Ian’s ‘light bulb mo­ment’ a big money saver

Dubbo Photo News - - Dubbo Works - By JOHN RYAN

WHEN Ian Yeo started his elec­tri­cal ap­pren­tice­ship at Fletcher In­ter­na­tional Ex­ports he had no idea he’d one day wind up as the plant’s elec­tri­cal man­ager, nor did he sus­pect that he’d be able to pay back the com­pany many times over for giv­ing him the skills to carve out a re­ward­ing ca­reer.

He’s just fin­ished a project which has seen about 750 en­ergy-hun­gry 400-watt lights re­placed with far more ef­fi­cient types, and it’s al­ready pay­ing off big time.

“That equated to about 300 kilo­watts of en­ergy just for light­ing, so we dropped all those from 400 watts down to 120 watts each and that re­duced our light­ing load by 201 kilo­watts, and on ball­park fig­ures that’s about $200,000 a year in power we’re sav­ing,” Mr Yeo said.

“The ac­tual cap­i­tal in­vest­ment was around $180,000 and we re­ceived en­ergy cred­its, so the ac­tual job didn’t end up cost­ing too much.”

While the mas­sive re­duc­tion in the plant’s power bill is a great ad­van­tage, there are plenty of co-ben­e­fits which are also now com­ing into play.

“We’ve re­duced the num­ber of lights we’ve got be­cause the new lights are a lot brighter, so it pro­vides a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment es­pe­cially on the floor. They can see what they’re do­ing bet­ter so it’s a safe en­vi­ron­ment.

“We also end up with a bet­ter qual­ity prod­uct be­cause when you’ve got a brighter light you can pick up more de­fects and things like that,” Mr Yeo said.

He ex­plained that the old 400watt lights were a com­bi­na­tion of metal halide, mer­cury vapour and sodium vapour which are the old­style, big glass globes. They’ve all been re­placed by the LEDS which have far greater longevity com­pared to the old lights which start to de­te­ri­o­rate over time.

“Ev­ery two years we were re­plac­ing the bulbs and they were about $50 to $60 a bulb, so with more than 700 lights that was an­other big cost which we don’t have to do any more – th­ese lights should be good to leave on all day ev­ery day for at least 10 years without hav­ing any is­sues with them.

“An­other thing,

if we had a brown-out we’d look at 10 min­utes down­time and, at an av­er­age cost of about $1000 a minute, it cost us about 10 grand just wait­ing for the lights to come back on, so that’s an­other fac­tor taken out of it as well,” Mr Yeo said.

Aus­tralia is a high wage, high over­head na­tion com­pared to many of our com­peti­tors on the global stage, so Ian Yeo is pleased that his de­part­ment has the cul­ture to iden­tify longer term strate­gies to keep the plant as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble – he said every­one’s jobs are at stake.

“Roger (Fletcher) doesn’t pay us just to turn up ev­ery day, he pays us to pro­vide a ser­vice and so it’s good that we can ac­tu­ally do a project that can knock 200 grand a year off his power bill – which is only grow­ing ev­ery year – so he can see he’s get­ting value for money out of his work­ers,” Mr Yeo said, point­ing out that the plant’s cul­ture is for every­one to take ideas to im­prove things right to the top.

“Every­one here sort of looks out for the com­pany, you don’t just turn up ev­ery day to get a pay. You’re al­ways do­ing what you can to im­prove things.

“Every­one knows that the meat in­dus­try’s a bit of a cut­throat mar­ket and there’s places clos­ing down all the time so what­ever we can do to make the place bet­ter and more ef­fi­cient is go­ing to make things bet­ter for the long term, for sure,” he said.

Elec­tri­cal Man­ager Ian Yeo helped in­sti­gate and im­ple­ment a light re­place­ment pro­gram that is es­ti­mated will save over $200,000 a year. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS.

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