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Nord Develops Intelligent Heat Recovery from Machine Tools

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Jun 16,2023


Nord Drivesystems continuously looks for opportunities to gain manufacturing efficiencies and implement practices that have less impact on the environment. In 2012, Fertigungstechnik Nord, a member of the Nord Drivesystems Group located in Gadebusch, Germany, developed a concept for heat recovery from machine tools in their production areas. To this day, the recovered energy has been used to heat the over 20,000 sq. ft. of the location’s production, assembly, and office spaces. The recovered heat is also used to produce hot water within the facility, rather than using traditional water heating methods that are less environmentally friendly. Nord is constantly improving and expanding the system to become less dependent on fossil fuels.

Nord’s Gadebusch facility has been utilizing their heat recovery system since its initial installation in 2012. Many components for Nord drive solutions are produced in the Gadebusch facility, including housings, shafts, and gearing. Prior to 2012, the heat generated by the facility’s production machines had been dissipated directly into the surrounding environment via electrically powered cooling systems. In the summer months, this heat dissipation resulted in the five production halls becoming very hot, which lead to the development of the heat recovery concept, which has since operated year-round.

More than 80 machines connected

The Gadebusch heat recovery concept was implemented using plate-type heat exchangers coupled to the machines’ various cooling systems with matching consumption capacities. The internal machine circuits are connected to an external circuit, which – being a cooling water circuit – dissipates excess heat and feeds it into a central heat recovery system. Since implementing the system, Fertigungstechnik Nord has connected more than 80 machines, which are networked with the production department and the production hall ventilation. Within the recovery system, two heat pumps generate hot water for heating the facility and the heat is dissipated from the production areas via three cooling devices.

Continuous refinement

Fertigungstechnik Nord has been continually investing in heat recovery initiatives since the system was first put into place. Currently, the production halls’ temperatures are held at approximately 82 °F, even at the height of summer. The system operates without additional heating when outdoor temperatures are above of 32 °F. If temperatures drop below 32 degrees, the system can utilize natural gas for heating to ensure a baseline temperature of 66 °F in the production halls and offices. Currently, Fertigungstechnik Nord saves approximately one third of its former consumption of 583,000 kWh of fossil fuel-based energy. This corresponds to a reduced CO2 emission of approximately 117 metric tons. In 2023, the shower water in the facility will be converted over to the heat recovery system, which will further reduce excess heat dissipating to the environment during the summer.

The development, implementation, and further improvements to the Gadebusch heat recovery system is just one of many examples of the Nord Group taking responsibility for their impact on the environment. Resource conservation, cost reduction, and environmental performance are firmly established within the Nord Group and will continue to be expanded upon in the future.

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