February 12, 2014

Going Green with Hydraulic System Design

Written by: Mike Gardella
VP Engineering & Manufacturing - Sorensen Systems

In today’s conservation conscious environment there is an ongoing desire to be as efficient as possible when either upgrading or installing new hydraulic equipment.  The challenge is to balance the price of “going green” with the business objective of controlling project cost.  Although there are many technologies and design techniques available to reduce energy consumption, not all of them may make sense as they relate to a company’s overriding need to control cost.  THG Corporation has made great strides in offering its air utility customers the opportunity to take advantage of both reduced power consumption and rebate opportunities offered by power companies to help satisfy both these goals.  THG has now added this service to its hydraulic power system offering.

The Challenge: How to conduct a proper hydraulic system analysis/audit of your application and assure you of a cost-effective system design.

The Myth: A system sales person can make a quick “walk-through” and offer good advice.

The Requirement: To conduct a useful hydraulic audit the skills of a trained hydraulic system engineer are required. There are many technologies and potential rebate opportunities available and it takes both skill and experience to strike the right balance between cost and system features.  In an actual case in point, THG was presented the opportunity to quote a new project requiring substantial flow and pressure requirements.  The overall system operating parameters were as follows:
  • Average horse power requirement for the
    system was 500 horse power
  • Peak horse power required for short
    durations was 1,000 horse power
Engineering analysis revealed several potential design paths.  Excluding the brute force approach of providing five 200 horse power motors and conducting a “root mean squared” calculation to optimize motor size, the following paths, with their associated implementation cost and power consumption, were determined:

Factoring in potential power company rebates resulted in the following:

The final numbers showed that the 100 horse power option with VFD drives resulted in the best combination of lower operation cost and return on investment.  This is especially significant given the fact that the power company rebate for the 100 horse power VFD option nearly matched the differential of providing a 200 horse power system with soft starters.  Finally, it is also important to note that although the accumulator option clearly resulted in a lower yearly cost savings, the peculiarities of the rebate program resulted in this option qualifying for no rebate. This emphasizes that, not only is a solid background in hydraulic design a perquisite for success in this market approach, an in depth understanding of power rebate program(s) is also required.

THG Offering:  At THG we have the trained personnel, the right equipment and appropriate industry experience to conduct a thorough design analysis or an on-site audit of your system. We will examine supply, demand, distribution and control and provide the roadmap from which you can plot your best course of action.

THG Corporation is the parent company of The Hope Group, Sorensen Systems, and Hope Air Systems. Read more about us at www.THGCorporation.com.