A total of 64 machines are used in plastic production injection moulding, and together with peripheral equipment, they consume an enormous amount of energy. This is why machinery is also the focus of heightened efforts to achieve higher energy efficiency. One example is the use of new drive concepts. "We have been gradually converting to energy-efficient machines over the course of several years," reports Andreas Höller, Head of Technical Plastic Production Facilities.
The conventional machines are fully hydraulic models. Although these are cheaper to buy, they consume a particularly high amount of energy. Fully electrical machines are a much more economical, but also more expensive option. Hybrid machines, a combination of both systems, combine the advantages of both models. Compared to fully hydraulic machines, for instance, a hybrid machine uses up to 60% less energy.
For this reason, Gira has also opted for the economical hybrid versions and gradually began purchasing them ten years ago. Now, they make up around two thirds of the company's machinery – and rising. Two fully electric machines are also in use. However, given that they only achieve five percent more energy efficiency despite their higher purchase costs, the hybrid systems have the edge overall. "From a financial perspective, it makes more sense to continue to concentrate on hybrid machines in the future. The newer models also offer the advantage that the braking energy produced can be fed back into the grid – another plus in terms of their energy efficiency," explains Höller.