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A Commitment to Continuous Improvement Leads Benton Foundry to Cut Energy Costs and Emissions

Nestled in the Pennsylvania woods between a state park and a fish hatchery, Benton Foundry and its owners has long been committed to reducing its impact on the environment. Recognized as a leader in its industry, its foundry has no steam plume, no smokestack and no discharge of process water. Now, after completing a five-year plan of work, it can also boast about reducing dust emissions while dramatically cutting energy costs.

For nearly 100 years, spanning three generations, the family-owned foundry has produced gray iron and ductile iron parts. Today, with a diversified base, the foundry serves more than 400 customers with 8,000 active part numbers. However, creating these products consumes a great deal of electricity, and with energy costs rising, foundry owners began an aggressive plan to cut usage.

They first targeted the foundry’s four furnaces, the largest consumer of electricity in the facility. However, after implementing an energy management strategy and installing specialized software to help prioritize power demand, their attention turned to motors.

The manufacturing vice president for Benton Foundry, Jeff Hall, says that because electric motors were consuming a sizable portion of electricity, they began a search for the most energy efficient motor they could find. At this same time, they were also starting their five-year program of installing dust collectors and wanted to standardize one motor for their entire facility. The motor they chose to specify: the Baldor-Reliance® Super-E®.

“This motor is not the lowest price product available, but it offers so many additional benefits that make it worth the premium,” says Hall. “The Baldor• Reliance Super-E offers the highest efficiency ratings versus others in the marketplace. So when you take a look at the cents per kilowatt and the hours that these motors run, with the improved efficiencies of the Baldor product, the payback can be in as little as 18 months. When you consider how many years these motors will last, choosing the Baldor• Reliance Super-E makes the most sense.”

The first dust collector was installed in 2007. The system, powered by a 500 HP Baldor• Reliance Super-E, moves air at a rate of 120,000 cfm. The return air moves through HEPA filters and heats the facility in the winter months and directs the warm air outside during the summer. This project has resulted in a six-figure reduction in heating costs, while markedly improving comfort in the foundry.

A second dust collector, powered by a 200 HP Baldor• Reliance Super-E motor, came on-line in 2009. This unit is for furnaces, pre-heaters and sand system. An existing third collector was designated for the grinding and cleaning operations. This unit was retrofitted with a cyclone, powered by a 200 HP Baldor• Reliance Super-E, designed to remove larger particulate and metallic pieces.

The emissions from this collector were reduced by 50%.

Today more than 100 Super-E motors can be found throughout the Benton Foundry. Hall says they plan to add others as older motors fail.

While Benton Foundry looked at a variety of motors from a number of manufacturers, Hall says they chose the Super-E because of the merits of the motor and because Baldor brought more to the table. “We looked beyond the purchase price and focused on the return on our investment,” says Hall. “One has only to look at the total operating lifetime costs of the motor to realize that the cheaper motor can be the more expensive motor. Quality and performance are not a given. This enlightened view led us to the Baldor• Reliance Super-E.”