The simple thermostat is one of the overlooked mechanisms within the plant that actually affect several areas of production. The temperature in the plant regulates not only comfort amongst employees, but also the time it takes to complete a process. The levels of heat and cold also dominate the overhead costs in the form of energy usage. Its importance reaches into preventative maintenance as well, as temperature can greatly affect the lifespan of machine parts. In fact, depending on the type of manufacturing, temperature controls within the plant may be the most important overlapping element in production.
No matter what processes are run within your plant, the temperature of the plant and the controls on the machinery are directly reflected in the energy costs. Consider a faulty thermostat on a machine, or the plant’s ventilation system. If it fails to regulate the temperature, the machine will run too hot or the plant’s heating and cooling system will run non-stop. As continuous operation will overwork the heating and cooling systems and cause exorbitant electric and gas bills, regular equipment diagnostics and regulating the temperature controls can mean significant savings in energy costs.
The overheating machines and overworked heating and air system will certainly wear out much faster than anticipated, causing significant replacement costs long before they are expected. The lost depreciation expenses can also harm the plant’s financial statements. The early wear may only appear in the form of parts that need to be replaced prematurely, instead of the entire system, but these are still unnecessary expenses for the company.
The temperature controls can also change the materials being used to create the product. The coefficient of expansion is a well known phenomenon among metal manufacturers. This measurement is the amount of variation that a metal will have in size per degree of temperature added or subtracted. For example, within a product, steel will expand at least 6.65 parts per million per degree Fahrenheit added to or subtracted from the metal. This means that any metal product will change 6.65 ppm for every degree Fahrenheit that the temperature rises or falls. There is a known coefficient of expansion for other metals as well.
Such a measure allows manufacturers a chance to recalibrate their gauges and process according to the temperature during each process run. In today’s world of high quality craftsmanship and adherence to international measurement standards, a precise measurement is essential. The only way to ensure that the product and gauges are exact is to factor temperature into the production. Temperature also affects the viscosity of fluids used in production, including the lubrication used on the machines along the production line. Particle saturation levels are another factor affected by temperature.
Temperature control is a seemingly mundane part of the production, but an important one. In many ways, the loss of control can lead to unforeseen or premature expenses in addition to increases in overhead and materials costs. These factors make the routine check of the thermostat that much more of an essential task.
Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and installation of factory automation systems worldwide.