The sun reflects in the Volkswagen logo on the roof of an old building. This is where the Volkswagen was born in 1938. Right here in Braunschweig, Germany. Today, axles, brake disks and shock absorbers are supplied to all the different car brands in the Volkswagen Group from here. Working on this scale makes the demand for energy high. Besides the power for running the machines, the need to cool lubricant makes a big impact on energy consumption. For each of the machining lines in the production a big tank with cooling lubricant and a pump system ensures that the machine tools work reliably and at consistent high quality.
“When Volkswagen introduced the ‘Think Blue. Factory.’ concept, we started to search for ways to reduce energy in production. We knew that our pump systems in the production plant in Braunschweig were using a lot of energy, so we asked Grundfos to help us find savings,” says electrical engineer at Volkswagen Eugen Treder.
The ambitious goal for the whole Group is to reduce energy consumption by 25 per cent per vehicle and component produced by the end of 2018.
“To reach this goal, we need dedicated partners who can help us with knowhow within specific areas. In the area of optimising pumps solutions, Grundfos is a valuable partner,” he says.
Control system was the key
After a pump audit from Grundfos, the case was clear. It was not the pumps themselves which held the biggest potential for energy savings. It was the control system which was the weak link. This meant that Grundfos iSolutions came in handy. The concept of optimising a pump system using an intelligent solution was well received at Volkswagen. In the adapted system, an MPC pump controller identifies changes in pressure and adjusts the pumps’ external frequency converters according to the actual demand. This resulted in energy reductions of more than 25 per cent in a single machining line in production.
“I think that the result is remarkable and I really like the fact that the software is intuitive and simple to manage. And because of the pressure sensor, the system adjusts the speed to the need, so if one of our lines in a particular area is not running, the pumps won’t either,” says Eugen Treder.
Seeing the great result from iSolutions, Volkswagen in Braunschweig decided in 2014 to invest in three additional solutions. And two more will come in 2015.
Grundfos Key Account Manager Heinz Maier explains that with iSolutions from Grundfos, energy savings of up to 40 per cent are possible – the result depends on the design of the system installed.
“We have a strong partnership with Volkswagen based on openness and trust. This allows us to use our experience and knowledge in combination with the wide range of solutions that we can offer,” he says.
For the four systems already in use the return of investment is between one and two years. This fact makes Eugen Treder smile.
“For us it is a good investment, and I hope that with the help of Grundfos we can do more projects like this in the future,” he says.
- Volkswagen has implemented an intelligent solution from Grundfos
- We call it Grundfos ISolutions – a way to optimise the way pumps, drives, controls and protection, measurement and communication units work together as part of one system.
- Volkswagen has installed several MPC pump controllers
- With this solution energy savings of up to 40 per cent are possible