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Live Chat: Rodon talks energy efficient injection molding

How many changes to light bulbs does it take to save $5000/month? Just one for injection molding and moldmaking company, The Rodon Group (Hatfield, PA).

(Hatfield, PA). Rodon, which has examined the power-usage footprint of its entire 125,000-sq-ft facility, will share its energy-saving insights with attendees to the upcoming Continuous Improvement in Injection Molding virtual event during a live chat session.

Rodon's operations run 24/7, creating billions of parts annually, including its work for the K'NEX brand of building toys. With 106 injection molding machines in its stable plus all their assorted auxiliary equipment, it might seem difficult to know where to start on the quest to energy efficiency, but the answer is pretty straightforward, according to Lowell Allen, Rodon's senior VP of manufacturing.

"In order to identify where money can be saved in your molding operation from an energy standpoint, one must first identify what processes are continuously running," Allen explains. "If you are a 24/7 molder, it's best to prioritize each continuously running process. Of course, none of us has an unlimited budget, so it's important to investigate those areas that can be addressed that cost the least first, with the shortest payback time."

Allen, who will take part in a live chat session during the virtual event, has been with Rodon for nearly 40 years and brings a shop-floor perspective to the energy efficiency discussion. One of the areas Allen and Rodon immediately addressed at their plant was lighting.

"The simplest thing all molders can do, and do quickly, is to upgrade plant-wide lighting," Allen said. Rodon converted its metal-halide lighting to high-efficiency T-5 fluorescent lighting that features reflective hoods to provide better light. Each fixture has an occupancy sensor or motion detector that allows the lights to "blink off" when no one has been in the area for more than 10 minutes. They come on instantaneously when motion is detected.

"This is especially useful and cost-effective when we run a limited number of machines on weekends," Allen said. This upgrade has allowed Rodon to save about $5000 per month on its energy bills, with a system payback in about 16 months. As an added benefit, Allen says the company also noticed that the plant has been cooler this summer now that the hot-running metal-halide lights are gone.

What else runs continuously at Rodon?
·       Molding machines
·       Cooling tower and pumps  
·       Air compressors
·       Granulators

Register for Saving Energy in Your Molding Facility (September 8; 12:30-1:00 P.M. EST) and find out how the company addressed energy efficiency in all those facets of its shop.

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