Events and News

AFS Energy Solutions Case Study: Measuring Electricity Consumption

June 15, 2012

The American Foundry Society (AFS), in conjunction with Sensor Synergy, Barrington, Ill., and Alu-Bra Foundry, Bensenville, Ill., recently tested power monitoring equipment to help identify opportunities to save on electricity costs.

The program utilized Sensor Synergy’s portable monitoring system to measure and record electricity usage from three of Alu-Bra’s induction furnaces and provided the management team with real-time electricity cost display. The results were then sent to Sensor Synergy’s central data collection servers for off-site analysis.

Initial suggestions implemented produced a 10% cost savings, and throughput was increased by 3.5%. If all of the suggestions are implemented, electric savings are estimated at 25%, with a 10% melting throughput increase, adding up to a total annual savings of $70,000.

The study also found:

  • The three monitored furnaces consumed approximately 70% of the facilities entire electricity consumption.
  • The induction furnaces operated at about 30% efficiency.
  • Energy savings could be achieved by using a lid on the crucible during melting.
  • Controlling power levels of partially-filled crucibles reduces energy usage.
  • Using crucible covers can reduce heat loss while empty, hot crucibles wait for furnace time.
  • Using smaller ingots increases charge density and heat transfer in the crucible during melting.
  • Abandoned heat cycles sometimes would occur when a filled crucible’s melt cycle was interrupted by the operator and not completed.

The Energy Solutions program is available to AFS Corporate members.