Ways to help you save
That's just how it is: you acquire a complex product, perhaps a car, and as a result will be familiar with the brand name or manufacturer, but probably won't have any idea of the names of the professional and essential suppliers that were involved in its production. One such supplier is Miba, which has its head office in the Upper Austrian town of Laakirchen. The company considers itself to be one of the leading strategic service partners to the international automotive industry. The products – sintered mouldings, friction bearings, friction linings, power electronics components and surface coatings – are installed in vehicles, trains, ships, aircraft and power stations all over the world. The company comprises four groups: the Miba Sinter Group, the Miba Bearing Group, the Miba Friction Group and the New Technologies Group.
In Vorchdorf, not far from Wels, Miba Sinter Austria - a subsidiary of the Miba Sinter Group - manufactures sintered mouldings. These are very precise, high-strength components that are produced using special process technology and are found in car engines, gearboxes, steering mechanisms, brakes, exhaust pipes and shock absorbers. At the start of the sintering process, mixes of powdered metal are stamped using a complex tool. The resulting metal stamping is sintered at a temperature of up to 1350°C, i.e. it is heated to below melting point so that it forms a solid mass. For maximum precision, the finished part is calibrated and, if necessary, heat treated, surface coated, mechanically reworked and then joined or fitted. Unlike other production processes, sintering ensures maximum utilization of base materials, yet only requires a small amount of energy. Continuing technological progress enables Miba to produce the complex and highly sophisticated vehicle components of tomorrow.
The environment in focus
Environmental protection is a high priority for Miba and is a vital aspect of its approach towards corporate responsibility. The company sees environmental management as an innovative way of increasing ecological and economic efficiency. It is committed to reducing the consumption of natural resources and emissions and to the use of environmentally-friendly materials. To demonstrate that economic and environmental interests can go hand in hand, the technology leader has undertaken numerous projects that have won countless awards.
Miba is committed to continually reducing its energy consumption through improved production processes and the use of the most modern technological processes. Electricity constitutes the largest energy requirement (75%) at Miba and large quantities are required, for example, by the sintering furnaces, the hydraulic presses, to produce cooling water, not to mention for electroplating and in the foundries. In 2010/2011, Miba for the first time used energy generated from renewable sources (biomass) for 0.2% of the energy it consumed at its sites in Vorchdorf.
Up to 30% less power consumption
Anyone who wants to save energy not unreasonably attempts to do so on all its power consumers, including the battery chargers used by industrial trucks. Miba is no stranger to these, as it has 18 front loaders with load capacities of up to 2.5 tons and more than 20 electrically-powered pedestrian pallet trucks. In addition, the Vorchdorf site employs 158 electrically-powered scissor-lifts for ergonomic working. Alongside the on-board battery chargers, Acctiva 12-10 Fronius battery charging systems are also used for these lifting devices. The industrial trucks are mainly from Jungheinrich. Elbak gel batteries from Exide are used as traction batteries for the industrial trucks. The battery charging systems are from Austrian supplier Fronius and utilize 'Active Inverter Technology', which boasts a large number of advantages.
"We prefer Fronius charging systems because unlike the older 50 Hertz transformer technology or conventional inverter (high frequency) technology, these chargers allow us to save up to 30% on electricity costs. This is thanks to their very high degree of efficiency of up to 96%. At the same time, the special charging cycle increases the battery service life", explains maintenance manager Kurt Werl. "Furthermore, the chargers are produced in this area, the service is excellent, and we also use and are very satisfied with the welding equipment from this manufacturer."
Miba has now been using Fronius charging systems for almost 10 years, both new purchases and to replace old chargers. "That's how it has been specified", explains Kurt Werl, "because we want to save energy and also reduce battery costs. The chargers are also up to 70% smaller and much lighter than the 50 Hertz ones with their large, heavy transformers. This will make their handling and positioning a lot simpler.
The Miba site in Vorchdorf has both central and decentralized charging stations. Batteries used for industrial trucks are charged at various locations, for example, at goods-in. On the one hand replacement batteries are used, while on the other vehicles wait in parking bays until the traction batteries have been recharged. The company has also positioned Fronius charging systems for stationary lifting devices in central and decentral locations. Maintenance manager Werl resumes, "Whether purchasing new equipment or replacing the old 50 Hertz chargers, we now use charging systems with Fronius 'Active Inverter Technology'. This is consistent with our company philosophy of protecting the environment and improving ecological and economic efficiency."
Fronius International GmbH
Froniusplatz 1, A-4600 Wels
Tel. +43 / (0)7242 / 241 6436
Fax +43 / (0)7242 / 241 95 2560