Energy Management Setting the Controls for Plant Performance and Energy Savings

Editor: Dominik Stephan

With an aim to curb energy consumption and enhance overall operational performance at its Tiruvallur site, Caterpillar India sought the services of ABB. The systematic approach of ABB’s ‘Full Service’ contract has delivered significant savings for the company, which is now realizing energy savings worth around $35,000 per year at its new paint plant without any capital investment.

It is necessary to run machines at optimal settings depending on its purpose of use to save energy
It is necessary to run machines at optimal settings depending on its purpose of use to save energy
(Picture/Source: ABB)

The Tiruvallur site of Caterpillar India, located close to Chennai in southern India, houses several production lines, including those for backhoe loaders, wheel loaders, quarry and mining trucks, and off-highway trucks. In order to increase productivity, reduce costs, improve energy efficiency and reliability, besides ensuring effective management of spare parts and improving the plant’s operational performance, the company appointed ABB to deliver a performance-based ‘Full Service’ contract for asset management. Around 1,000 people work at this manufacturing unit.

More than Just Wrench-Turning Services

Caterpillar chose ABB as it was on the look-out for a professional maintenance partner that could bring value to its business rather than merely delivering ‘lubrication’ and ‘wrench-turning’ services. ABB’s ‘Full Service’ contract is a performance-based partnership agreement that is designed to improve overall plant performance while optimizing maintenance costs.


In 2011, ABB’s team took over the responsibility for management and execution of maintenance at the site. The focus was to implement a preventive and proactive strategy aimed at identifying and reducing losses as well as breakdowns.

Identifying the Potential for Energy Savings

The site’s new paint plant was identified by ABB as having strong potential for energy saving. It is equipped with two compressors, the main one being a 250 kilowatt (kW) Atlas Copco unit. This 250 kW compressor was found to be running 23 hours per day, even though its only duty outside the normal eight-hour shift was to operate a paint mixture regulating pump. This extended running time represented a daily electricity consumption of 800 kWh and a significant operational cost to Caterpillar India.