Fenland cuts pressure control costs

01 April 2007

Fenland Laundries has reduced the energy used to power the 96 fans that maintain positive air pressure in its ‘Micronclean’ cleanroom clothing operation.

The Lincolnshire textile rental company claims, with careful control of power, to have made savings amounting to £10,000 a year.

The fans were considered to be an area where energy savings could be made. Previously Fenland had controlled fan speed by varying the fan supply voltage using a directly connected potentiometer. However, this traditional method of speed control only varies the voltage presented to the motor and has very little effect on the voltage or current, and hence the power, drawn from the supply. As a result actual power consumption varied very little from minimum to maximum speed.

Fenland replaced the traditional potentiometer with inverters, which control fan speed by varying the power. As a result only the power required to drive the motor at the desired speed is drawn from the supply. Sequence control of the 48 inverters in the Micronclean operation is provided by a Eurotherm Model 2500 controller which allows the actual speed of the fans to be adjusted automatically to establish and maintain the desired room pressure. At the end of the working day, the Model 2500 automatically selects the ‘night time’ pressure, ensuring that power consumption is minimised during non-operational periods.

The combination of the Eurotherm controller and the inverter drives has provided Fenland with a remote control and monitoring capability. This is claimed to allow improved access to performance data and a more precise control of fan speed. In addition, the modular nature of the solution has allowed management of costs through progressive implementation.

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