I'm writing a discussion paper on the potential energy efficiency benefits of integrating different manufacturing processes by co-location on the same site. One possible field for integration is in the coupling of motors to loads. Motors are not my field, but I know that motor efficiency (within a range of speeds) increases up to about 150 kW. Would it be more efficient for some processes (loads) to be driven by one powerful motor, operating at low torque but differentially connected to loads via efficient transmissions, than using multiple lower rated (and therefore less efficient) motors? Obviously the efficiency gains would need to be greater than total transmission losses!

  • $\begingroup$ How many transmission joints, how far apart etc What losses due to running one big motor when only one part of the driven equipment is required? What about if one part needs to change speed while the other does not? What would be the cost of extra variable gearing? $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Mar 19 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Mike. Of course, all these are relevant questions for any design of an integrated system, but I was really asking for an 'in principle' view. Your point about variations in process are good, but I suppose I am assuming that the processes would be continuous and unchanging. $\endgroup$ – PhilSheppard Mar 20 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ It is difficult to know what you have assumed if you don't make it clear.... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Mar 20 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ It's a non-issue. Other factors always determine the eventual choice. $\endgroup$ – Phil Sweet Mar 20 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ With all those assumptions (more powerful motor is more efficient, transmission losses don't matter, all processes are continuous (constant load?) ), isn't the answer automatically yes without needing any extra knowledge? How could it be no? $\endgroup$ – user1318499 Mar 21 at 3:06

Some pros and cons of distributing power mechanically:

"Firms switching to electric power showed significantly less employee sick time, and, using the same equipment, showed significant increases in production."


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    $\begingroup$ This looks like a link-only answer. Please put the information that you think answers the question in your actual answer. $\endgroup$ – hazzey Mar 19 at 20:37

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