Envac--Optimizing an Already Efficient Process

Envac AB, of Sweden, found a number of savings in its trash collection system.

The company sells, delivers and maintains vacuum transport systems for waste collection. The system is deployed at a number of major European facilities, including Wembley Area in England. Envac hired Sigma Solutions AB, of Gothenburg, Sweden, to install and run control technology and deliver energy efficiencies. Sigma implemented a control technology from Wonderware, a unit of Invensys Operations Management in Lake Forest, Calif.

There’s implicit energy savings in a vacuum system that can suck trash from stations in the facility and deliver it to a centralized location. For one, you eliminate the need for truck-based trash collection. The control technology brought further energy savings. In the past, the air compression that produced suction was running even when trash was not being produced. “The big thing is the system is running on demand. We’re not running all the time,” says Jonas Hamren, global sales manager for IT at Sigma. “When they’re not sending any waste, they charge down the fans, lower the pressure and lower the energy consumption.”

Sigma produced a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The control system integrates historian data and data from devices to provide users with screens that show the areas around Wembley with inlets for trash. “We optimize the system so we don’t have to suck up if there’s no waste,” says Hamren. And we’re not moving trash when the inlets are only half full.”

Hamren notes that additional energy savings come from user interfaces that provide operators with the information they need to make fast decisions based on current status. Savings can also be taken by using historical data to optimize the system during peak needs and manage the system down when the peak demand has passed.

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