Marginal Column

Sebastian Frank, safety + environment officer at TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, on the challenge of energy efficiency
Photo: TRUMPF GmbH + Co KG

“In the meantime, energy efficiency has become an inherent part in the development process for our products.”

 

“More and more customers in the machine tool sector are demanding energy-efficient solutions. When new or replacement investments are being made, around 15 percent of them explicitly inquire about energy consumption – five years ago this number was less than five percent. Rising energy costs, incentive programs and statutory requirements have sped up this trend.

This is why discussions are currently being held at EU level as to the extent to which machine tool energy consumption can be regulated by law. In addition, energy efficiency has become an increasingly significant factor, distinguishing companies from competitors – assuming the same significance as the classic decision-making criteria: process reliability, productivity, quality, availability and service

Improving machines from one generation to the next

We have split this topic up into three categories: infrastructure, processes and products. Over the last four years, we have been able to reduce energy expenditure in our buildings by almost 15 percent. In machine production, we have been using our own lean production system, called “Synchro”, for the last 15 years.

This has let us realize enormous increases in performance, by halving our production times, for instance. In the meantime, our specification sheets for new product developments include a specified efficiency target that is checked at the end of the process. In the last five years, we have been able to increase the efficiency of our CO2 laser machines by over 20 percent. Our “BrightLine fiber” innovation created, as well, a wider range of applications for machinery using the more energy-efficient solid-state laser technology.

Improved designs and processes

Energy efficiency also plays an important role in our work with automation partners, since there are plenty of points we can tackle together. These include better designs leading to greater productivity but, just as important, optimized processes such as stand-by management. For example, we worked with Bosch Rexroth to develop the drive and control system for the electro-mechanical punching head on our TruPunch 3000. We lowered mean input power by 30 percent and increased productivity by ten percent.”

Photo: TRUMPF GmbH + Co KG

 

TruPunch 3000 with its new drive and control system

Input power: 30 percent less

Compressed air consumption: 60 percent less

Productivity: 10 percent more

TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG

This family-owned company with almost 10,000 employees is one of the world’s leading specialists in machine tools, laser technology, and medical engineering.