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2022 / 2023 Edition

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Energy-saving Initiatives From ABB

ABB introduce UK’s largest energy appraisal team, introduce drives and motors swappage scheme and publish new six-step energy-saving plan

Earlier this year ABB launched a 50-person Energy Appraisal Team that can, within half-a-day, provide industry with an analysis of the energy-saving potential within a plant’s motor-driven applications. The team comprises ABB engineers and selected technical partners, all of whom have extensive practical experience of carrying out energy appraisals over the past 20 years and have attended ABB’s intensive energy-saving training course.

‘Over the past decade we have evolved and refined an energy-appraisal technique. This approach has been designed into a process in which each engineer is now trained. It includes knowing precisely where to look and what to look for in a motor-driven application, so as to find its optimum energy usage,’ explained Steve Ruddell, head of global marketing – motors and generators.

The team provides organizations with a free, no-obligation energy appraisal, whereby a plant’s installed motor base is examined and applications that can benefit from the installation of variable-speed drives are identified. For instance, a drive and electric motor combination, when used to control the speed of applications such as pumps and fans, can reduce the energy bill by up to 70% with a payback period of less than 12 months.

Considering that 65% of the total electricity at industrial sites is consumed by electric motors, the need for an effective energy appraisal is even more apparent. The monetary savings provided by an energy appraisal stem from reducing the amount of electricity being consumed – hence lower utility bills – and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

According to Steve Ruddell, ABB now have by far the largest and most professional Energy Appraisal Team for motor-driven applications in the UK. ‘We are never more than 45min away from any industrial site in the UK,’ he said. ‘What makes this team extra special, however, is that they take the time to understand a customer’s process by getting to grips with the impact of all motors when applied to fans, pumps and compressors.

‘We have gone to great lengths to get every aspect of an energy appraisal correct, from the sophistication of the energy analysis tools we use through to the uniforms that all our Energy Appraisal Team members wear. In addition, each engineer is equipped with an energy-appraisal toolkit that reflects the level of detail and experience we apply to each appraisal.

‘For example, the toolkit features a telescopic mirror to get into difficult areas where motors are often located, so that we can get to the motor nameplate data. We also have a hi-res camera for capturing each process; a torch to make sure we don’t miss any detail; a tape measure so that we can determine the space needed if a variable-speed drive is to be installed; and an energy meter that allows us to measure the before and after energy use of a particular application.’

Despite the downturn in various sectors, ABB say variable-speed drives sales are currently experiencing strong growth. The driver is energy costs and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, partly driven by schemes such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. With energy prices continuing to rise and firms being pressured into reducing their carbon footprint, Mr Ruddell believes that there has never been a better time for industry to consider the merits of drives and high-efficiency motors. ‘What is clearly needed is a team that can respond rapidly to industry and give quick, practical and cost-effective answers to reducing energy bills.’

Investing in energy-saving equipment can be capital intensive, and because of this interest-free loans from the Carbon Trust are available. Organizations can pay their loans back through the savings achieved as a result of investment in energy-saving equipment, and once the loans are repaid the savings continue throughout the lifespan of the product. Help is available from ABB in making an interest-free loan application.

During an energy appraisal, ABB’s engineers may also review existing business operations and technology to identify the scope for other improvements in energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. The benefits include:

  • low-cost or no-cost investment opportunities in reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions
  • the scope for employing available technology, including drives and electric motors for applications such as pumps, fans and compressors
  • availability of suitable energy loans and grants that may apply to the organization’s sector and specific technologies.

Other benefits of an energy appraisal include:

  • clearly identified energy savings and CO2 emissions reduction
  • estimated payback times
  • review of current maintenance schemes and spares holdings.

Following an energy appraisal, ABB offer advice on:

  • retrofitting drives to current fixed-speed motor applications
  • replacing drive or motor components as part of a preventive maintenance plan
  • upgrading entire drive systems to the latest technology or extending the functionality of existing drives and motors
  • recycling of all drives and motors that are removed, in line with latest legislation.

To find out more about the Energy Appraisal Team or to take advantage of a free, no-obligation appraisal, email: [email protected] quoting reference: ‘Free Energy Appraisal’.

Swappage scheme

ABB’s recently introduced drives and motors swappage scheme allows companies to trade in their old drives and motors, from any manufacturer, for new ones from ABB. The scheme offers at least 17.5% discount off published list prices for new drives from 0.12kW up to 400kW and for new motors from 0.75kW up to 710kW when old equivalent products are traded in.

‘The scheme was originally launched to coincide with the introduction of the Government’s CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme but has taken on new importance with the introduction of the EU MEPS legislation for minimum efficiency levels of low-voltage motors. It aims to give organizations an additional incentive to meet their CO2 reduction commitment and reduce their energy consumption,’ explained Mr Ruddell.

Organizations that take advantage of the swappage scheme will also benefit from improved energy efficiency and reduced maintenance downtime, helping to lower costs after the new equipment is installed.

‘The reliability of well-maintained drives gradually declines once they get to between 15 and 20 years of age,’ said Mr Ruddell. ‘To avoid costly downtime towards the end of the product’s life, our energy appraisal will identify the older drives, give advice on the installation issues and recommend a drive replacement programme. As drive losses are typically reduced by more than 10% with a modern drive, the replacement and retrofit installation often pays for itself with the increased energy savings.’

ABB say they expect 40% of all new drive purchases to be replacements for existing drives.

Also available is an assessment of a plant’s installed motors, called MotorAdvantage, aimed at companies operating a continuous process. The scheme involves a qualified engineer coming to site and identifying up to five critical motor applications that are running either continuously or for more than 4,000h per annum. From this, ABB can: assess the end-users current policy in the event of a motor failure and the financial impact on the company; identify improvements to be made with regard to policy and stockholding; and determine the energy use of the current installation. The findings are analysed and potential savings identified using dedicated software.

MotorAdvantage encourages the process industry to uncover the true cost of running electric motors. There is a widening gap between the value of new industrial low-voltage motor sales in the UK – estimated at £70 million – and the motor repair industry, which is conservatively valued at twice that amount.

‘MotorAdvantage aims to elevate motors from being a hidden asset, with an out-of-sight out-of-mind maintenance approach, to an asset that can earn operators real financial rewards immediately. We want to re-educate the market about the enormous savings that could be made from this asset,’ said Mr Ruddell.

For more information on ABB’s swappage scheme or MotorAdvantage, email: [email protected] quoting reference: ‘Swappage/MotorAdvantage’.

Six-step energy-saving plan

Meanwhile, the latest version of ABB’s award winning six-step energy-saving plan is now available. The plan provides customers with information on the best ways to save money by using variable-speed drives and high-efficiency motors within their applications. The updated six-step energy saving plan is captured in an all-new, free 24-page guide which is available to download from

Using the guide, customers can assess up-to-date information on climate change and how it could affect their business. The guide also provides information on how to save money in setting up and running drive and motor applications, with tips on managing installations and when best to replace old technology with modern drives and motors.

Schemes to help those willing to invest are also highlighted in the guide. The Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) scheme and finance from the Carbon Trust can help reduce the costs associated with implementing a carbon-reduction strategy, and the six-step plan provides information on what they are, the qualifying requirements and information on the savings that are available.

The updated guide also provides numerous examples of companies that have benefitted from implementing energy-saving drives and motors within their production or process, while a number of web links point to further information and advice useful to those looking to implement energy-savings measures.

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