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CNH Industrial Canada Ltd. in Saskatoon builds on savings achieved by new Building Automation System

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CNH Industrial achieved ISO 50001 certification for all of its North American sites in 2015 under the ISO 50001 multi-site program. One of those sites, CNH Industrial’s Saskatoon Plant, received the 2018 Process Integration award at the 2018 Energy Summit for its continued work to improve its energy efficiency performance.

Rob Thomas, Facilities Supervisor, explains that a recently installed Building Automation System (BAS) has contributed significantly to the Saskatoon Plant’s energy efficiency performance. The BAS controls building HVAC systems and has led to reductions in annual electricity consumption by 6,500 GJ, annual natural gas consumption by 12,640 GJ and annual CO2 emissions by 2,030 tons.

The BAS is being used in conjunction with newly installed opacity sensors (which detect particulates in the air) to ensure that dust collectors will only run when needed to maintain clean plant air. The dust collectors will shut off when particulates fall below a certain level to avoid wasting energy. Annual savings from this project are around $18,000.

The BAS is also used to monitor the temperature around the plant’s overhead doors. Harjeet Sandhu, Facilities Shop Technician, says that a vestibule was installed at one of the most frequently used overhead doors to reduce building heat loss. This pilot project is expected to result in annual savings of $13,300 and will be replicated for other overhead doors.

Business team looking at reports with data of their energy efficiency performance and savings.

The plant’s impressive energy savings can also be attributed to Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) retrofits. Five dust collector fan motors will be retrofitted with VFDs by the end of May 2019 which will complete the installation of VFDs on all dust collectors throughout the plant and reduce excessive power consumption. “By installing VFDs, we achieve the same value from the fans but much more efficiently,” Rob Thomas says. Retrofitting all wash pumps with VFDs has also yielded significant savings.

The growing energy awareness culture at CNH Industrial is another key factor driving the plant’s energy performance. Julie Hunchak, Energy Efficiency Engineer-in-Training at CNH Industrial’s Saskatoon plant, says that the facility is developing a strong energy conservation culture, whereby “every employee is aware of energy and engaged in identifying energy saving opportunities.” Employees have different avenues to contribute to energy conservation including ‘fix-it’ tags on equipment that is not functioning efficiently as well as through the company’s Kaizen Suggestion Program where energy saving ideas can be submitted.

Hunchak, Thomas and Sandhu are part of the plant’s Energy Pillar team, which has been around since 2008, is the main driver for energy projects, and regularly meets with operators and managers of all the different plant units.

In 2019, Hunchak says the Energy Pillar team will act on recommendations from a comprehensive audit of the plant’s compressed air system completed in February. For example, they will optimize the efficiency on the supply side at the compressors and air dryer as well as the demand side by reducing the pressure drop between the main compressed air lines and the point of use. Moreover, compressed air tools are being replaced by more energy efficient electric ones on an ongoing basis. Significant electricity savings will also be achieved by replacing 20 weld machines with newer, more efficient weld technology in 2019. Thomas also notes that “in the long-term, CNH Industrial Saskatoon would like to incorporate solar power into its operations—once this becomes economically feasible.”

The Energy Pillar team will also continue with its employee engagement strategy in 2019 by installing several energy dashboards in employee work centers that display the energy consumption of that work center in real time. Hunchak concludes that “this way, employees can see energy issues and take more ownership of energy conservation.”

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