Enerlly Aids Sustainable Operating Practices in Aluminium Melting Furnaces
The cost of operations in Aluminium foundries is primarily influenced by the efficiency of the melting shop itself. Energy consumption varies depending on the melting process used, Tower type, Skelner furnace, Tilting type furnace, Crucible electrical resistive type melting furnace, etc.
Crucible furnaces are highly advantageous as they are simple to operate, easy to maintain, and involve low capital investment. With a crucible furnace, the foundry can also produce different alloys in small lots. There are virtually no restrictions as to the type of alloy. The melt can be treated right in the crucible and, if necessary, the alloy can be easily and quickly exchanged. Aluminium melting-cum-holding type furnaces consume energy depending on the operating cycle. Some furnaces are coupled with pressure die-casting machines, and some are operated with gravity die-casting machines.
Losses Unaccounted For
Energy loss in aluminium furnaces is mostly due to unorganised operations, which can include increased holding time or frequent cold startups, lack of preventive maintenance practices, damaged refractory, improper temperature control, etc. Without monitoring and analysis of energy and power consumption, it becomes difficult to discern the losses in the furnace, which makes it harder to take the right actions in a timely manner.
For instance, a well-known aluminium foundry company in Pune was operating multiple Aluminium furnaces in line with gravity die-casting machines. The plant was losing a lot of energy due to improper production management during night-time operations owing to low workforce availability.
Where Enerlly Came In
Enerlly IoT system, which was installed earlier last year, was in a short time identified the problem. Enerlly was able to spot multiple cold starts and prolonged holding of Aluminium furnaces at night, along with no production energy consumption days, which were the major issues causing significant energy loss. Though these furnaces were of small sizes like 300kg or 400 kg, energy loss was substantial.
Upon notification from Enerlly about the higher KPIs of one of the electrical melting-cum-holding furnaces, the plant team decided to make changes in the production schedule and try two combinations of production schedule according to their recommendations.
The notification from Enerlly regarding the higher KPIs of one of the electrical melting-cum-holding furnaces urged the plant’s team to review and make changes in their production schedule, eventually deciding on two combinations of production schedules based on the recommendations received.
The Enerlly team successfully optimised the energy consumption pattern of furnaces by avoiding unnecessary processes at night shifts. This resulted in overall energy savings of around 2680 kWh per month, which is worth Rs. 22,780 per month with a GHG emission reduction of 2.1 tCO2 per month in one furnace.
Upon verifying these reductions achieved in energy consumption through IoT data, the plant team then decided to apply similar operation practices to other Aluminium furnaces. Using KPI and other analytical parameters of Enerlly along with recommendations from Enerlly team, the plant is now operating Aluminium furnace with KPI of 1.07 kWh/kg, down from 1.72 kWh/kg.
Enerlly customers can easily adapt such sustainable operating practices to stay competitive in the market.