Foundry Utilities management

Utilities in any foundry include the following components:-
  • Electricity
  • Fuel
  • Water
  • And compressed air

Managing Electricity in Foundries All foundries are concerned about a single big cost factor is Electricity, which has to be used at all steps from heating the building to melting and casting operations. Usually in foundries, timing at which various operations will be conducted can be controlled, and hence peak load charges for electricity can be avoided.

Electricity can be saved by some of the following ways:-
  • Reduce total energy use
  • Shift a few operations to time where electricity demand is less to avoid peak load.
  • Avoid electricity wastage.
  • Regular maintenance of equipment so that they don't overuse power.
  • Installing high efficiency equipment.
  • Reduce Idle time as a means of power saving.
  • Capacitors which can help limit the KVA usage should be installed.
  • Various equipments with speed control systems should be used in order to reduce power consumption.

Fuel Management in Foundries Apart from electricity, gas and oil are also used as fuel sources in foundries. However, the use of these power sources has to be monitored. There is a cost factor involved. Since these are natural products, they have to be stored properly and guarded against leakages. They also give out a number of oxides thus the combustion process has to be made better. In order to prevent leakages, a good piping and storage system will be required. It is essential that proper check and maintenance of pipes to be done. The burner of oil and gas furnace must be such that it results in utmost utilization of fuels.

Managing Compressed Air Compressed air is the most expensive input in foundries. This is a term used to describe the air which is reduced in volume and held under pressure and used to generate power for running of various equipments. It is an alternative form of clean energy source. A lot of compressed air is wasted through leaks, poor usage, wastages etc. Compressed air uses a lot of power for generation and maintenance of pressure. Only 5% of electricity used in formation of compressed air is converted to useful energy. Use of compressed air for cleaning in rarely justified. In order to avoid wastage of compressed air, incoming air must have low temperature. In case the temperature of inlet air rises by 30C, the consumption of power rises by 1%. It should be examined whether air at lower pressure can be used in the process. Reduction in discharge pressure by 10% saves energy consumption upto 5%. A leakage from a 1/2" crack in pipeline supplying compressed air holding a pressure of 7 Kgs/cm2, results in a daily loss of Rs. 2500. since efficiency of compressors reduces with time, the per unit productivity of compressor should be periodically monitored.

Managing Water Water management has 2 aspects in a foundry i.e. volume of water used and use of heat that water has. Water management would include check against leakages, avoidance of wastages and excessive flow. Water should be reused as many times as possible and efforts should be made to maintain its temperature. Motors for pumping water should be used only when necessary. Waste but uncontaminated water should be collected and can be used later for various purposes. Insulation can help avoid water heat loss or gain.

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