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ABB introduces UK’s largest Energy Appraisal Team

31 March 2011

ABB has launched a 50-person Energy Appraisal Team that can provide industry and commerce, within half-a-day, an analysis of the energy saving potential within a plant’s motor-driven applications.

The team comprises ABB engineers and selected technical partners, all of whom have extensive practical experience of carrying out energy appraisals over the past 20 years and have attended ABB’s intensive energy saving training course. “Over the past decade we have evolved and refined an energy appraisal technique. This approach has been designed into a process in which each engineer is now trained. It includes knowing precisely where to look and what to look for in a motor-driven application so as to find its optimum energy usage,” says Steve Ruddell, division manager for ABB’s discrete automation and motion business.

The team provides organisations with a free, no obligation energy appraisal, in which a plant’s installed motor base, is examined and applications that can benefit from the installation of variable speed drives identified. A drive and electric motor combination, when used to control the speed of applications such as pumps and fans, can reduce the energy bill by up to 70 percent with a payback in less than 12 months. When it is considered that 65 percent of the total electricity at industrial sites is consumed by electric motors, the need for an effective energy appraisal is even more apparent. The monetary savings provided by an energy appraisal come from lowering the amount of electricity being consumed - hence lower utility bills - and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

“This is by far the largest and most professional Energy Appraisal Team for motor-driven applications in the UK,” claims Ruddell. “ABB is never more than 45 minutes away from any industrial or commercial site in the UK. What makes this team extra special is that they take the time to understand a customer’s process by getting to grips with the impact of all motors when applied to fans, pumps and compressors.

“We have gone to great lengths to get every aspect of an energy appraisal correct. From the sophistication of the energy analysis tools we use, through to the uniforms that all our Energy Appraisal Team will now wear. And in between, each engineer is equipped with an energy appraisal toolkit. The toolkit reflects the level of detail and experience that we apply to each appraisal,” says Ruddell.

“For example, it features a telescopic mirror used to get into the difficult areas where motors are often located, so that we can get to the motor nameplate data. We have a camera for capturing each process; a torch to make sure we miss no detail; a tape measure so that we can determine the space needed if a variable speed drive is to be installed; and an energy meter that allows us to measure the before and after energy use of a particular application.”

Despite the downturn in various sectors, variable speed drives sales are presently going through a strong growth. The driver is energy and the need to lower CO2 emissions, partly driven by schemes like the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. As energy prices continue to rise and firms are pressured into reducing their carbon footprint, Ruddell believes that there has never been a better time for industry to consider the merits of drives and high efficiency motors. “What is clearly needed is a team that can respond rapidly to industry and commerce and give quick, practical and cost-effective answers to reducing energy bills.”

Investing in energy saving equipment can be capital intensive and because of this, interest-free loans from the Carbon Trust are available. Through the savings achieved as a result of investment in energy saving equipment, organisations can pay their loans back. Once the loans are repaid, the savings continue throughout the lifespan of the product. Help is available from ABB in making an interest free loan application.

During an energy appraisal, ABB’s engineers may also review existing business operations and technology to identify the scope for improvements in energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. The benefits include:

– Low-cost or no-cost investment opportunities in reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions
– The scope for employing available technology, including drives and electric motors for applications such as pumps, fans and compressors
– Availability of suitable energy loans and grants that may apply to the organisation’s sector and specific technologies

Other benefits of an energy appraisal also include:
– Clearly identified energy savings and CO2 emissions reduction
– Estimated payback times
– Review of current maintenance schemes and spares holdings

Following an energy appraisal, ABB offers advice on:
– Retrofitting drives to current fixed speed motor applications
– Replacing drive or motor components as part of a preventive maintenance plan
– Upgrading entire drive systems to the latest technology or to extend the functionality of  existing drives and motors
– Recycling of all removed drives and motors to the latest legislation


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