Rising energy costs and Furnace Energy Optimisation

“Energy costs rise by 60% in 4 months” 1

“9% of business costs are utility costs” 2

“British manufacturers are facing an increasing threat to their competitiveness from rapidly escalating energy costs” 3

1 – BBC report on manufacturing; 2 – Contract Heat Treater; 3 – CBI report

What is Furnace Energy Optimisation?

Furnace Energy Optimisation is a methodology in heat treat industry for calculating uniform work load temperature, that identifies when a load has reached “Steady State” at furnace temperature without the need for a load thermcouple. This reduces process time whilst ensuring soak time.

The Furnace Energy Optimization controller monitors the power required to heat the loaded furnace.  By performing a number of specific calculations, the controller is able to identify when a steady state has been reached where the work piece is at an homogenous temperature.  Depending on the process, this can either flag the end of the process or the start of timed period at temperature.

By knowing the moment that the work piece reaches the required temperature, the overall process time can be optimized, providing increased throughput and not only delivering increased productivity and ROI, but also reduced energy costs.  These combined savings serve to reduce overheads and increase OPBIT.

Furnace Energy Optimisation Benefits 

  • Potential energy savings of 9%
  • Potential process time reduction of 20%
  • Reduced energy consumption per tonne
  • Measured and recorded soak time
  • Can be used where the use of load thermocouples is not practical


Where can this be applied?

  • Reheating
  • Annealing
  • Stress Relieving
  • Normalizing
  • Any batch metallurgical process
  • Gas or electrical heating

What are the results? 

  • Savings of 7%-9% of annual energy costs 1
  • Reduction of process time of up to 20% 2
  • Rapid payback
1 – French foundry running cycles up to 26 hours;  
2 – Swedish steel plant running cycles up to 50 hours.

Why act now? 

  • Energy costs impact directly on profit.
  • Industrial commentators expect prices to rise.
  • Reduction in energy consumption has a long term financial and social impact.
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