Vacuum System From Atlas Copco Vacuum Enables Sustainable Production of Building Materials

Isola, based in Notodden in the south of Norway, offers environmentally friendly products for the construction industry. The company manufactures insulation materials, roofing membranes, wind protection and sealing products. As the construction sector is responsible for around 40 percent of all CO2 emissions worldwide, there is great incentive to reduce harmful emissions with such building materials. However, efficient production is also an important lever in counteracting climate change.

Image Credit: Atlas Copco Vacuum Technique

Vacuum Supply Harbours Potential for Savings

At Isola the focus is on environmentally friendly production: for this goal, energy efficiency is an important factor that is prioritized in day-to-day production – for example in the vacuum supply. The Norwegians need a sustainable central vacuum system for processes such as extrusion, thermoforming and injection moulding. "And by choosing the right vacuum pumps, considerable savings potential can be realised in these processes," emphasises Ulf Strand, Factory Manager at Isola in Notodden.

Conversion to Speed-Controlled Screw Vacuum Pumps

Until recently two Roots vacuum pumps formed the centrepiece of these rough vacuum applications. "However, the disadvantage of these roots pumps was their high energy consumption – up to 90 percent of the energy used was lost via the waste heat from the motor," reports Ulf Strand. This was reason enough for Isola to adapt the production process and switch the vacuum supply to two oil-sealed, speed-controlled screw vacuum pumps instead: The GHS 2002 VSD+ including HEX@TM control from Atlas Copco. A major advantage of the system for the applications mentioned is the energy recovery that the models have.

Controller Enables Intelligent Resource Management

"Since the changeover, the manufacturer has been able to recover three quarters of the heat loss via hot water by means of recuperation and utilise it productively in the process," summarises Roy Mikalsen, the responsible account manager at Atlas Copco. The pump's HEX@TM controller harbours further savings potential: this control system allows the speed to be precisely adjusted to the required vacuum level. And this is particularly useful in applications where the vacuum requirement varies greatly depending on the process and time of day. The bottom line is that there is no unnecessary vacuum performance and no more wasted energy, which significantly increases efficiency and effectiveness.

Smart Functionalities via User Interface

Other features are also advantageous for Isola: thanks to the Industry 4.0 capabilities of the GHS VSD+ series, the vacuum system status can be checked at any time via smartphones or PCs. In addition, users can start and stop the setup or adjust the setpoint as required via the configurable user interface. "This allows the vacuum pumps to be configured even more specifically and sustainably for the respective applications," summarises Roy Mikalsen. Other optional functions include intelligent scheduling, pump-down optimisation and leak detection.

Noise Level 30 dB Lower

The pioneering installation also fulfils modern ergonomic requirements and is 30 dB quieter than the old system. This effect is partly due to the absence of a fan. With the GHS VSD+ series, on the other hand, oil cooling ensures the optimum motor temperature across the entire speed range. "The noise level was a relevant criterion for us when making the decision because our production facility is located in a residential area," explains Factory Manager Ulf Strand. Overall, the new screw pump allows Isola to utilize important savings potential, ergonomic advantages and a variety of intelligent functions. Based on these vacuum solutions, the manufacturer can organize its operations sustainably in the future and thus contribute to environmentally friendly construction.

Atlas Copco GHS VSD+ vacuum pumps help Isola contribute to energy efficient building practices

Atlas Copco GHS VSD+ vacuum pumps help Isola contribute to energy efficient building practices. Video Credit: Atlas Copco Vacuum Technique

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