Wednesday, 21 Aug 2019 12:55 GMT

The ‘clever energy’ solution for plants

Self-adhesive specialist HERMA has outlined plans for its new coating plant, which will operate a ‘clever energy concept’.

By installing a combined cooling, heat and power plant, the firm expects to significantly reduce the plant’s energy demand, with power and heat saving amounting to the rough equivalent to the annual consumption of around 150 homes.

“In five to ten years’ time, the relevance of energy costs will be very different from today,” says HERMA managing director Dr. Thomas Baumgärtner, who also heads the self-adhesive materials division. He adds that “the ability to use energy very efficiently will sooner or later become a very valuable competitive edge”. 

The firm has worked with engineering consultancy EGS-plan, which focuses on sustainable energy and climate concepts for buildings. Designers from the award-winning firm were given “more or less a free hand” by HERMA, something EGS-plan says is a rarity.

… the ability to use energy very efficiently will sooner or later become a very valuable competitive edge

“When a manufacturing company builds a new production facility, in the majority of cases it sticks to the energy concept of the existing plant because that has been tried and tested; the focus is generally on the actual production processes,” says Uwe Hemminger, head of energy concepts, EGS-plan. “When it comes to the energy supply, people prefer to leave well alone. However, HERMA was prepared to try something new, provided it paid dividends.”

The concept involves HERMA’s own cogeneration plant with combined cooling, heat and power. The heat produced as a by-product of power generation is in turn used by absorption chillers to cool machinery and production halls.

Baumgärtner adds: “The volume of heat and cooling energy we generate is even enough additionally to provide heating and air-conditioning for the new building belonging to HERMA’s Labelling Machines division that we commissioned in January on the same site.”

HERMA was prepared to try something new, provided it paid dividends

A special layered ventilation system will reduce the amount of supply air needed to be heated or cooled in the new plant – a particularly energy intensive process.

The steam required to dampen paper webs is no longer generated at a single, central point, but is decentralised to be close to production machine to make the supply more needs-based and reducing energy lost in transit.

HERMA plans to commission its new coating plant for adhesive materials in Filderstadt, Germany this autumn, with an investment of around €80m (£73m).

“We are very much looking forward soon to be operating a coating plant that is absolutely the best in terms not only of its production and material flow technology, but also of its energy efficiency,” concludes Baumgärtner.

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