Naples, Fla. — Robert Knaster said molders can save money with his firm's SyncroSpeed interface with motors on hydraulic injection presses — but first, company officials need to realize that energy usage is controllable.
Knaster said SyncroSpeed helps make motors run more efficiently.
"The objective is to actively control the speed of the motor, so that only the required oil is going to make these parts move in unison to the point of perfection. And it's going to do that continuously day in and day out without your attention," Knaster said.
Knaster gave a rapid-fire talk at the Plastics News Executive Forum.
He said lots of manufacturing companies disregard their electric costs.
"Most people feel you get an energy bill every month and you just have to pay it. I have companies that have $5 million bills, and this dutiful person in accounts payable sits there every month and just sends out checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars," Knaster said. "But nobody even checks to see if the meter's working. Half of them don't know where the meter is. And they don't even go out to see how they can reduce that expense, because they take it as, 'my bill, I have to pay for it.'"
Knaster said SyncroSpeed can save annual energy costs for a factory of "$250,000 to even a million dollars." The best bang for the buck: injection molding machines of 400 tons of clamping force or more, he said. A 950-ton press with two motors can save $15,000 per year, per machine. Knaster said a "home run" project — presses of 1,500 to 2,000 tons with three motors — can save $28,000 per machine.
Knaster is director of sales and business development for SyncroSpeed North America, in Huntington Bay, N.Y. His background is injection molding machines from heading the U.S. operation of Italian press maker Plastic Metal SpA, part of the NPM Group. He is related to the NPM owners.
SyncroSpeed is a retrofit speed control for motors. The manufacturer, England-based CCD Technology Ltd., claims it can reduce motor power consumption by 35 percent to more than 55 percent.
At the Executive Forum, Knaster said the pump motors get synchronized. Speed is regulated to more precisely match the oil volume produced from pumps to the true demand for the speed of movement, the company said.
Knaster said the fully automatic SyncroSpeed adjusts to mold changes and different parameter settings. "The controller picks up your processing demands; it does not control your machine," he said.
"The system coverts conventional fixed-speed motors to variable-volume speed motors that drive hydraulic pumps," Knaster said. It determines the optimum motor speed for each setting. It can adjust to a pressure drop. "We control the motor, and once you control the motor, your rotational speed is what controls your motor. You will not have all that extra oil going back and forth. And that's the key thing."
By reducing costs of energy per part, that helps a molder do more accurate pricing, he said. And energy-saving grants from utilities are available in many areas.
Beyond energy savings, Knaster said, SyncroSpeed lets hydraulic machines run cooler and frees up spending for other capital needs.
But for Knaster and other people pitching energy-saving products, making sales still requires customer education. He recommends that molders assign an "energy champion" to oversee the issue and work on a strategic plan. It ultimately needs support from top management, he said: "None this happens if you don't put a line item for energy into your CapEx."
"[Energy] is not really considered a core business, so it ends up being ignored," Knaster said.
Also, employee morale can increase, he said, because they can see the management cares about reducing energy consumption. But, Knaster said, too often, energy use "is not really considered a core business, so it ends up ignored."