At Inpro/Seal, we view the “greening” of the process industries in general, and the maintenance function in particular, as one of the biggest challenges and profit opportunities currently facing our customers. Lean, efficient manufacturing operations are a vital part of the day-to-day concerns we face at Inpro on a daily basis—we know it’s the same throughout the industries we serve.
There are various ways to qualify as being “green” in the process industries. For example, you could buy and install a 1.5 MW wind turbine for about $1.2 million. You could cover a football field with solar panels and hook it up to the grid. Or, you could install 1000 non-contact bearing isolators in the place of 1000 contacting face or lip seals in your rotating equipment. Bearing isolators are permanent and effective bearing protection devices that consume very little, if any, electrical power—and they last almost forever.
Contact seals each consume about 147 watts of electrical power while they are temporarily sealing the bearing enclosures of pumps and other rotating equipment. Thirty eight (38) million rubber lip seals are produced for industrial use each year for pumps, gearboxes, fans, paper machine rolls and other types of rotating equipment.
Most electric motors, even NEMA Premiums, leave the factory without any effective bearing protection at all. Rewinding them after an alltoo- early bearing failure is an energy-intensive process. IEEE-841 motors are just as efficient as the NEMA Premiums and last twice as long, because they are inherently bearing-protected by means of non-contacting, compound labyrinth bearing isolators.
“Green” numbers don’t lie
Interestingly, being “green” doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of “green.” For each megawatt saved by supplanting contact seals with bearing isolators, you can count on bringing $680,000 to the bottom line of your operation. At least one bearing isolator company now offers a three-year participation contract to supply isolators free of charge up front and then collect one-half of the net savings derived from their use in your plant. If there’s no net savings, there’s no charge to you. It’s a no-brainer!
Each megawatt of electrical power we conserve eliminates 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas—from being spewed into the environment. A ton here, a ton there of additional CO2…pretty soon we’re talking about the possibility of real irreparable harm to the earth’s environment.
“Green” comes in several shades
Being green may be easier and more economical than you once thought. It isn’t all about carbon trade-offs and hybrid cars, however. It could be energy conservation in an industrial-process or productivity in manufacturing. You may or may not agree with the scientists who are concerned with the man-made component and the acceleration of the amount of CO2 in the environment. Perhaps you’re more aligned with those who blame natural phenomena, such as intensity of the sun or storms and flares on its surface, for the rise in the earth’s average temperature over the last decade.
In any event, conservation of electric energy— however it is derived—is a noble and profitable undertaking in industry, because net monetary savings drop unimpeded to the bottom line. In turn, a more profitable enterprise is a more secure and hospitable environment in which to do life’s labors.
So, just how “green” would you like to be? It’s your move.