Atlanta, GA—Energy worries may be off the front page of the newspaper, but they aren’t out of mind. Rockwell Automation filled the seats at a series of energy management seminars held during this year’s Automation Fair. Held November 14-15 in Atlanta, the event attracted thousands of engineers.
"Everyone is looking for ways to save costs today—good energy management can help them achieve that goal," says Rockwell’s Doug Demian. He works with customers to identify areas of improvement that can lead to cost savings.
"As your motors wear out, you might want to look at replacing them with high efficiency motors," Demian advised a manager of a plant that has aging injection molding machines and high energy bills.
High efficiency gear boxes and variable speed drives can also help trim energy costs, says Jan Waldron, senior area manager or Rockwell’s Drive Business. "Of the 115 million motors in use today, only about 3.5% are controlled with drives—so there is lots of room for improvement."
Variable speed drives help save energy by varying the motor speed in response to the load. Yet, machine builders frequently use a mechanical solution instead. "It’s the lowest cost way to limit flow. And since the machine builder isn’t paying the utility bill, they don’t necessarily have any incentive to change," says Waldron. "It’s an ongoing education process."
Efforts like the energy management seminars held this week appear to be paying off. According to Waldron, sales of variable speed drives have been growing at a rate of about 25% annually. "More and more companies are not only recognizing the importance of energy management, but also doing something about it," he says.
For more information on Rockwell Automation’s Power and Energy Management solutions, go to http://www.ab.com/PEMS/