DS Smith Plastics in the UK Explores Feasibility of Recovering Lost Heat from Foam Moulding Process
To improve the efficiency of production and reduce the environmental impacts, DS Smith Plastics devised a way to reduce the energy consumed in the moulding process of expanded foam.
Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges of this century and one of the main sources of emissions comes from energy use. This presents businesses of all sizes and in all industries with a unique range of challenges and opportunities to use different energy sources and optimise, reduce or recover wasted energy. DS Smith Plastics is committed to reducing their emissions by targeting 30% reduction in emissions per tonne of production by 2030 via fuel switching and energy efficiency measures. In an effort to improve energy efficiency, DS Smith Plastics, Foam Products initiated a project at the Livingston manufacturing site to explore the feasibility to recover lost heat from the foam moulding process.
In both business and domestic settings, the cost of generating heat is very high. For the foam moulding process, it is essential that water is pre-heated to a certain temperature before being transferred to the boiler for the moulding process. A lot of energy is used when cold mains water is brought in and heated; like seeing a smart meter showing a surge in energy consumption when boiling a kettle in domestic settings. This process can cause a lot of wasted heat and energy.
Waste heat created through the expanded foam moulding process was very high and costly; thus capturing and reusing this heat in other parts of the process could create cost savings in energy and boost efficiencies throughout the moulding process.
Our heat-recovery solution
To take advantage of wasted heat, a copper heat exchanger was designed and installed to allow the cold mains water to flow through a pipe and absorb the residual heat from the sump, where the water is collected. The water will then travel to the hot well for superheating, which recycles the energy for the next stage of process, pre-heating.
The pre-heat process used to account for 15% of the entire steam production. However, by recycling the heat from the sump the annual cost of pre-heating energy demand has reduced by 8% at the DS Smith Plastics site in Livingston.
The boost in efficiency has been a huge help to DS Smith Plastics, Foam Products and shows their commitment to continuous improvement, quality and sustainability.