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Alligator Plastics produces energy saving roadmap

This year, Alligator Plastics is creating a roadmap to implement company-wide energy-saving measures. The roadmap makes the energy-saving policies of recent years even more concrete. The recommendations from last year’s energy scan, made by partner ExxonMobil, will also be a part of this roadmap.

Actively reporting measures

A lot of energy is needed for the production of plastics. The two Alligator production locations, in Son and Eindhoven, also use a large amount of energy. Virtually the entire production runs on electricity. Natural gas is only used for the heating of buildings. Due to the high energy-consumption, Alligator Plastics, along with almost every production company, is subject to the government’s ‘energy-saving obligation’. This requires companies to take all energy-saving measures that have a payback period of up to five years. On July 1, 2019, an information-obligation will be added: companies should actively report what energy saving measures they have taken. Therefore, the government has made an Approved Measures List (Erkende Maatregelen Lijst, EML). This list contains all measures that should be taken. Through the information-obligation, compliance with these measures needs to be confirmed.

Inspiration for a diligent approach

The governmental obligations are not a direct cause for the energy-saving roadmap, says Alligator’s technical director, Bas van Reisen: “Energy-saving has always been high on our agenda. We are creating the roadmap especially to make concrete plans for the short, medium and long term. The obligation to provide information is an additional inspiration to diligently approach this.” Another inspiration came in September last year, from the supplier ExxonMobil (distributor Den Hartog), says Bas: “They offered us a comprehensive energy scan. This provided some room for improvement, which we were already working on, but also ideas we had not thought of. For example, not having the conveyor belts running continuously, but pulsing, whenever a product needs to be moved. These recommendations were also included as part of the roadmap.”

Energy-saving measures

Meanwhile, Alligator Plastics has already implemented many energy-saving measures and has others in preparation. Bas: “Our biggest energy consumers are the injection-molding machines. Fortunately, the energy scan showed that we are now already using 57 percent less energy for these machines than the industry average. This consumption can be lowered even further. We are now gradually replacing the conventional hydraulic injection-molding machines by hybrid, or partially-electric, injection-molding machines. During installations, we replace conventional electric motors by frequency-controlled motors. Savings can also be found in good maintenance and in the automatically shutting down of peripheral devices, whenever there is a main-machine failure. Pressurized-air losses are also large consumers. In the area of air-leakage, we are now implementing an improvement-plan that has already saved us a lot of energy. Other measures include optimal insulation of all pipes, molds, and components where heat is lost, the replacement of all conventional fluorescent tubes by LED tubes, and replacement of refrigeration equipment by more energy-efficient machines. In the meantime, we are also in talks about the placement of solar panels.”

Giving direction to a sustainable future

According to Bas, the measures taken have already saved some 15 to 20 percent of energy: “We think that in the next two to three years, an additional saving of 15 to 20 percent can be achieved. In this way, we can end up with around 70 percent of the original consumption. In order to achieve this, we want to map everything well. Then, we are going to review what measures, in addition to the government-imposed measures, are achievable and affordable, and when. This is precisely what we want to capture in the roadmap with a team of Alligator specialists so that we can move towards a sustainable future, together.”

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