The health of our planet has never been more threatened. Floods, cyclones, intense heat; such extreme weather conditions are becoming the new normal. The efforts to reduce emissions, cap power requirements and utilise sustainable energy is no longer a nice to do – it’s become mandatory.
The perceived nirvana of smart cities isn’t yet a reality, but the possibility is inching ever closer.
One crucial aspect that will help achieve this goal is reducing power consumption. This, in combination with smart technology that ensures that all aspects of a functioning city are adequate for energy use and needs, will play a key role in making smart cities a reality.
Three steps to reducing power consumption
To truly reach smart city status, there needs to be massive infrastructural change. This requires a long-term and staged plan that considers the following:
- Taking stock of the city’s natural strengths and assets
- Defining the goals and areas of development
- Combining both public and private sector involvement
- Prioritise the opportunities
- Plan, sequence and validate all available initiatives
While the reduction of power needs will be an element of this stepwise process, it’s also something that companies can proactively address right now. This can be done utilising innovative sealing solutions for rotary equipment within a range of assets and equipment. The following discusses three effective ways in which this can be achieved:
- Controlling leakage
- Reduce premature bearing failure
- Ensure the correct lubrication program
This combination will reduce power consumption within rotary equipment. Still, it also lowers the chance of unexpected breakdown, allows for an accurate planned maintenance program, improves output, and improves the use of people-hours.
While the above three steps sound relatively small, paying attention to such baseline operating necessities can have dramatic effects.
Step 1: Controlling leakage
Leakage, either liquids or gases, is a major cause of unnecessary power consumption and emissions. Leaking methane – a potent greenhouse gas – is a challenge because the methane molecule is small.
Seals, valves and pump packing that uses innovative solutions are vital to controlling all leaks. Taking advantage of the latest expertise in pump packing solutions for rotating equipment is a wholly effective way of dramatically improving unnecessary power needs.
Step 2: Reducing premature bearing failure
While bearings are designed to have longevity, it’s estimated that less than nine per cent ever achieve their potential, with the majority (64 per cent) of failure being directly impacted by lubrication issues.
There are four main threats to the health of bearings within rotary equipment:
- Excessive temperature
- High load
- Human error
Both over and under-lubrication reduce bearing lifespan, something that is historically under-investigated in rotary equipment within every industry.
One proactive method of preventing this is to take advantage of an expert service that reviews specific company challenges and advises the best combination of lubrication products. The Bearing Reliability Programme offered by sealing and lubrication experts, Chesterton, is wholly dedicated to this complex task.
Step 3: Ensuring the correct lubrication program
Lubrication accuracy isn’t only complicated to analyse; it’s also difficult to achieve. However, failing to get it right is detrimental to bearings – as mentioned above – and also a key driver of premature engine failure. Together, they both account for a high level of unnecessary power consumption, which makes finding an effective lubrication solution key to bringing those energy needs down.
A highly valuable method of doing so is through an automated application system. The Lubri-Cup Automatic Grease Dispenser from Chesterton is easily fitted and monitors the bearing, applying the correct amount of grease when necessary. This removes the danger of over-or under-lubrication – something especially important in wet, hot and dusty operating conditions. It also frees up maintenance operatives to concentrate on other asset and equipment care areas.
Combining this with a grease designed for the correct lubrication of either primary or secondary equipment bearings has multiple advantages, including:
- Improved operational reliability
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Increased asset lifespan
- Reduced friction and therefore reduced power consumption
While smart cities are still some years or decades away, taking effective steps to reduce the power consumption of rotary equipment can be done right now. The advantages, both monetary and environmental, are instant. From remaining competitive to ensuring their green responsibilities, paying attention to this is something companies can’t afford to ignore.
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