Manufacturers in the United States spend $200 billion annually to power their plants. Industrial process heating accounts for much of this energy usage. In fact, process heating accounts for about 70% of the manufacturing sector’s process energy use.
A wide variety of operations and associated with these operations underwrite this usage. These operations achieve critical metal transformations, including heating, drying, curing, and phase changes.
But much of the electricity used by manufacturers is wasted. In fact, as much as 30% is squandered. Moreover, that waste adds up financially. It boosts the costs of running a plant dramatically.
Not many plants can waste that kind of money and thrive—especially in a COVID-19 driven world. That’s why savvy manufacturers are always looking for ways to cut energy costs. Below are seven ways manufacturers can cut the energy costs associated with industrial oven usage:
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
Using insulation is the most common way of cutting the energy costs associated with industrial ovens (and furnaces). Insulating your oven not only reduces the amount of an oven’s heat dissipation. It also boosts oven efficiency by ensuring that a uniform heat is carried out more effectively. Plus, it ensures that heat is not transferred to the oven’s outer body.
For example, using thicker insulation cuts energy loss through the oven’s walls. That can cut the cost of energy waste significantly. Also, check out older ovens. They often have areas where insulation has broken down. Replacing this insulation boosts worker safety by cutting the risk of burns to operators.
Use exhaust fans
Exhaust fans remove solvents, moisture, and/or combustion by-products produced by an oven. Adjust these fans so they’re using a variable damper. You should also set them to the minimum drive, while being careful to maintain minimum nameplate safety ventilation.
Employ a humidity control system
Humidity controls systems first detect oven humidity. Then they vary the exhaust rate of the dryer based on the absolute minimum you need to dry the product or product you’ve put in the oven. Humidity controls systems are ideal for when you need to load in various materials and moisture levels.
Seal oven openings
Many companies don’t do this. And it costs them. Ideally, you want to seal the area where the parts come and go out of the oven’s chamber. Tools to seal openings include high-temperature curtains, powered air seals, or unheated vestibules. They help retain heat. Remember, even a small leak can waste a lot of energy and drive up costs.
Employ a variable speed recirculation fan
Use this variable speed drive to power this type of fan. Start by pumping up your fan’s RPM as the oven heats up, which enables your fan to move the lighter air easier. Matching the motor’s horsepower with the fan speed lets the motor operate at its optimum horsepower and generate maximum efficiency, cutting energy costs.
Maintain your equipment
Maintaining your equipment isn’t just good advice. It can dramatically cut the costs of energy usage. Make sure filters and blowers are cleaned. And follow the guidelines in your manual for burner gas pressure and combustion air flow rates. Burners set too rich in gas to air ratio wastes energy and drive up costs.
Use energy-saving mode
If your oven has an energy-saving mode, use it. It will help save energy. This action helps you save big time on your energy bill by saving on peak demand charges. You’d be surprised how many companies fail to do this.
If energy usage and waste are problems throughout the plant, developing an energy management team that oversees operations is an option. This team can monitor energy consumption throughout the factory. Then make recommendations on how to cut energy costs.
Improving an industrial oven’s energy efficiency produces numerous benefits. It increases part or product quality, production efficiency, and employee safety. It also cuts energy consumption and waste. But keeping energy costs down is a challenge for any company.
Process variation of operations can significantly impact product quality, performance, cost, safety, and operational efficiency. More importantly, it can drive up energy usage and waste. Reducing energy usage and waste can not only cut operating expenses. It also boosts competitiveness and profitability. That can make a difference to a manufacturer’s survival.
If you still have questions about industrial ovens, you can check out our field guide to buying an industrial oven. Or, you can call our skilled customer service team to assist you.