Monday, October 10, 2011

Neenah Foundry implements innovative energy-efficient technology

Neenah Foundry's energy-efficient technology on its cabinet coolers is saving more than $141,000 annually.

Cabinet coolers keep critical electronic circuitry in challenging industrial environments clean, cool and dry. Traditionally, cabinet coolers use a high volume of compressed air, which means high energy use.

With the help of Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and in partnership with We Energies, Neenah Foundry cut energy costs on its 68 cabinet coolers by more than 50 percent to yield the annual savings.

Studies to reduce energy use showed that retrofitting the company's cabinet coolers with thermostat controls and an integrated purge function would be the most cost-effective energy-saving option.

Neenah Foundry's retrofitted vortex cabinet coolers now use just a small amount of purge air to maintain positive pressure within the cabinets at all times. They only use full air flow when the thermostat calls for cooling. The electronic thermostat operates the same as a standard programmable thermostat, activating only when the temperature inside the cabinet rises to a certain level, preventing the cabinet coolers from needlessly running at full flow.

“Focus [on Energy] found an innovative energy-saving solution,” said Keith Rushford, electrical engineer at Neenah Foundry. “Financial incentives and technical assistance from Focus allowed us to initially move forward with this project, which paid for itself very quickly. During the initial study, we installed and analyzed 38 units. At that point, we realized the high savings potential, and we were able to invest in 30 more cabinet cooler retrofits on our own.”

Ken Williams, Focus on Energy’s business programs director, said, “By implementing this innovative emerging technology into practice, Neenah Foundry met its goal to reduce energy costs without compromising on safety or equipment maintenance practices. The company continues to investigate new technologies and find more ways to save energy — a positive example for other businesses to follow.”

About Neenah Foundry
Neenah Foundry, founded in 1872 and located in Neenah, Wis., produces metal castings such as complex machine parts and municipal castings (e.g., grates, manhole covers and tree grates along city sidewalks). For more information, visit

About Focus on Energy
Since 2001, Focus on Energy has delivered cost-effective energy solutions to Wisconsin residents and businesses. Focus can help businesses identify and evaluate energy saving opportunities, develop energy management plans and arrange technical training opportunities about energy conservation to help improve bottom lines and lower operating costs.

Focus information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect the environment and control the state's electricity and natural gas demand. For more information, call 800-762-7077 or visit

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