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BECOMING A PRACTICAL GREEN CASTING INDUSTRY

BECOMING A PRACTICAL GREEN CASTING INDUSTRY
As metal recyclers, metal – casting facilities have long considered themselves a part of the green movement. In reality, the industry has only scratched the surface and has yet to achieve the higher level of sustainability that the future will demand. Metal- casting is energy intensive, handles massive quantities of processed waste materials often destined for landfills and has the potential to emit a large quantity of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

Energy reductions in the manufacturing process pose significant potential improvements in total energy usage and the reduction of carbon emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels. To become greener, one must find ways to increase the efficient use of energy in the complete manufacturing process and not merely shift energy use up ore down the manufacturing stream.

Significant capital spending is not the only way to realize savings and improvements. Metal casters can work within their own model to achieve results. Much of the technology to become greener exists now, and metal casters have the resource to become increasingly sustainable in the future. Following are specific areas in metal casting operations that yield savings.


Reuse of Waste Heat

The reuse of waste heat can net energy savings of 15-25% or more. While technologies exists for converting waste heat energy to electric power, a simple and less costly approach is to directly recover captured waste heat for use in an area that requires heat.

The simplest approach to reusing bag house heat energy is the direct re-introduction of the exhausted- filtered air back into the plant. This is feasible if no additional gaseous waste pollutants are present in the waste air stream. Modern bag houses and the advent of broken bag detection technology have eliminated the concern of reintroduction of particulates back into the workplace. Well run dust collection equipment regularly contains a lower particulate count than what may be experienced in the general work environment.


Air Handling

Many metal casting facilities ‘air capture and bag house systems have not undergone significant redesign since their initial installation in the 1970s. The average emissions system may consume 20 to 25% of the total energy usage in the plant. Many improvements in piping, engineering, components, bag house design and bag materials can be incorporated into an updated system.


Lighting

Plant and office lighting can be a significant source of energy savings, although some capital costs will be required. Today’s lighting fixture designs drive light deeper into the plant and provide truer colors for better employee comfort. Proper engineered lighting fixture layout can improve efficiency. Motion sensing and centralized automated control also offer opportunities for significant improvements in energy savings and maintaining consistent levels of light.

Because lighting is easily measured, many government agencies and power providers offer significant available rebates and tax incentives.

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