Optimize refrigeration systems energy usage

Maintenance and monitoring are just two of the six ways.


Six ways to optimize energy usage in refrigeration systems. Courtesy: CFE Media with information provided by Luke Facemyer.Refrigeration costs account for the majority of a plant’s total electrical costs, often exceeding 60% of total operating expenses. As energy costs continue to increase, more and more food processors are realizing the need for energy optimization and monitoring as a way to increase productivity and lower energy costs. 

Optimizing the entire systems

The key drivers in managing energy efficiency are reducing operational costs, utilizing existing systems to reduce equipment costs, analyzing the ROI for new controls system upgrades, and conducting a power quality assessment.

Most refrigeration systems are designed to optimize the efficiency of each individual component rather than looking at the entire system as a whole and ensuring that all components work together efficiently. Many processors add new equipment without regard to the impact on the total system, leading to wasted energy and operational inefficiencies. 

Top six ways to save energy 

Maintenance: Conduct regular maintenance to check for dirty filters, broken sensors, failed insulation and other malfunctions that could be wasting energy.

Monitoring: Know how much, when and where energy is being used. Install  alarms and monitoring systems to identify inconsistencies and trends that could be wasting energy.

Energy Recovery: Capture wasted heat from condensers and turn it into energy.

Water Savings: Manage and reclaim the water that’s evaporated from your condenser.

Operations: Change your set points or put in controls to do it automatically to better manage processes and efficiency.

Design: Select the proper equipment based on size and compatibility, install VFDs

Energy audits – energy efficiency checklist

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of automation is the ability to optimize the entire system to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. By collecting and analyzing data, technicians can identify systems that are running in an inefficient manner and correct them. 

Technicians can manage the control and sequencing of all equipment to maximize energy efficiency. They can run trend analyses, alarm logs, energy management data, and runtime reports in real-time to improve the efficiency and reliability of your entire system.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, Associate Content Manager, CFE Media, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.