How a Plant Manager Used Spindle to Identify Significant Gas Savings

Nick Dobrez

Nick Dobrez | November 20th, 2019

Gas Spike Identified

On June 18th, a Plant Manager in Australia received an alert that gas usage had crossed his target of 5.2 mJ/kg (In Spindle, users can specify which metrics they see). At first, he assumed it was a short spike and not a trend, but realized there was a problem on July 9th when he discovered that gas usage rose to almost 7 mJ/kg. The 40% increase from his year to date average got his attention and prompted him to dig into this alarming trend.

The Spindle alert helped the Plant Manager pinpoint and correct issues before the next gas bill. By identifying the spike in real-time, the Plant Manager helped avoid over $19,221 in gas costs for the month of July (the plant pays ~$10 per GJ). Spindle alerts are customizable to your plant and help you focus on where real costs saving opportunities are. Had the Plant Manager acted on the June 18th alert, he could have avoided an additional $4,264 in costs that occurred from June 10th through July 9th. 

Read on to see how the Plant Manager used Spindle's real-time data to avoid these costs and how he identified a few other cost saving opportunities.

Spindle Gas Dashboard

Time to Tune the Boilers

Since boilers are the biggest use of gas in a plant, the PM dove right into an analysis of his two boilers. He decided to check the efficiency of his boilers by looking at megajoules per hour for the past 13 weeks. Using Spindle's Water and Energy plug-in, the PM discovered an uptick in the overall consumption of gas per hour -- meaning his boilers aren't working as efficiently as they were in recent months and he'll need to tune them to achieve peak performance.

We often hear plants won't tune their boilers because the gas savings wouldn't cover the cost of the tuning. In reality, we've found the most efficient laundries are tuning their boilers 3-4 times per year and in this particular scenario, the plant achieved an ROI in under 2 weeks.

Utilizing Spindle, the Plant Manager now has the data to accurately know when to tune his boiler -- without waiting till the end of the month to see the bill.

Boiler Gas Usage

Idling a Boiler is Expensive

The plant manager has over 10 years of experience and he’s done a great job ensuring his team and equipment are prepared for any challenge thrown their way. Until now, he didn't realize the hidden costs of keeping his backup boiler ready for action. When he was analyzing the efficiencies of his boilers, he also discovered that Boiler #2 was using an average of 27,500 mJ of gas each week just to be in the idle position. 

Cost of idling a boiler

With the plant paying ~$10 per GJ of gas ($0.01 per mJ), it was costing them $275 per week, or $14,300 per year to have the boiler ready to fire up quickly. Since he couldn’t remember the last time a boiler broke down, he decided there were big savings by shutting the boiler down instead of idling.

 

Dryer #2 is Using 20% More Gas than All Other Dryers

After finding savings with the boilers, the PM decided to look at his second largest gas expense - dryers. Using Spindle’s Water and Energy dashboard, he noticed that Dryer #2 must need some maintenance because it's using more energy than all the other dryers. Since the plant hasn’t been using dryer #5, he decided to start using that dryer while his team does some maintenance on dryer #2.

Dryer Gas Usage

 

Learn more about how Spindle can help you better understand your utility usage.