Retread tyre manufacturer Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres has recently completed a major environmental upgrade at its Grantham, Lincolnshire production facility. The project has involved the design, creation and fitment of modularised thermal insulation jackets to each of the 67 curing moulds used by the company in the production of the 140,000 Duramold retread tyres it manufactures annually.
The resulting energy saving amounts to 8.3kW/h per tyre manufactured, equating to 996,000kW per annum, a figure verified by the Carbon Trust, which has provided support and assistance for the project. According to the Trust, the resulting carbon-change represents an annual carbon reduction of 47.92-tonnes.
“As an organisation committed to a policy of continuous improvement, this project was initiated following a review of energy wastage within our production plant, which identified our curing moulds as a potential source of heat loss,” explains Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres’ Environmental Engineer, Peter Connolly. “A more in-depth study and monitoring trials were subsequently undertaken, which confirmed energy was being unnecessarily wasted.
“To resolve the issue, a local insulation specialist was commissioned to work with us on the design of thermal insulating jackets for the moulds. Vacu-Lug has a variety of mould types in use today and we therefore decided the jackets should be of a modular construction, partly to ensure all mould types could be accommodated and partly to allow easy replacement in instances of damage.
“The result is a bespoke, flexible and highly energy-efficient solution. Our curing moulds are heated by steam produced by gas generators and whereas previously we relied on up to three generators, we are now finding one is sufficient most of the time. This represents a major fuel saving and our calculations show the payback period for the entire investment to be just three years.”
An additional benefit is that as the moulds are no longer radiating heat to the surrounding area, Vacu-Lug team members now find the working environment in this part of the production plant cooler and more comfortable.