How to become the most energy efficient injection moulding company

  • More energy efficiency through intelligent coupling of energy fluxes in industrial companies
  • Electrical heating has to be changed to thermal oil heating
  • Start of the largest IdE research project to date

The IdE (Institute for Decentralized Energy Technologies) has started the project Smart Consumer with a budget of 10 million Euro. The Institute together with Arburg, Imtech and Limón will implement and test measures for increasing industrial energy efficiency at Junghans Kunststoffwarenfabrik (Junghans Plastic Ware Factory) and Ferrero. The two companies are making their manufacturing plants available for this research work. The project will be supported over the next three and a half years by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. A central goal of the project is the implementation of intelligent solutions for the control and reduction of energy needs within a real-life production environment.

Opportunity to become the most energy efficient plastic injection moulding company in Europe

The project Smart Consumer consists of two sub-projects. In the sub-project Smart CHP, the main focus is on the optimization of the power supply of factories that are processing plastic. Using the company Junghans as a test case, the primary energy need and the energy costs are supposed to be lowered by fifty percent.

“This research project offers us the opportunity to become the most energy efficient plastic injection moulding company in Europe. The future reduction of our energy need by fifty percent is a milestone in our company’s history and our contribution to the energy turnaround’, says CEO Klaus Junghans.

Electrical heating has to be changed to thermal oil heating

To achieve this, however, the current electrical heating of the production machines has to be changed to thermal oil heating. This creates greater flexibility in being able to run the machines either through heat from CHP processes, through burning of gas or through electrical energy. The main idea is to make greater use of the heat that is being generated. This makes it necessary, among other things, to rebuild the injection moulding machines as well as the building technology and the heat grids in the plastic factory.

At the food company Ferrero, the focus lies on energy saving in the area of refrigeration and airconditioning. On the one hand, there will be a change to alternative, more efficient cooling technology. On the other hand, cooling will only take place where cool temperatures are actually necessary. This means for the production, for example, only a small part of the production line will be cooled instead of the entire production hall.

In addition to the reconstruction, it is important for both sub-projects that energy fluxes can be measured, evaluated and controlled. That is why Junghans as well as Ferrero will have an energy monitoring system installed, which helps to predict future energy needs. Such predictions make it possible to optimize electricity costs and, at the same time, contribute to a less strained energy grid. In this way, the energy consumer becomes a Smart Consumer.

Using simulation, the intelligent control systems of the energy fluxes of both sub-projects will be developed together by Imtech und Limón. Limón integrates the production technology and Imtech is responsible for the energy flow of the power supply and the technical building equipment.

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