We are all familiar with energy efficiency labels indicating how economical a product is in terms of energy consumption ranging from fridges to buildings. Continental is the first conveyor belt manufacturer worldwide to identify its products with an energy efficiency label which the company has developed jointly with the US Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM).
The North American conveyor belt industry worked closely together to create the recently-released scale. “The energy efficiency label is an important and targeted communication tool. We all know how important it is to conserve our resources and the environment, and to develop efficient and sustainable solutions,” explains Michael Hofmann, responsible for Marketing Management at Continental Conveying Solutions.
“We are excited to be able to provide this added value to our customers and help them make better decisions and be transparent.” Continental is also currently working with other associations around the world on this issue.
The label helps conveyor belt systems operators make informed decisions in order to lower their energy consumption when selecting conveyor belts. Depending on the rolling resistance of the compound used in the conveyor belt, the energy efficiency ranges from class A (best energy saving) down to class G.
Sebastian Seibold, responsible for R&D at Continental’s Business Area Conveying Solutions says, “Low energy consumption not only reduces operating costs, but also has a positive effect on the conveyor system’s CO2 footprint. In fact, the belt accounts for up to 60 percent of the energy consumption of the entire system.”
The decisive factor for the energy efficiency of conveyor belts is their rolling resistance. Conveyor belts with the lowest rolling resistance are also the most energy efficient. This is because they require less power – and therefore less energy – to move the belt.
Energy optimisation pays off
We have developed sustainable solutions that are worthy of the name. Our experts have optimised a number of material design features in this regard,” explains Sebastian. For this purpose, Continental has developed energy-optimized rubber compounds for the lower covers of its Conti Eco series that minimise rolling resistance on the conveyor belt system. This enables significant energy consumption reductions during operation and, accordingly, a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.
Depending on the final system design, the Eco Plus conveyor belt can achieve energy savings of 15 percent and the Eco Extreme up to 30 percent compared with a standard conveyor belt – a huge savings potential in the long term, especially when the many years of service life typical for conveyor belts is taken into account.
“And, last but not least, this top performance in terms of sustainability pays off in hard cash. On a conveyor system with a length of five kilometres, our Eco Extreme solution can provide more than 1,500,000kWh of savings per year, enough power to support more than 450 average households for a year! Furthermore, the belts enable an optimised conveyor system design, which can additionally reduce investment costs by up to 40 percent,” Sebastian concludes.