ALBIS UK Limited, Knutsford - SME (Engineering)

Thermoplastics compounding firm, ALBIS UK in Knutsford, has made annual savings of over £54,500 and 278 tonnes of CO2e, thanks to ENWORKS support.

Part of the international ALBIS Group, the engineering company was founded in 1966.

Its Knutsford site produces and distributes engineering thermoplastic compounds and masterbatches, 24 hours a day, for a range of industries, including the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors.

The facility has been supported with improving its resource efficiency by Groundwork Cheshire advisers, with ENWORKS funding.

Energy efficiency

ENWORKS recommendations have so far helped ALBIS UK to save more than 500,000 kiloWatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year.
 
Replacing old lighting in the warehouses with more energy-efficient, sensor-activated lamps, and implementing a full energy monitoring and targeting system, has saved £29,000 a year.
 
Fitting variable speed drives to improve the energy efficiency of chilled water pumps has brought additional annual savings of £8,800.
 
A survey has also been carried out to identify leaks in the site’s compressed air system. Ultrasonic detectors were used to pinpoint a number of significant leaks, which were repaired in-house for just £50. This has brought annually recurring savings of £2,900 and 22 tonnes of CO2e.
 
Water efficiency

Water is another key resource for ALBIS UK because it is used for compounding plastics, primarily as a coolant. Before the ENWORKS review, several of the site’s injection mould machines drew directly on mains water for cooling and all the run-off was lost as effluent.
 
The site has since reduced its annual water consumption by 5,500 m3, by monitoring where wastage occurs and installing a simple water recirculation system, to re-use coolant water rather than let it drain away.

Push-stop taps and trigger nozzles have also been fitted to hoses in the wash-down areas and staff have been trained on using water more efficiently.

Together, these initiatives have saved £13,600 a year, with a payback period of just five months, and brought annual CO2e savings of 1.7 tonnes. Along with other initiatives introduced by the company, they have contributed to a 50 per cent reduction in the site's water consumption in the last two years.

In the pipeline

Scope has also been identified for another nine improvement projects on site.
 
For example, the site's extruder lines and equipment often run for the whole working week, even when not in use. ALBIS UK’s adviser is helping to fit new controls that allow core machinery to be switched off while other, ancillary machines are still operating. This will bring annual savings of £26,000 and 170 tonnes of CO2e a year, from a capital cost of just £7,200.
 
Applying voltage optimisation technology to the incoming electrical supply, to reduce unnecessary energy consumption, could also save £43,100 a year, with a payback period of just over two years.

Work is also underway to reduce the amount of reject materials generated on site. A reduction of just one per cent could save ALBIS UK another £160,000 a year on the costs of materials and waste management.
 
£20,000 a year has already been saved through the company's own recycling and waste minimisation work, and the amount of waste going to landfill fell by 31 per cent in the last year.
 
'Core business value'
 
Martin Jones, ALBIS UK's health, safety and environment manager said: "Reducing our environmental impact has always been a core business value, which is strongly supported from director level through to the shop floor.
 
"Groundwork Cheshire have helped us to identify areas where savings could be made and offered technical support which helped get projects through to their final conclusion.
 
"We have built up a close working relationship, which has lead to us making thousands of pounds worth of savings and reducing the environmental impact of our operations."
 

Case study published 21 March 2012