Moss Plastic Parts is a leading manufacturer and distributor of protection and finishing products for a wide range of industrial applications. Precision and efficiency is vital to the company’s success as it sells 11,000 product lines directly from stock and offers same day despatch from the main factory in Kidlington, Oxfordshire. The site runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with 130 injection moulding machines making a huge variety of plastic products, with presses ranging from 22 to 280 tonnes.
Reducing energy consumption is an important commercial strategy for all manufacturers, as Operations Director of Moss Plastic Parts, Maurice Callan explains: “From 1st October 2009, we will be signed up to a Climate Change Agreement (CCA) in which we will target a certain percentage of energy reduction year on year, and for that we will get a reduction on our Climate Change Levy (CCL). There’s a great financial incentive to reduce the amount of energy we use and we have a target of 3% energy reduction per tonne of material produced/product made.
“Within the production process, water is used to cool both the machines and the injection mould tools. Historically both circuits were cooled by totally independent systems. We use a large forced air system, via fans on the roof of the building, to cool the hydraulic circuits on the machines; however our mould cooling system needs to run at a constant 15°C so we use chillers which are quite costly to run.”
Nigel Hallett, Managing Director of IsoCool approached Moss Plastic Parts with the idea of using the new IsoFC energy-saving device to help meet their targets. It works by connecting the mould and hydraulic cooling circuits through a high efficiency packaged heat exchanger unit with intelligent software, facilitating energy transfer between the systems without them mixing. The result is a fully optimised integrated energy saving cooling system. (Detailed product information available.)
The IsoFC applies an existing technology to a new application, as Nigel says: “We are constantly looking for ways to increase the efficiency of our clients’ cooling systems, and the spare capacity in the air blast coolers presented an ideal opportunity. We realised that we could bridge the two circuits without any risk of cross contamination with a specially designed heat exchanger. It’s a simple solution, but the implications for industry are significant: by effectively using one circuit to pre-cool the other, the IsoFC reduces demand on the chillers and saves customers money and energy at the same time.”
Maurice has been pleased with the results: “The idea of using IsoCool’s product was to see whether there was any way we could use capacity from the roof air cooling system, rather than using the chiller system, whenever the external temperature was below 15°C. We installed the IsoFC in January 2009 and the chillers are automatically switched off most evenings of the year, or at least partially switched off. We’ve run the system for eight months and anticipate that we’ll receive even more benefit from it through the autumn and winter months.
“Looking at the temperature range in a typical year, we estimate it should save us in the region of 302,000 kilowatt hours, which equates to about 50% of the energy we were using to chill our water. Fundamentally, it goes a long way to achieving our 3% overall energy reduction target.”
By January 2010, Moss Plastic Parts should have a clear idea of precisely how much the IsoFC is saving the business in real terms; already Maurice estimates it should save the company approximately £36,000 per annum.
“Through the CCA we will get an 80% reduction off our CCL if we hit our target. It’s a great incentive to install IsoCool’s IsoFC. The installation caused no disruption; we did all the preparation over the Christmas shut down and then literally plugged it in on our return. It’s very easy to maintain – IsoCool put it in and they maintain it twice a year. We’ve had ISO ENV 14001 for several years so the workforce is all on board when it comes to energy saving technology.
“Traditionally, anybody who’s operating separate machine and mould cooling systems has to rely on chillers.The IsoFC has given us an alternative, plus the added benefit that it’s theoretically going to extend the life of the chillers by 30-40%. Working with IsoCool has been great; they delivered what they said they would and there have been very few issues; our ongoing relationship is also going very well.”