Promoting "smart grid" technology to control electricity consumption
Powerit Solutions and Inductotherm Corp. have arrived at an agreement by which the two firms will work together to promote Powerit's Spara technology. Powerit develops energy-management programs for industrial users, while Inductotherm is designs and supplies induction melting, heating, holding, and pouring systems for metal and material processing companies. Metalcasters are an important customer group for both companies.
Bob Zak, general manager and president of Seattle-based Powerit Solutions North America, said the agreement would give the company greater access "in a sector where we have really made a difference. Controlling energy costs is an increasingly important competitive measure for this industry."
Inductotherm will make Spara available to its customers and the two companies will work together to implement energy-management strategies and integrate the Spara technology.
Spara is described as a "smart grid" technology (i.e., two-way digital communications) that controls electricity consumption to take advantage of utilities' incentive programs and rate structures.
It is a package of hardware systems and software that helps users cut peak-rate usage and participate in automated demand-response programs, and react to dynamic pricing without compromising product quality or production volume.
For foundries, Spara typically focuses on the electricity consumption of large furnaces. It synchronizes demand reductions through a carefully selected collection of loads to reduce kilowatt consumption without sacrificing production volume. But, in addition to furnaces it will also manage energy consumed by dust and fume collectors, air compressors and A/C units.
"We are impressed with Powerit's ability to manage energy for its many metals customers throughout North America and are excited to offer this to our customers to help them reduce their overall energy costs," stated Inductotherm president and CEO Satyen Prabhu.
Most of the foundries where Spara is deployed are using a "demand control" strategy to determine how energy usage "spikes," and then making carefully timed load reductions to avoid those spikes and take advantage of any rate discounts that the power supplier offers. In one example that the new partners cited, a foundry's peak-demand usage on loads (including six Inductotherm melting furnaces) was reduced by 26%, and the ROI for the Spara installation was reached after 10 months.
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