Refrigeration plant upgrades are proving to be a great starting point for manufacturers seeking to reduce energy costs and generate ambitious savings.

Campbell Australasia’s Shepparton plant in Victoria has implemented ABB’s synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM) and variable speed drive package to achieve $15,000 per annum in energy savings.

Annual CO2 savings have topped 131 tonnes for the food manufacturer.

Campbell’s Shepparton has set an ambitious Sustainability Target to reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2025.

The project, which was implemented by A1 Electric Motors, began with an onsite demonstration showing a 14% reduction in energy consumption. The environmental and safety manager at Campbell Australasia, Mark Hyland, said when he first heard the numbers he was skeptical.

“The numbers clearly showed a 14% reduction in energy costs whereas I expected savings around the 6-7% mark,” Hyland said.

During the consultancy stage, A1 Electric Motors assisted with a cost-benefit analysis detailing the savings made on project management and capital expenditure, which also included expected payback figures from installing the ABB SynRM technology.

After an assessment of the refrigeration plant, it was decided to install an ABB SynRM motor to validate the estimated energy savings.

The initial project comprised of a 72kW ABB SynRM high efficiency IE3 electric motor, including the mechanical and electrical installation.

Director at A1 Electric Motors, Chris Cheong, said the Shepparton refrigeration plant operates 24/7 resulting in even greater savings.

Over a 12-month period, regular vibration analyses were carried out and the results were closely monitored. 

The drop in energy consumption was not the only benefit. There was also a considerable noise reduction, lower running temperature, smoother operation and reduced vibration.

“The savings and performance were evident straight away which allowed for the overload currents to be dropped from 125 to 110amps during commissioning,” Hyland said.

Due to the success of the project, Campbell's Shepparton upgraded a second refrigeration compressor with a 55kW SynRM motor and ACS580 variable speed drive.

Subsequently two additional refrigeration compressors were also upgraded with ABB SynRM motor technology, bringing the total to four.

“After the initial project success, it was a no-brainer to add further SynRM installations, given the rising energy prices, our increased ability to meet our sustainability target and also the fact that we could now rely on a critical piece of infrastructure,” Hyland said.

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