According to an International scorecard, Germany is #1 for energy efficiency, while the United States ranks 13th among 16 major economies — behind China, Canada and India.
North American companies should consider energy efficient CNC machines when sourcing new equipment. Reducing the amount of energy required to manufacture a product is an altruistic and admirable cause … and one that can really pay off.
Manufacturing in North America is so large and diverse that it’s impossible to describe all of the opportunities for conserving energy and saving money. Companies like Siemens provide an array of energy efficient products that manufacturers can incorporate to conserve energy, reduce their carbon footprint and improve their bottom line. I’ve shared some of their videos further down in this blog.
But first, let’s take a look at energy efficient machine tools. Manufacturers use a large amount of energy to power a wide range of machine tools. Many of these require huge amounts of electricity and produce heat generated by the machine’s spindle and drive motors as well as auxiliary accessories like compressors and pumps often used in conjunction with them. The more amps required to power a machine tool the more electricity is consumed resulting in more heat generated. Smaller and less powerful spindle motors and drive electronics used on energy efficient CNC machines save electricity and lower the output of heat in a facility. These efficiencies are then amplified by the fact that energy efficient CNC machines require less powerful auxiliary equipment (pumps and compressors) … thereby which maximizing savings.
Improvements in energy efficient CNC machines over the past decade include smaller, lighter weight components and more rigid structural designs, which takes up less floor space. These new efficient production machines (like DATRON’s M8Cube and MLCube) use energy efficient, lower torque spindles and lighter weight drive electronics. This innovative engineering uses highly regarded and accepted technology to reduce energy consumption while easily achieving their primary purpose of high performance machining.
Reducing energy consumption by choosing a more energy efficient machine tool will result in financial cost savings from day one. Is it possible to offset the upfront investment of purchasing an efficient machine tool? The answer is “it depends”. Every State and Province has different costs associated with electric power which makes it difficult to to have a single example or blanket answer. Nonetheless, it can be calculated (see example below).
Example of Energy Efficient CNC Machine Savings
The Energy Efficient CNC, DATRON M7 with a 1.8 kwatt spindle, draws approximately 1.0 kwatt hour. Calculated on 60% power consumption, a continuous 40 hour work week at an average state rate of $0.1472 per kwatt; the M7 costs approximately $197 a month to power. Compare this to a similar, small 20hp conventional CNC machine rated at 7 kwatt hours; it would cost approximately $1,385 per month to power. Based on these numbers, you would save approximately $72,480 in just five years.
Other Ways to be Energy Efficient in Manufacturing
Siemens is one company who has pioneered energy efficient solutions that help manufacturers worldwide to reduce both costs and the size of their carbon footprint. Take a look at this video.