Marginal Column

Ulrich Vohskämper, forging technology sector manager, SMS Meer GmbH, on the challenge of energy efficiency
Photo: SMS Meer GmbH

“If you are not ready and willing to produce more efficiently, then you will usher yourself right out of the market.”

 

“Monitoring energy efficiency and CO2 emissions will be the number one topic in the future. I expect that some day every machine will have to bear a label showing its efficiency rating, as has long been the case for refrigerators. This development will contribute to being able to serve expanding markets since, in the future, companies capable of more energy-efficient manufacture are going to be in a much stronger competitive position. This is a challenge that machinery builders will have to face.

Motivation, however, may also arise from one’s own incentive and from so-called “green players”, including some of the automobile manufacturers. They approach us with a clear idea of how much the machines they utilize ought to consume – in part because it is also a good marketing point.

We are in a transitional phase

Not every customer understands this, although it ought to be perfectly normally to strive to achieve greater output while consuming fewer resources. We are currently in a transitional phase in which customers still have a choice between cheaper but energy-intensive machines and more expensive and more efficient ones. In the future, only the efficient solution will be offered.

In my opinion, there is no question as to whether more efficient machines justify higher procurement prices. If you are not ready and willing to produce more efficiently, then you will usher yourself right out of the market. Prices are indeed always first and foremost, but you have set up business, while your next machine can be optimized to make operation less costly. It is important to realize that technology does not advance in great leaps and bounds but steadily and continuously.

Focusing on the entire system

We explicitly ask our customers which areas could be made more energy-efficient. Our objective must be the capability to produce the same ultimate product using an entirely different technology. One has to focus on the system as a whole when undertaking cooperation with this aim in mind. That makes Bosch Rexroth the ideal partner for us, one who knows all about the machine and treats it as an entity. This is the only way to make decisive advances in engineering.”

Photo: SMS Meer GmbH

 

32/35 MN front-loading aluminum extruder

The pump drives are equipped with soft starters and work in an intermittent mode.

Extrusion speed: less than 7 mm/s

Annual energy savings: up to 25 percent

(50,000 kWh per drive)

SMS Meer GmbH

This company, with 3,500 employees, is part of the SMS Group and specializes in metalworking systems – steel mills, tube manufacturing, and profile rolling mills – and also produces thermal and foundry technology.