Aluminium foundry gets smart with energy use

An aluminium foundry is turning down the heat – fractionally – on its energy use to earn as much as £25,000 a year. Caparo Bridge Aluminium is installing smart software […]

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By Vicky Ellis

An aluminium foundry is turning down the heat – fractionally – on its energy use to earn as much as £25,000 a year.

Caparo Bridge Aluminium is installing smart software to adjust the aluminium holding pots to help balance the National Grid’s supply and demand. It will be paid for reducing energy use for minutes at a time.

It recently signed the 10 year deal with Open Energi for the ‘Dynamic Demand’ system at its manufacturing site.

The Wednesbury-based plant has forty-six holding pots, which store molten aluminium at around 7500C. The material is kept at constant temperatures before it is poured into dies for the manufacture of the casting.

Wayne Priest, Plant Director at Bridge Aluminium said: “We are constantly looking at ways of reducing our overheads and energy is a massive part of that.

“We undertook a blind trial of Dynamic Demand involving just six holding pots earlier this year. This meant that none of our operatives on the plant floor were aware that the pots’ energy consumption was being altered. No one noticed and it had no impact whatsoever on the quality or integrity of the end product”.

Ged Holmes, Commercial Director at Open Energi added: “Foundries such as Caparo Bridge Aluminium are the heart and soul of UK manufacturing but they are under constant pressure to maintain their competiveness in the face of rising costs.”

He said demand side response options can be an extra source of revenue for them.

The system will be in place and fully operational at the foundry in September 2014.