Ever rising energy costs and a commitment to sustainable business practices made reducing energy costs a priority for the management of Sunchang Corporation, an Incheon, South Korea–based market leader in the plywood and medium-density fibreboard (MDF) industry with branch offices throughout Asia.
Says Ji Seung-Kwon, Deputy General Manager/ Maintenance Team at Sunchang, “We had only a limited number of energy-saving measures, and their effect was not obvious. For example, utilization of the energy management system had been limited because major equipment such as compressors was frequently failing. And the effect of energy savings could hardly be felt because of such variables as increased line output. This raised questions about how we were using the system.
“We knew we needed detailed energy management in order to generate baseline data of our energy consumption by load and automatically control peak demand.
“Thus, to boost our energy management capability, it was decided that we required both energy monitoring systems and systems capable of identifying potential savings and controlling usage. In other words, we needed a solution that could uncover energy savings from various types of energy sources — water, air, gas, electricity, and steam (WAGES).
“Schneider Electric Korea fit our requirements exactly. We had known about them for some time as ‘an energy management specialist’ with a broad variety of solutions.
Investment to be recovered within 3 years
“Our switchboards had lacked any monitoring and had been scattered around without a centralized view. We installed Schneider Electric ION6200 power meters on switchboard panels and connected them over a communication network. This enabled us to check information generated by all the power meters at a glance from the electric room.
“Now we can manage energy by system, load, and time, and we have achieved reductions in power cost through demand peak management.
“Sunchang is very satisfied with Schneider Electric's energy management solution. We can now systematically manage energy information, which used to be neglected without any real power management system available, and we are seeing significant cost reductions, too. The expected annual savings would be approximately KRW 100 million ($97,478 / €75,200).
“Another positive aspect has been the fact that data from Schneider Electric's energy management solution can be utilized as baseline data for our company's ongoing energy saving policy. The cost of Schneider Electric's solution is expected to be recovered within three years.
Detailed management improves energy efficiency
“Achieving energy savings requires a lot of effort on the part of onsite operators. In the future, however, more effective and persistent energy savings should be achieved with less manpower. To this end, we aim to implement control capability for various complex situations using a host of I/O points, including, for example, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to realize even greater energy savings.
“Though only part of our power system has been fitted with power meters and monitoring so far, our future plan includes installing power meters on all switchboard panels, as well as reinforcing certain parts for operational convenience. We also plan to reduce basic electricity costs by controlling peak values and analyzing unit power consumption by process to establish a corresponding standard. Then, if the values ever deviate from the standard, we will be able to conduct a cause analysis to adjust accordingly.
“All these endeavors have been supported with field technologies regarding HMI interface, monitoring screens, communication function, etc., by customer service and technical support teams from Schneider Electric, which has proved to be an enormous help. Appreciating Schneider Electric's significant contribution to profit generation, value improvement, and time saving for Sunchang, we expect to continue the partnership in our future energy saving efforts for many years to come.”