You have to start somewhere—but where?

You have to start somewhere—but where? One place would be on page 35 of this issue, the first installment of a new series we are calling Energy Miser. It will appear about nine times this year and is intended to provide practical guidance on how to get started on energy management. Notice, I said energy management, not energy savings. You have to actively manage your energy use if you want to reduce it to the most efficient level of consumption. You can’t avoid using energy in a plastics plant. But you can avoid wasting it.

The author of this series is Dr. Robin Kent, a native of Australia and founder and managing director of Tangram Technology, Ltd. in England. He has 36 years of experience in product design and in extrusion and injection molding. He has served as technical director for several processing firms in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. His firm provides plastics training and technical consulting, with a specialty in energy management.

His Energy Miser columns, written exclusively for Plastics Technology, are adapted from his indispensable book, Energy Management in Plastics Processing (265 pages, $160 plus shipping), published last year by Plastics Information Direct in the U.K. (www.pidbooks.com). This month’s introductory column points out that 30% of your current energy usage could be wasted, and that two-thirds of that amount could be saved through no-cost or low-cost management and maintenance improvements. And though the rest of those savings may require capital investment, the average payback for that investment is six to nine months.

Subsequent columns will address how to identify your plant’s “energy fingerprint.” Notes Kent, “If it cannot be measured, it cannot be controlled. If it is not being measured, it is not being controlled. The next steps are setting targets—internal benchmarking and external benchmarking. And then Kent will focus on a major source of energy expense and waste—compressed air.