, machine operators should monitor proceedings carefully to ensure all the affected parts move in a manner that matches their power ratings. When both these things occur, energy efficiency levels rise.
Electric servo motors are frequently used in machine tools. They’re ideal for reducing or eliminating fuel use, maintaining a cooler operating temperature than some other kinds of motors and working at very low noise levels. However, even when depending on energy-efficient motors such as those, it’s essential to ensure the surrounding components are also functioning at peak efficiency levels.
Streamline Your Processes
Numerous pieces of energy-efficient machinery are finely tweaked to perform processes as swiftly as possible. It may not seem like a major improvement when a machine can take care of tasks several seconds faster than a previous model that used more energy. However, those collective seconds add up and become minutes. When you’re in a shopfloor environment and trying to reduce waste, looking at current processes is a good starting point. You may not even realize how inefficient your operations are until you take a look at the machinery that can help you get more done in less time. That kind of energy-efficient equipment is an especially good investment because it cuts operating costs as well as labor needs.
Tap Into Regenerative Power Strategies
Today’s hybrid and electric vehicles often have regenerative braking systems that allow for the recycling of the kinetic energy associated with slowing a car down. This kind of engineering causes less energy expenditure, so a vehicle can go further without requiring fuel or needing to be plugged in.
Similar regenerative energy principles are also successfully used for energy-efficient machinery. In one case study related to machining centers at the Brother company, energy consumption went down by approximately 80 percent. Even if your results are not that dramatic at first, it’s easy to see why exploring regenerative power options for your machinery is a worthy venture.
Most of the items discussed above relate to benefits you and your company could enjoy after using energy-efficient machinery. In closing, don’t forget that energy-efficient machine tools may have fewer breakdowns because they’re so finely engineered for reliable long-term use. Plus, energy-efficient possibilities support your budgetary goals, while simultaneously being kinder to the planet by reducing emissions.
Article by —
Megan Ray Nichols
Freelance Science Writer
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