Leakage detection in practice

Energy Saving Services at Tate & Lyle in the Netherlands

Festo Energy Saving Services reduce the operating costs of industrial plants the world over. Hidden sources of errors can be found by analysing compressed air generation, consumption and quality as well as through targeted leakage detection. At Tate & Lyle in the Netherlands, the energy efficiency experts uncovered losses of 6,000 l/min.

If a car is using too much fuel, this quickly becomes obvious from the frequency of visits to the petrol station and your empty wallet. If an industrial plant is using too much compressed air, this isn’t immediately apparent in day-to-day operations because loss of compressed air often goes unnoticed for months and years. Because companies do not always have the capacities and the expertise for comprehensive compressed air inspection themselves, Festo provides its Energy Saving Services. Experienced employees analyse the compressor and system status, develop action plans, maintain pneumatic components and permanently preserve the optimised machine status. The result is impressive ‒ efficient generation of compressed air, reduced compressed air consumption and significantly reduced compressed air losses. The stability of the production process is enhanced, the number of machine downtimes falls and operating costs are reduced. A reduction in the loss of compressed air by as little as 100 l/min. can mean a saving of up to €1,000 per year.

Energy as a competitive factor

At over 30 production locations, Tate & Lyle converts all kinds of raw materials into hundreds of high-quality ingredients such as glucose syrup, fructose, dextrose, and food stabilisers. To remain competitive in the global marketplace, Maintenance Manager Remo Dubbeld of the Tate & Lyle plant in the Netherlands decided at the beginning of 2012 to have all the compressed air systems tested with Festo Energy Saving Services. “Energy saving is a key factor for us at Tate & Lyle with regard to worldwide competitiveness”, he explains. “We have our own energy saving programme, which has now been perfected thanks to Festo’s Energy Saving Services.”

Leakage detection reduces costs

At Tate & Lyle, the Energy Saving Services experts focused on leakage detection. The reason: optimal leak management significantly reduces compressed air costs. According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute ISI entitled “Compressed Air Systems in the European Union”, around 42 per cent of total savings can be achieved in this area alone. To make sure leak detection is reliable, the Festo specialists used ultrasonic detectors to scan machines and compressed air lines throughout the production plant in Amsterdam. This enabled them to detect even the smallest leaks or loose connections and fittings. Each leakage which was found was tagged, and all the relevant data such as estimated repair time and required spare parts was recorded. The result was a complete action plan for the quick and easy elimination of leaks.

A worthwhile effort

For Tate & Lyle, the service provided by the Festo experts has paid dividends. “Festo thoroughly checked our plant equipment and their leakage detection was perfect,” says Remo Dubbeld. “They found many leaks. Overall we were losing 6,000 litres per minute, which represents approximately eight per cent of our compressed air costs.” On the basis of a market price for compressed air of € 0.025/m³, the company can save around 75,000 euros per year.

Action expanded

Tate & Lyle now carries out monthly leakage detection and repairs with support from Festo and other partners. “The Energy Saving Services team is very well trained and precisely complied with the safety guidelines defined by us”, says Dubbeld, describing the collaboration with Festo. The success achieved in the Netherlands has attracted interest from other Tate & Lyle production locations. “I told colleagues at other plants about Festo’s Energy Saving Services”, explains the maintenance manager. “They have the same energy saving programs that we
have in the Netherlands and we’re now planning to implement these measures in our other European plants as well.”