Organizations & Institutions

Cost reduction with a state-of-the-art central vacuum system

Central vacuum system with seven highly efficient Mink MV claw vacuum pumps from Busch
( | Press Release | 2017-03-15 18:52:42 )
British American Tobacco (BAT) produces cigarettes and other tobacco products at its plant in Bayreuth, Germany. Two central vacuum systems provide vacuum used for retaining, handling and packaging at different machines throughout the entire production process. In the course of energy conservation measures, both vacuum systems have now been inspected to check their energy efficiency and one of them was equipped with new Mink claw vacuum pumps from Busch. This resulted in considerable energy savings and significantly reduced maintenance.

During three-shift operation with 1,400 employees in a highly automated production process, BAT manufactures 200 million cigarettes each day in Bayreuth for over 30 different brands. 36 percent of cigarette production is for the German market. The rest is exported to other, mostly European, countries.
The most state-of-the art cigarette machines achieve a capacity of 20,000 cigarettes per minute, which in turn corresponds to 1,000 packages. All processes within this high-performance unit are computer-controlled and networked with each other. The high degree of automation and high production speed require reliable vacuum supply wherever a part has to be held or moved during the production process. This starts when an individual cigarette is held during its production, and continues through to external packaging in boxes for delivery.

Due to the size of the production facility with a length of over 600 meters, two central vacuum systems were installed. One of the systems is operated with liquid ring vacuum pumps, the other was equipped with oil-lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps. Both systems were checked for energy consumption and efficiency. Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems recommended the new Mink MV claw vacuum pump as a replacement for the previous central system with oil-lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps. The claw vacuum pumps achieve a pumping speed of up to 1200 cubic meters per hour.

The first tests with this kind of vacuum pump were extremely successful for BAT.

Since mid-2015, the new central vacuum system is in operation with a total of seven Mink MV claw vacuum pumps. The pumping speed of the vacuum system is controlled as required. That means that individual vacuum pumps shut off automatically when their output is not required. Two of the Mink MV claw vacuum pumps are driven by a variable speed drive. The actual pumping speed demanded is finely adjusted with both of these vacuum pumps, which ensure that the required vacuum of 370 millibar is permanently and constantly applied at all connected machines.

A Mink MV with a 50-Hz standard motor with 18.5 kilowatts generally achieves a 1000 cubic meter per hour pumping speed. A rotary vane vacuum pump with comparable output is driven by a 30 kilowatt motor. The current consumption of the Mink claw vacuum pumps is smaller by 11.5 kilowatts and translates to cost savings of over EUR 9,000 per year and per pump under BAT operating conditions. For the entire central system, this translates to yearly electricity cost savings of approximately EUR 63,500. This calculation assumes that the central vacuum system is running 100 percent at full load. This is not usually the case, which means that electricity costs can actually be estimated even lower.

In practice, the new Mink MV central vacuum system at BAT has an additional advantage that is decisive: Mink claw vacuum pumps are virtually maintenance free. With the oil-lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps, oil had to be changed twice each year because dust sucked into the vacuum pumps mixed with the oil and was deposited on the oil separators. Each time the oil was changed, it was also necessary to change all filter elements in the vacuum pumps. In addition, once a year a large inspection had to be performed during which all seals and wearing parts were replaced. The service life of the vanes was limited to two years due to abrasive dust.

Now the incidental dust is sucked up by the Mink claw vacuum pumps and discharged again. This does not damage the vacuum pumps. Maintenance is limited to a yearly inspection performed by Busch service technicians. In the process, the oil in the gearbox is changed as a preventative measure. This minimum maintenance effort is possible because of the operating principle of Mink vacuum pumps. Due to the complete elimination of oil in the compression chamber, there is no contact between the intake air and the operating fluid. All oil-related maintenance is thus eliminated, such as oil checks, oil changes, topping up the oil and exchange of oil filters and other filter elements. The costs for this work and procurement of oil and filter elements and their disposal are completely eliminated. This made it possible to reduce maintenance costs by approximately EUR 9,600 per year for all seven vacuum pumps.

BAT in Bayreuth is certified according to ISO 50001 and was able to reduce energy consumption by 34 percent from 2005 to 2014 and CO2 emissions by 38 percent. Due to the new central vacuum system, these values will continue to develop positively, particularly in the next step when the existing old vacuum system with liquid ring vacuum pumps is also to be replaced with Mink MV claw vacuum technology.

Uli Merkle
Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems
Maulburg, 19/10/2016

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