• Nilesh Shedge

Enerlly identifies major cost savings in Induction Melting Furnaces

Foundry sector is one of the most energy intensive sectors in India and induction melting furnaces are widely used in foundries for their clean, efficient and controllable operations. Induction Furnace is an electrical furnace where heat is applied by induction heating of metals. These furnaces come in varying capacities, ranging from less than a kilogram to over hundred tonnes, where metals like steel, iron, copper, alloys etc can be melted. An induction furnace consists of a copper coil surrounding a nonconductive crucible holding the charge to be melted. A powerful alternating current flowing through this coil induces eddy currents inside the charge metal, which while flowing through the electrical resistance on the charge metal, heat it. Once melted, the eddy currents also cause intense stirring of the melt, thus ensuring good mixing.

Induction melting, being a sophisticated technology in itself, does not have much scope for retrofitting of any equipment to save energy or to optimize the performance of the furnace. Following the right operating practices and closely monitoring the operating parameters is therefore essential for achieving energy savings. A system like enerlly.com is necessary to record, monitor and analyze a wide range of parameters associated with an induction furnace to carry out the performance analysis and give crucial insights that saves costs.

Our client, a leading steel foundry in Pune, India, has been using induction furnaces for melting purposes for the past 9 years. ENERLLY system was installed in the foundry 6 months back. Analysis of the first 2 months of data captured from the Induction furnace revealed that its specific energy consumption was at 717 kWh/ tonne, which is much more than expected value. This high energy consumption was directly affecting the overall costs and competitiveness of the business. It is important to note that the management was not aware of the poor performance of the furnace and resulting losses until the ENERLLY system identified and flagged the issue. Enerlly system’s advanced data analytic tool helped in analysing energy consumption data for furnaces and also in calculating losses incurred in monetary terms.

Based on the data analyzed by Enerlly and our deep experience of several years in carrying out energy audits for similar industries, we gave specific recommendations to the management. These recommendations included specific changes to the operating procedure like avoiding overheating above the required temperature, reducing frequent cold starting and frequent stoppages by making changes to the schedule, reducing holding time while pouring molten metal etc. Plant operators were given training on using the ENERLLY data for identification of anomalies in operation of furnace to optimize the furnace performance.

By using Enerlly to closely monitor the induction furnace performance and by following the best practices recommended by Enerlly, our client was able to reduce the specific energy consumption from 717 kWh/tonne to 620kWh/tonne. This resulted in net savings of ~ Rs.1,00,000 per month in the energy costs just for the induction furnace, which amounted to about 13.5% Energy Savings and reduction in carbon footprint by 10.34 tonnes per month.