Creative Solutions to Save Energy at Johns Manville's Wertheim, Germany, Plant

Electricity and gas prices have experienced nearly constant increases in the past year, heightening the urgency for cost-saving measures at the Johns Manville plant in Wertheim, Germany.

Johns Manville machine operator Ersal Yüksel devised an innovative solution after noticing that the dryers on the glass nonwoven machines continued to operate even during brief halts. Yüksel proposed switching the energy-intensive circulating air fans of the dryers to standby mode in such instances.

Soon, Michael Kurz, a control and automation engineer, joined the project. He had previously completed an apprenticeship as a plant electronics technician and undertook further technician training and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering degree in mechatronics. Equipped with extensive expertise, Kurz independently modified the plant's process control system.

Within a few days and after a few trials, he implemented a new type of drive that minimizes ambient air within the dryer during plant standstills. During the testing phase, Kurz conceived the idea of expanding the proposal to include the exhaust air system, further reducing electrical energy and natural gas consumption.

However, energy conservation was not the sole objective. Johns Manville also prioritized enhancing conditions for employees on the production floor and made additional improvements to optimize the automatic start-up of the production line. Consequently, operator errors have been eliminated, leading to increased productivity.

Johns Manville employees in Wertheim regularly undergo energy management system training. Interdepartmental energy meetings are convened to identify further opportunities for savings. Yüksel suggestions for improvement have already resulted in a total energy savings of 511,000 kWh in 2022, with comparable savings anticipated in the coming years. This quantity of electricity would power an electric car for approximately 2.6 million kilometers, or 1.6 million miles The commitment and dedication of Johns Manville employees in Wertheim continues to pay off! 

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