Are Energy Costs Chipping Away at Your Machine Shop’s Profits?

Posted by: 22. April 2016
the dashboard screen of the Eco Suite from Okuma

The Eco Power Monitor’s operation screen, part of Okuma’s Eco Suite.


Okuma has published a white paper titled “Energy-Efficient Machine Tool Technologies, for Any Size Shop,” explaining how energy costs could be chipping away at machine shop profits, and introducing the company’s Eco Suite for improving energy efficiency on its machine tools.

One passage in the paper’s introduction cites a 2015 poll conducted by the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) asking companies with an average of 67 employees about energy. The respondents reported annual energy costs that were projected to rise an average of 11.67 percent to over $200,000 by the end of 2015.

The paper points out some of the causes of rising energy costs that may go unnoticed, including:

  • Machine tool idling

  • Unnecessary pump rotation

  • Continuous running of peripheral equipment

The Eco Suite is designed to reduce power consumption during both machine operation and waiting times. It consists of four applications that run on Okuma’s OSP-P300 machine control.

  • Eco Idling Stop. This application monitors the cooling status of the milling and turning spindles, automatically turning off the peripheral spindle coolers (part of Okuma’s Thermo Friendly concept) when cooling is complete.

  • Eco Power Monitor. This application displays power consumption for spindles, feed axes and peripheral equipment.

  • Eco Hydraulics. This optional feature optimizes rotation by combining the servo control technology on the machine with efficient hydraulic pumps. The application therefore enables accurate machining control at a low rotation speed, minimizing unnecessary pump rotation during dwell pressure applications, the company says.

  • Eco Operation. This application enables operators to set time limits for peripheral equipment so that it automatically stops after cutting is finished.

The white paper itself offers more details about these four features with graphics illustrating the cumulative effects of increasing efficiency and saving energy.

Are you seeing energy cost increases? Share your strategies for dealing with them in the comments or on Twitter. We’re @Techspex

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