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Solar Products Case Study on Thermoforming Machine Retrofit
Solar Products, Inc.
228 Wanaque Ave
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
The new machine would not only cost 100,000 to purchase but would additionally require labor to operate, power to run, floorspace and additional maintenance time. The 2nd shift option would have required additional labor personnel, supervision, increased overhead costs and more headaches.
The decision was made to increase the power available in the event that more power was required with future products or materials. The control system selected was a Cutler-Hammer programmable logic controller (PLC) model D 100A with 32 outputs for individual zones. The timer/counter access module assists in quick and easy programming of the heater cycle times. The power switching devices were upgraded from mechanical contractors to mercury relays, which are very common for sheet fed equipment.
The complete upgrade cost 15,000. This included top and bottom heaters with mounting frame, PLC with touch screen, electrical enclosure, 32 mercury relays, control cabinet wiring, new high voltage power feed to equipment, 120 hours labor, a larger vacuum tank, and all the running around required for a project such as this.
The increase in productivity is based on the fact that sheets of ABS went from 45 to 80 sheets per day-a 77.7% increase-and polyethylene went from 40 to 70 sheets a day- a 75% increase. On average a 76.26% increase in productivity. A 43% increase in machine output derives from what used to take 5 days can now be done in 2.84 days, resulting in 43% more available machine time. Total ROI is based on a retrofitting cost of 15,000, a 62.21/day reduction in labor cost, and a 13.33/day reduction in electrical cost. Electrical rate is 0.07834 KW/hr. The calculations is as follows: 15,000/(62.21 + 13.33/day)=198.5 days to recoup the initial investment or 9.16 months, assuming a 40 hour work week. Your actual savings may vary depending on the local utility rates, labor costs and retrofit costs.
The end result is that the actual return on investment is much better than has been portrayed.
Additional benefits of panel heaters over metal sheathed elements are:
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ELECTRIC HEATING ASSOC., INC.