Using energy carefully 5 minutes spent reading

Using energy carefully

Volkmar Held
As a freelance writer, Volkmar Held reports for voestalpine on topics that move people. The content of his stories ranges from archaeometallurgy to future technologies.

Examples of efficient and economical use of energy resources in voestalpine companies.

Minimizing energy consumption and using energy as economically as possible—there are many ways to optimize the use of this resource. Examples from various voestalpine companies illustrate the many different efforts in this area.

Award-winning energy-saving model

voestalpine Automotive Components Dettingen GmbH

The voestalpine Automotive Components Dettingen portfolio includes punched and formed parts for the automotive industry. To ramp up production of these highly sought-after components, the company had to invest in a new machine capable of cutting and punching, bending and folding, drawing, embossing, and much more. With the decision to purchase a new 1,600 ton servo press, the Dettingen-based company is utilizing the advantages of efficient technology. The machine’s servo motors convert electrical energy without flywheels and couplings.

"Servo technology is the key. It enables our new press to recover energy, reduce peak loads, and use fewer lossy elements."
Franz Divjak, Technical Plant Manager, voestalpine Automotive Components Dettingen GmbH

Features such as energy recovery, peak load reduction, etc. ensure high energy savings, confirms Joachim Schillinger (Occupational Safety, Environmental & Energy Management): “We save around 450 MWh of electrical energy each year by using half as much energy as with previous technology.” This high efficiency was also rewarded. The German federal state of Baden-Württemberg ranked the Dettingen plant project among its “100 companies for resource efficiency”. The initiative presents relevant concepts in their successful implementation and rewards them with EUR 10,000.

Minimizing consumption

voestalpine BÖHLER Bleche GmbH, Mürzzuschlag

voestalpine BÖHLER Bleche supports its growth in the market for high-alloy materials and special materials with a new annealing furnace. New furnace technology and state-of-the-art furnace control enable it to meet the high demands of customers and in-house quality control.

"We are technically up to date with this annealing furnace. In addition, we have optimized its parameters to meet the growing requirements of our current production portfolio, thus significantly improving quality and energy efficiency."
Horst Saiger, Leiter Betriebe, voestalpine BÖHLER Bleche GmbH & Co KGHorst Saiger, Head of Operations, voestalpine BÖHLER Bleche GmbH & Co KG

The new heat treatment unit achieves energy savings of up to 70%.

Reducing energy requirements

voestalpine Automotive Components Birkenfeld GmbH

The automotive component manufacturer in Birkenfeld has been continuously reducing its energy requirements for years through numerous measures. In the past nine years alone, heating requirements have been reduced by more than a third from over 3 million kWh to less than 2 million kWh. Thanks to the connection to an adjacent biogas power plant, the district heating requirement is mainly covered by biogas; the use of heating oil has been reduced to one tenth compared to a decade ago. Now 30,000 liters are consumed instead of 300,000 liters in 2009—with the option of completely eliminating oil in the future. They are killing two birds with one stone in Birkenfeld: the district heating purchased is not only CO2-neutral, it is also a good third cheaper than heating oil.

Cooling from heat

voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl GmbH, Kapfenberg

The new chemical lab at voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl GmbH in Kapfenberg is also a trendsetter in energy efficiency. A pioneering technology turns waste heat into cooling.

As lab manager Karl Prattes explains, laboratories must be kept at a constant temperature in line with international standards.

"Die gleichbleibende Temperatur hilft vor allem die Qualität unserer Produkte für höchst anspruchsvolle Einsatzfelder zu sichern.The constant temperature especially helps ensure the quality of our products for highly sophisticated applications."
Karl Prattes, voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl, Leiter chemisches LaborKarl Prattes, voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl, Head of the Chemical Lab

Being the most ecological and economical variant, an ultra-modern absorption cooling system was planned and implemented for the new high-tech lab. Its capacity of up to 800 kW is equivalent to the energy required to cool 100 single-family houses in sunny Arizona.

"Eine Absorptionsanlage ist nicht die billigste, aber letztendlich die vorteilhafteste Kühl-Investition. Sie bietet geringste Betriebskosten, verfügt über einen geringen Wartungsaufwand und erzeugt keine zusätzlichen CO2-Emissionen bzw. verbraucht kaum Strom.An absorption system is not the cheapest, but it is the best cooling investment. It offers the lowest operating costs, requires little maintenance, generates no additional CO2 emissions and consumes hardly any electricity."
Michael Ebner, voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl GmbH, Umwelt und InvestitionenMichael Ebner, voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl GmbH, Environment and Investments

In the new chemical lab, waste heat from internal sources is used to generate cooling. Process waste heat, for example, is always available from the steel mills. The absorption cooling system, an innovation in cooling technology at voestalpine, now provides an ecological and economical circulation system for a temperature-controlled lab.

An example of an environmentally friendly temperature-controlled lab for high product quality

Environmentally friendly temperature-controlled lab for high product quality

Energy efficiency in logistics

Logistik Service GmbH/Cargo Service GmbH

LogServ’s locomotives not only have to pull, they especially have to wait, e.g. between loading runs. Equipping locomotives with an automatic start-stop system prevents non-stop operation and reduces operating hours as well as maintenance and fuel costs. The installed technology will be adapted to voestalpine requirements based on LogServ’s experience.

"Thanks to this technology, we can reduce annual operating hours from 140,000 to 100,000. This means more effective use of technology and fuel."
Markus Jaksch, Vehicle Management, LogServ

In order to support the goals of using more renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency, CargoServ has extended its “climate-active” partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that began 2015 until the end of 2019. In addition, the LogServ Traffic Academy supports more efficient use of vehicles with energy-saving training for delivery truck drivers, including for the highly specific heavy and special vehicles for internal use.

Volkmar Held