Uzwil (Switzerland), June 2, 2016 – Industrial processing of foods and engineering materials is often associated with high energy requirements. Whether it be energy efficient processing solutions or machines for customers, or technologies for manufacturing batteries, lightweight vehicle parts or coated architectural glass: Bühler actively engages in increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Products such as feed pellets, breakfast cereals, or pasta are processed with a certain moisture content, but must in the end be completely dried again to be fit for storage. And the energy costs in large aluminum die casting foundries may easily add up to several million francs a year.
Improving energy efficiency while protecting the environment
Bühler has already made great strides in the field of energy efficiency with its process solutions, plant and equipment. “This allows us at one and the same time to increase the energy efficiency of our products while also contributing to the protection of the environment,” says Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer at Bühler. During the last few years, Bühler has developed processes and technologies that significantly cut energy consumption. With these, Bühler’s customers need for example 40% less heat for the drying of pasta and 50% less electrical power for a feed mill. “Despite these successes, we are far from having reached our final goal yet. Our target is to reduce the energy requirement in our core processes by another 20% by 2020, thereby reducing the amount of energy our customers are consuming”, explains Roberts. But there is no panacea for this. It is the result of a multitude of different measures and fine-tuning steps at different levels. One core aspect is productivity, for example the reduction of cycle times in industrial production processes. If an engine block can be die cast within 90 seconds instead of 120, this will cut the energy requirement per unit significantly.
The greatest energy savings can be achieved by a correct design of production processes, in which the process is matched as closely as possible to the raw material and the end product. “Bühler has seasoned specialists who are past masters at designing processes, for example in grinding, extrusion, die casting, or coating,” says Roberts. It is therefore not surprising that it is precisely this application and process expertise that is one of the core competitive differentiation features of the Uzwil-based technology group.
Retrofit services: helping customers increase their energy efficiency
Thus, Bühler is stepping up its efforts to offer its customers optimal production plant designs in terms of energy efficiency beside other performance parameters. “We take detailed measurements, give integral consideration to – say – die casting and grinding processes, and show our customers the various potential optimizations that exist,” explains Roberts. Efficient hydraulic and drive concepts and new control technology enable up to 20% energy to be saved. In the past year, these services – which are offered under the brand name “Retrofit” – allowed Bühler to grow vigorously in the grain milling industry.
Close collaboration for new approaches to higher energy efficiency
In order to find new solutions in the medium and long terms, Bühler is collaborating closely with partners in industry and academia, for example the Swiss Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich. Moreover, at the end of last year, Bühler launched a broadly based competition called “Energy Challenge“ in order to develop new approaches to higher energy efficiency together with researchers from top universities. Lino Guzzella, President of the ETH Zurich, is convinced: “Industry should use the energy topic as a catalyst to further improve production processes and product designs.” Read the entire interview with Lino Guzzella on the Buhler Internet page. At the upcoming Bühler Networking Days, customers, partners, scientists and Bühler representatives will show and discuss the latest trends and solutions in the area of energy efficiency. More information can be found here: event.buhlergroup.com/en/
Bühler Networking Days 2016: From August 22nd to August 24th the Bühler Networking Days will take place in Uzwil, Switzerland. CEOs and opinion leaders from the grain processing industry will present and discuss current trends, challenges, and solutions, with a focus on food and feed safety, nutrition, sustainability, und the Internet of Things. Concurrently with the Bühler Networking Days, Bühler presents its latest innovations and processes in an exhibition covering 1800 square meters. More information: event.buhlergroup.com
Burkhard Böndel, Head of Corporate Communications, Bühler AG, 9240 Uzwil, Switzerland
Phone: +41 71 955 33 99
Mobile: +41 79 515 91 57