BOLGER CONCEPT TO PRINT -- Power of the Pump
While many industrial companies are feeling the crunch with rising energy prices, Bolger Concept to Print has reduced its energy costs by installing a new dry running combination pressure/vacuum pump on its Heidelberg Speedmaster 102V sheetfed press. As a result, this full-service commercial printer, located in Minneapolis, received a rebate check for more than $900 from its local energy company, Xcel Energy.
Bolger Concept to Print was using an oil-recirculating, rotary vane combination pressure/vacuum pump on its Heidelberg press. After several years of operation, the performance of the vane pump was starting to deteriorate due to high temperatures. And, with the constant over-heating, it eventually caused seal failures resulting in the breakdown of the drive bearings.
Cool for Press Operators
Also, the press operators were complaining about how much heat it generated and the high heat was causing problems with the air lines, contributing to excessive downtime and repairs. They also experienced the same problems with the numerous rotary carbon vane pumps they had used in their Heidelberg Speedmaster. The rotary carbon vane pump, after three years of use, had to either be rebuilt or replaced.
Rather than purchase another rotary vane pump, Bolger decided to switch to a different type of printing pump. Darren Doheny, plant engineer, wanted a pump that would require less maintenance, could run cooler, operate consistently with minimum downtime and would offer a lower cost of ownership than the vane pump. He found that the Busch ME3048 Merlin combination pressure/vacuum pump would satisfy all those requirements, plus save on rising energy costs.
Busch Merlin Series combination pumps are positive displacement, rotary claw-type pumps that feature non-contacting, non-wearing internal components. Pressure and vacuum are provided by independent pumping chambers, which are 100 percent oil-free.
Their efficient design and rugged construction make them highly reliable and tolerable to paper dust and offset powder. Upon installation of the Merlin ME3048, one of its many benefits was noted quickly.
The ME3048 uses 5.5 kW versus the vane pump's 9 kW. An engineering review was conducted, which determined that a savings of 3.5 kW resulted in a reduction of 24,700 kW hours of operation.
Based on this reduction of energy consumption, Bolger applied to Xcel Energy's Custom Solutions Program for industrial users. In the Custom Solutions Program, industrial users, such as printing companies, can apply for energy rebates for motor-driven equipment not covered under a standard rebate program. In order to receive a rebate, a company must show equipment information and operating hours.
The Custom Solutions Program is only available to Xcel Energy's business customers in the state of Minnesota. Other electrical companies may have similar programs, but they do vary from state to state.
In Bolger's case, it was with the Busch Merlin pump. The vane pump Bolger was using had a 71 percent efficiency rating at 9 kW opposed to a 90 percent efficiency rating at 5.5 kW for the ME3048. All Busch Merlin pumps use claw-type rotors instead of vanes for compression.
The non-contacting rotors run friction-free, allowing the use of a smaller motor that consumes less electricity. With less electricity being used, Bolger reduced its kW hours of operation, which significantly decreased its yearly energy bill. In addition, there is also less downtime with the ME3048 because it requires no regular, routine preventative maintenance or replacement vanes.
Xcel Energy's application process goes through a technical group that reviews each case individually and estimates how much energy is saved to determine the dollar amount of the rebate check. Projects must be pre-approved before ordering and installing equipment to qualify for rebates.
Rebates Can Vary
Due to the wide variety of companies and industries that can apply for this program, not all rebates will be the same. Rebates may be available when, for example, a plant switches from the standard to a different type of machinery that provides a higher level of efficiency and with better output as an end result.
Chris Conrad, Xcel Energy representative, submitted the application on behalf of Bolger Concept to Print. "Bolger's situation is pretty cut and dry. There was nothing unique about it, but the pump is unique," he says.
"Many printers operate sheetfed presses; this pump is unique in design and requires less maintenance. A lot of printers could use this pump and could then get a rebate. To me, that is a big selling point."
Bolger Concept to Print currently uses 15 vacuum pumps; nine are both pressure and vacuum, two are straight vacuum and the remaining four are straight pressure.