Fire provides catalyst for super energy efficient factory

Innovative use of compressed air system provides heat for the factory.

Serving the retail, food, industrial and hygiene sectors

Grantham Manufacturing has been providing diecut shapes of release papers for food and self adhesive tape interleaving since 1967. Constantly innovating it now supplies packaging products for the retail, food, industrial and hygiene sectors. May 2015 a fire destroyed Grantham Manufacturings’ main production unit and most of its converting machinery. Quickly re-establishing production in a rented premises, the third generation family business focused on their future and how they could turn this disaster into a positive. All their energy was put into designing an new purpose built factory. With a focus on making their new facility as efficient as possible, ground source heating, an array of solar pv panels and rain water harvesting were all factored into the new build.

Innovative use of compressed air system maximises energy efficiency

A British manufactured water-cooled, variable speed drive compressor was specified - a machine designed for maximum energy efficiency - Cambs Compressors were pushed to make the new compressed air system even more efficient. This is because Managing Director of Grantham Manufacturing, Martin Howitt and his sons Jonathan and Matt wanted to make full use of a purpose built facility to keep energy usage to a minimum.


How could the heat generated by the compression process be used?

Heat is generated by the compression process of compressing air (just like as the heat that is generated when pumping up a bike tyre with a hand pump). Typically this requires extraction to cool the compressor and enable it to run effectively. The Grantham Manufacturing installation was able to have a water cooling system designed to take the heat away from the compressor. This ‘warmed’ cooling water is then piped through a heat exchanger and pushed around the factories underfloor water heating system to maintain a specified temperature within the factory. During the summer, when underfloor heating is not needed, the warm water is piped to a sealed underground pipework system via a series of deep boreholes outside. This acts as a heat exchanger to cool the returning water for recirculation back to the compressor.


Reducing the companies carbon footprint

Having thought out how to extract the heat, and either recycle in the winter or cool efficiently in the summer was only possible because of the effort and thinking which went into the design of the new factory. The upfront investment maximises the energy efficiency to cut energy consumption in both the summer and winter months, saving cost and reducing the companies carbon footprint.


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