In most foundries, the cost of electricity is a major cost component just second to material cost. All processes in a foundry require electricity or other forms of power. Energy is also required for building light up etc. Therefore, it is imperative that a careful study be made for demand for energy and optimum utilization.
Due to rising prices of oil and gas, it has become necessary to finish all forms of wastages and explore use of alternate form of power, namely electricity. Since this is a major cost factor, therefore even the smallest saving will ultimately lead to a large saving.
A foundry needs to study its current demand and demand pattern. Data for the current demand from various processes, the time at which the demand is made, consumption patterns etc should be made.
After this first step, the next step is to see if any wastage is taking place and means to avoid that wastage. For example, ventilation systems should be used only when necessary, extra lighting should not be used. Machinery should be switched off when not required. Also, steps should be taken for equal distribution of energy demand over various times of the day. Melting processes should be shifted to nighttime when energy demand is less. Every process must be made accountable for optimum energy usage and quantified study should be made for energy savings. An energy audit must be set up to help increase productivity of a foundry.
Employees must be made aware of the costs and benefits of saving energy and they may be made a part of energy saving by introducing profit sharing schemes. Similarly, management must view energy as an important input, equivalent to labor, consumables etc. each process head must be educated about the need to save energy and be made accountable for any wastage.
A regular maintenance of equipment is needed so that they do not consume more energy than required. This also highlights need for periodic review or study of all processes for energy need, and energy consumption patterns in order to pin point and wastages or scope for improvement.
The management must formulate a plan for usage of energy and make a step-by-step procedure for its implementation. A team may be established who will make sure that the implementation procedure is strictly adhered to and conduct a periodic review of the same. This review must study if the energy management plan has achieved the objectives the management had set, and it was successful to what extent. It must also study scope for further improvement. The employees can be encouraged to make suggestions in this regard.
The data so collected and the review so made will also highlight if there was any deficiency in the plan for energy management set by the management. The management can thus learn from their mistakes and make suitable changes in their plan and corrective actions can be taken.