Save Energy With Efficient Water Cooling Systems Save energy in the automotive plant by converting the machine tools to efficient water-cooling systems

HYDAC – your partner for energy-efficient cooling solutions in machine tools.

Save energy in the automotive plant by converting the machine tools to efficient water-cooling systemsHYDAC – your partner for energy-efficient cooling solutions in machine tools.

Because of the topic of climate protection, the automotive industry is facing major challenges. With the industry in a state of change and the gradual conversion to electromobility, the pressure is increasing to make the entire supply chain more sustainable. The key issue is to lower the environmental impact of each component and every vehicle produced. Not only the purchasing of green energy needs to be optimised, but also the reduction of energy consumption, the use of water and other media, waste, CO2 emissions and solvent emissions in the entire value chain.

Energy efficiency, conservation of resources and cost optimisation for machine tools with the HYDAC Fluid Engineering approach

Our customer is one of Germany’s largest automotive manufacturers. The task involved optimising the energy of the machine tools in one of the customer’s factories and reducing energy costs. Additionally, these optimisations should also be incorporated into new machines.

The air-conditioning system in the factory building was not designed for the operation of additional machines and would not have been able to comply with the building’s maximum permitted temperature in the event of an expansion. Heating up of the machine building was to be avoided. Instead of expanding the air-conditioning unit, our customer decided on a more environmentally conscious solution. The cooling water circuit that was already in place in the factory was to be expanded and used for the cooling of the fluid-cooled drives and partial cooling of the switch cabinets.

The customer decided on HYDAC as a skilled technology partner and defined the following aims for the cooling task solution:

  • Energy saving of at least 20%

  • Amortisation within 1 to 1.5 years

  • Reduction of the costly service in cooling technology

  • Waste reduction through reduced coolant consumption

  • Reduced heat transmission to the manufacturing building

  • Reduction in noise load

  • Less space required in the manufacturing buildings

HYDAC’s fluid engineering experts first performed multiple analyses in the automotive factory. On the basis of the results, it was recommended to convert the machines with cooling units to compact fluid-water cooling systems FWKS. These systems should be connected to the factory’s cooling water circuit to achieve the goals defined by the car manufacturer.

The HYDAC product solutions

Connecting the machine tools to the external, central cooling water network made it possible to replace the existing cooling units with fluid-water cooling systems from the HYDAC FWKS series. The FWKS constitutes an intermediate circuit between the cooling water supply and the consumer. The tank of the FWKS contains water glycol, which is pumped to the consumer, where it absorbs the heat. As it returns to the cooling system, it flows through a plate heat exchanger, where it is recooled by the factory’s cooling water.

The intermediate circuit of the FWKS system has two major advantages: first, the quality of the cooling fluid is at a consistently high level and corrosion protection is provided at all times. Furthermore, the required pressure and flow rate are ensured, even if the pressure of the factory’s cooling water supply fluctuates or is generally too low.

The machines requiring a cooling power of up to 5 kW were converted to the FWKS-0 solution, and for cooling powers above 5 kW, the sizes FWKS-2 and FWKS-3 were used.

HYDAC FWKS are already much more energy-saving than the cooling units that are generally used in machine tools. To further reduce the cooling water consumption, the systems can be fitted with water control valves that are controlled either mechanically or electronically:

  • mechanically controlled proportional valves do not require an additional electrical connection. They can adjust the cooling water volume to allow the water glycol upstream from the consumer to remain at a fixed value, with a deviation of ± 2 K. This means that for a supply temperature set to 30 °C, the water glycol temperature can fluctuate within a range of 28–32 °C.
  • With electronically adjusted proportional valves, differential temperature control with a variation of ± 0.5 K is possible. The water glycol temperature is based on the machine bed temperature. This rises and falls in accordance with the performance of the consumer and the ambient temperature, and fluctuates in a range of 0.5 K in relation to the reference temperature. Temperature fluctuations that could impact the accuracy of the machine are therefore prevented in all cases.

The result

In the test run on our customer’s premises, eight machine tools were successfully converted at first. Four FWKS variants were set up and used as custom series devices. Following the successful test run, 140 more machines were converted, and in the next step more than 80 machines followed.

To ensure that the new cooling standard is also specified for new machines, the HYDAC FWKS solutions have been set down in the corporate product requirements specification of the German automotive manufacturer. The supplier machine manufacturers now use HYDAC fluid cooling systems in their machines.

Quote from HYDAC automotive expert:

“The automotive industry is focused on cost-reduced, resource-optimised and energy-efficient production, working towards a CO2-neutral energy supply.”

The cooling system conversion brings the following advantages:

Conservation of resources

Conservation of resources

No CFCs or coolants are needed. The proportional valve technology also ensures that cooling water is only used as needed. This means that unnecessary impact on the cooling water network is avoided.

Reducing costs

Cost optimisation

Lower costs for purchasing and service compared with the cooling units that were originally used. The costs for external commissioned service for cooling technology were significantly reduced. The factory’s internal mechanical maintenance team can perform the maintenance, as no special cooling technology training is required.

Fast payback period

Rapid amortisation

The cost optimisation shortens the amortisation time of the investment.

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Flexible system solutions

Modular and customised expansions of the solutions are possible at any later date.

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