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Learning Factory Wants To Put Energy Efficiency Into Practice

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Learning Factory Wants To Put Energy Efficiency Into Practice
Learning Factory Wants To Put Energy Efficiency Into Practice

Video: Learning Factory Wants To Put Energy Efficiency Into Practice

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The ETA factory of the TU Darmstadt tackles the topic of energy efficiency together with companies. "ETA" stands for energy efficiency, technology and application center, and these are exactly the aspects that the founder of the institute, Prof. Eberhard Abele, wants to pursue. The question that the factory wants to investigate is: How can the energy appetite of machine tools be restrained in interaction with all systems in a factory, and how can companies specifically implement the know-how?

Energy efficiency is also the topic of the leading trade fair for metalworking EMO Hannover 2017, at which the Darmstadt researchers want to present the first solutions for the energy-efficient production of tomorrow.

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Bring energy efficiency to the mechanical engineering and civil engineering courses

The ETA factory is primarily intended as a large-scale research laboratory for industrial energy efficiency to help reduce energy consumption by 2050 compared to 2008. Industry plays a major role in this, since according to the Federal Environment Agency, it consumes almost a third of the total energy in Germany. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), over 30 industrial partners and the State of Hesse are funding the construction, installation and research work of the ETA factory with around 15 million euros.

The ETA factory should also serve as a learning factory, with the help of which the TU Darmstadt wants to integrate energy efficiency into the courses for mechanical and civil engineers. Abele explains: “All first-year students in mechanical engineering are faced with the potential for energy savings in production. In the remaining semesters you will find the environment to try out your own creative approaches for better energy efficiency.”

Make the factory more energy efficient across disciplines

In addition to a learning field for students and employees from industry, there is also a machine park with machine tools and cleaning machines as well as a hardening furnace - an environment in which components for pumps are created. The factory should include all stages of industrial production, from the raw to the finished part. The production of the pump components is a means to an end, under the real conditions of metal processing, to develop new concepts for saving energy.

"The current state of the art is that individual components are carefully examined," says Abele. "With mechanical engineers, civil engineers and architects, we want to analyze and optimize machine components, production machines, process chains, technical building equipment and shells from an energy efficiency perspective across all disciplines."

Network the individual components

The common thread is the multiple networking of the individual building blocks of the factory: A heating network connects the machines to each other and to the building shell via water pipes. The facade, which is covered with small pipes, reacts to the temperatures of the outside world and adapts to them by either cooling or heating the water in the pipes. She receives support in heating the hall via the heat network from the waste heat of the machines, which also use other systems such as the hardening furnace.

"Usually, the water used to cool the machine's drive elements is constantly cooled again," says Abele. "This is pure energy waste. We no longer cool the entire water supply, we even heat it up to 80 ° C - for the subsequent cleaning system for the metal parts, for example.”Instead, the machines use cold water from the water pipe to cool the drive elements. A data network also links all areas together. "We combine regulating energy consumption with Industry 4.0," explains the Darmstadt-based scientist.

Energy efficiency as a topic at EMO 2017

Bosch Rexroth participates in the ETA factory as a co-initiator. Here, among other things, research is carried out and conveyed how energy can be used more efficiently through a holistic approach and intelligent networking - under real conditions on a process chain of a hydraulic component from the Rexroth plant in Elchingen.

Those interested can find out more about this at the EMO in Hanover from September 18 to 23, 2017, at which Bosch Rexroth also deals with the topics of networked hydraulics and Industry 4.0 and energy efficiency. "The systematic Rexroth for Energy Efficiency opens up cross-technology savings potential in cutting and forming production," explains Hansjörg Sannwald, Head of Machine Tool Industry Management. "Variable-speed pump drives for the hydraulics use up to 80% less electricity than constantly driven units." (Kj)

* Nikolaus Fecht, specialist journalist from Gelsenkirchen

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