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Novelis, a leading multinational aluminum manufacturing and recycling company, produces leading-edge rolled-aluminum products (beverage cans, automobiles, architecture, consumer electronics) for customers in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. With 700 employees at plants in Yeongju and Ulsan, Novelis Korea boasts a 75% local market share in aluminum raw materials and annual sales of ₩ 1 trillion (~$940 million, ~€742 million). It puts top priority on production and safety, but investing in energy management has always been an important part of the company’s business strategy.
However, the company's overall energy management effort had been deemed insufficient. Lacking the necessary human resources, Novelis Korea’s efforts to discover potential energy savings were limited.
Exposing potential energy savings
One of the advantages Novelis Korea expected from the Schneider Electric energy management solution was the ability to discover and refine potential energy savings. Sanghyun Bae, an electrical engineer and deputy head of Novelis Korea’s facility engineering team, said, “Introducing Schneider Electric's energy management system provided us with substantive assistance in our discovery of energy saving items, not to mention providing us with its excellent analysis capability for energy saving effect.” For example, by analyzing data through Schneider Electric’s energy management system, Novelis Korea found previously undiscovered “energy saving spots” and visually checked on the saved amount of energy. These led to the annual energy savings of 3%, which translated into cost saving of $1.9 million (€1.5 million).
Easy to configure for Ethernet communication
Novelis Korea deployed Schneider Electric's solution (ION7650 and 6200 power meters, and StruxureWare Power Monitoring software) at its Yeongju plant in December 2011. The company was familiar with Schneider Electric because it had been using ION7650 power meters already. Novelis Korea had always wanted to take advantage of Ethernet communication for its power meters, but meters from other manufacturers were capable only of serial communication, making it hard to configure a competent network. Schneider Electric’s ION7650 power meters were capable of Ethernet communication to begin with.
The Schneider Electric energy management solution provides better Ethernet configuration ability than ones established with other companies’ products. It is easier to add and register extra power meters, too. The solution is also configured to enable easy data analysis, providing convenient inquiry into energy expenditure trends. All these had been critical factors in Novelis Korea’s decision to choose the Schneider Electric solution.
Novelis hits 3% energy savings target with StruxureWare Power Monitoring
Schneider Electric’s solution enabled Novelis Korea to achieve its annual energy saving target of 3% through a more effective organization of its energy management system. Though the company has its own energy management teams for each of its plants, their current responsibility comprises only simple monitoring of current, voltage, power consumption, power factor, etc. In the future, however, Novelis Korea plans to form its own energy management task force, which will continue to maintain annual energy savings of over 3% while implementing more systematic energy-saving efforts by utilizing Schneider Electric’s solution. To this end, “Schneider Electric has proposed convenient data acquisition methods immediately applicable in the field when configuring relevant energy management systems and even composed reports for our convenience,” according to Sanghyun Bae.
Whenever Novelis Korea faced challenges regarding its energy management system, Sanghyun Bae said, “Schneider Electric, through seamless cooperation of its local and overseas technical teams, was able to solve problems quickly and accurately.” Novelis Korea expects Schneider Electric to continue to be a strong enabler for the company as it has been doing for years.