25. November 2013
Overall energy concept confirms that energy efficiency has improved significantly
The manufacture of technical ceramics is a process requiring extensive consumption of energy, such as thermal energy during the sintering process and electric energy in mechanical and electrical engineering. Sembach Technical Ceramics is aware of its responsibility for sustainable action and has taken up this challenge. The company, based in Lauf, is currently implementing an overall corporate energy concept that has been developed in cooperation with the Institut für Energietechnik at the Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Amberg-Weiden (Faculty for Electrical Engineering at the Amberg-Weiden University of Applied Sciences). The Institute analyzed the measures that have already been implemented together with further energy saving possibilities and the required investments. The overall corporate energy concept was 40 percent supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology and its program for promotion of innovative energy technologies and energy efficiency (BayINVENT).
As a result, it sees potential for improvements and measures for increasing efficiency with regard to the supply of compressed air, use of waste heat and warm air, exhaust gas control and conversion of burners from oil to gas.
Initial measures taken during investigation phase
Sembach Management Representative Thomas Wehmer confirms: “The data investigation phase determined the direction in which we should move. We did not wait for the concept to be completed before establishing priorities for increasing energy efficiency and have already started implementing them during the investigation phase.” Sembach is currently converting the burners from oil to gas, which will save up to Euro 50,000 per year and allow cost amortization during one heating period. Compressed air supply offers another possibility for increasing efficiency. Sembach has lowered system pressure to the maximum level required, installed an intelligent control system and refitted the compressors with a waste heat recovery system.
The compressor’s waste heat recovery in the pressing system was connected to the administration’s heating supply. This will cover about 60 percent of the energy consumption of rooms in the administrative building. Using waste heat from all compressors and kilns will cover up to 85 percent of the company’s overall energy consumption. During the winter, additional heating can be reduced to a minimum, thus reducing overall annual costs for the heat required by one third. CO2 emissions can be reduced by 50 percent. The necessary investments for energy can be amortized within two and a half years based on the current consumption status.
Investments do not get lost
This new overall energy concept allows Sembach to continue with its previous environmental and energy efficiency strategies. During the summer of 2012, the supplier of technical ceramics also introduced an energy management system in addition to its environmental management system and is one of the first manufacturers of technical ceramics to be certified in accordance with the new ISO 50001 standards for Energy management systems. “Of course, our overall concept is also future-oriented and covers energy consumption in our new building. Previous investments will not be lost but will be transferred to the new site”, says Thomas Wehmer.