Canadian Manufacturing

Auto parts maker drives energy savings from compressed air systems

by IESO   

Canadian Manufacturing
Manufacturing Automotive Cleantech Transportation Compressed Air energy efficiency IESO incentives

Savings allowed project to pay for itself within a year

—Sponsored article by the Independent Electricity System Operator

Windsor based Kautex Textron is a supplier of blow moulded auto parts to the vehicle makers of Ontario. If you own a Canadian-made vehicle, chances are it has a few components, such as plastic multi-layer fuel tanks and clear vision systems that were made by the 200 dedicated workers at Kautex.

Complex compressed air systems are essential to making these products. They require a lot of electricity, and in a factory with three shifts operating up to 24 hours a day, they are a big driver of electricity costs. Even a small tweak can save thousands of dollars over a year.

The good news is that energy saving technology and equipment upgrades are available to reduce the amount of energy required to operate compressed air systems. With the help of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) saveONenergy incentives available to businesses, Kautex was able to make several improvements, allowing it to save money and reinvest in other operations.


Energy Savings: 1,677,300 kWh
Annual electricity cost savings: $168,000
Payback within a year with incentive: $71,637

The local electricity utility, EnWin Utilities, partnered with Trident Compressed Air to plot out an array of solutions for Kautex that would allow it to take advantage of these incentives and upgrade all aspects of the compressed air system to improve energy efficiency. The main objective was to save money in a competitive sector where energy is
a major portion of operating costs.

“The bottom line is that we are in a competitive industry and we need to be as efficient as possible with our manufacturing inputs,” said Kautex’s Technology Manager Andrew Carroll. “The saveONenergy program allowed us to upgrade our equipment and save enough money on electricity for this project to pay for itself within a year.”

Compressed air solutions

A key improvement to the operating efficiency of the compressed air system at Kautex was with the installation of a variable speed drive rotary screw air compressor, according to Lawrence Musyj, Director of Conservation & Energy Management, at EnWin Utilities.

Kautex’s old compressor system essentially operated at full capacity all the time, and did not have adequate “turndown” capabilities when the full compressed air flow rate was not required by the blow moulding process. This resulted in energy being needlessly wasted.

“Variable speed drives have been around for some time, but the technology has been slowly adapted by the compressor manufacturers,” said Jeff Scott, Industrial Key Account Manager, Conservation & Energy Management, at EnWin.

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