CO2 emissions reduced by one third
In order to map the casting process for our customers in addition to die design and production, Heck + Becker’s Die Casting Technology Center samples the die casting dies, optimizes casting processes or produces small series of up to 3000 castings. More than 150 tons of aluminium are processed annually.
In 2013, Managing Director Martin Baumann already started a series of energy optimization projects. A new compressed air system with heat recovery and new illumination led to electricity savings of 40 percent and reduced CO2 emissions by 189 tons per year. “It was clear to us that we had to continue working on energy efficiency.” Baumann and Björn Velte, Head of Facility Management, continued this basic idea in the following years. In 2018, they analysed the production again. New furnace technology and energy generation options should make the company more efficient.
New melting furnace saves 347 tons of CO2
Until now, a natural gas melting furnace has been used for aluminium melting for the production of the castings and an electric furnace for keeping the aluminium hot. Together they keep the aluminium at a melting temperature of around 670 degrees Celsius 24 hours a day throughout the year. However, the natural gas melting furnace also caused combustion losses of around 3.5 percent of the valuable aluminium. An innovative aluminium melting and heat retention concept was developed for the Heck + Becker Die Casting Technology Center to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and material losses due to combustion during the melting process. The aluminium combustion loss dropped to around 1.5 percent. The special innovation of the melting and heat retention furnace is based on the division of the furnace chamber into three zones: the preheating zone, a melting zone and a heat retention bath for the liquid aluminium. Together with the improved insulation of the furnaces, this leads to considerable energy savings, low material losses and uninterrupted availability of the melt for the die casting machine. The annual energy consumption is to be reduced by around 258,300 kWh, which corresponds to a CO2 saving of 347 tons per year.
30 percent subsidy from PIUS – amortization in just five years
Furthermore, the installation of a photovoltaic system (PV) and a combined heat and power unit (CHP) are planned, which will largely supply the Die Casting Technology Center with renewable energies in the future. “Thanks to PIUS, we will not only enhance our image but also create enormous potential for cost savings.” In addition to reducing energy costs, Heck + Becker will reduce CO2 emissions by a third. With the help of the “PIUS-Invest” investment promotion programme for the reduction of CO2 emissions within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union, the amortisation period for the expenditure is only 3.7 years. Given 20 years of use and savings, there will be an excellent return on investment.