Vestas is committed to energy savings, work efficiency and a healthy workplace environment for its employees. The wind power producer Vesta decided to install air curtains from Frico at its facility to save energy and keep draughts and cold air out.
When moving the 32 tons heavy wind turbine components, the entire floor space is used, right up to the massive doors which have to be opened for the manoeuvres. This used to mean uncomfortable working conditions and high energy costs.
“It wasn't pleasant for our staff to be working there in the cold air and draughts. The temperature quickly dropped and it was incredibly noisy in the whole factory when both ends were open. We hold our production meetings in the middle of the building, but even there the wind would whip the paper off the whiteboards,” says Michael Bjerring Sørensen from Vestas Manufacturing in Ringkøbing.
The installation of Frico air curtains at four of the busiest doors has now solved the problem. When the door is open, a stream of air is blown across the doorway which stops the cold wind from coming in when vehicles are driving in and out.
“We have increased production from 18 to 25 wind turbines per week over the last three years. This means there are more employees and more turbine components in the same area and that some of the workstations have to be located close to the doors, which are also opening and shutting more frequently than before. Efficiency is important to our company, but we also take care of each other and have an ongoing commitment to improve conditions in the workplace. The air curtains have elicited an unexpected positive response from our 500 employees,” says Michael Bjerring Sørensen.
Tangible energy savings
Fourteen AGS5520, AGS5525, AGIH6024, AGIV6024 and AGIV6030 air curtains with water heating and without heating respectively were installed last December to protect the four doorways and have produced real energy savings.
“We are not able to say what the savings are for each door, but obviously we're expecting to spend much less on gas for heating the halls. We will be using a bit more electricity but, looking at the energy bill as a whole, we expect to save 50,000-150,000 kWh per door each year. They are four different doors and the savings depend on their location and how frequently they are opened. In general, they stand open 2.5 to 4 hours a day and the wind is most noticeable at the west-facing doors”, says Hans Ole Hansen, who is responsible for energy optimization of Vestas’ buildings.
The plastic strips that previously hung over the doorways at the wind power group’s facility made it impossible for employees to see what was on the other side as they were entering and exiting. Good visibility is essential when you are working with heavy wind turbine parts.
“We experimented with air curtains at our wind power facility in Lem for a few years but had to take them down because they were not working as they should. Technology has advanced since then and today everyone knows about air curtains at the entrances of supermarkets. They do the job here too and we are now saving money and making conditions more comfortable in the workplace,” says Hans Ole Hansen.
CAPTION: Air curtains at the doors of Vestas’ facility in Ringkøbing stop draughts and keep the premises warm during the winter months. (Photo: Søren Palmelund)