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Epson Portland Implements Energy-Saving Initiatives

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Epson Portland Inc. is a manufacturing company responsible for producing ink cartridges and other items for the US domestic market. Over the years, it has gained a reputation for its original solutions to conserving resources and contributing to the environment. This article looks at some of the recent innovative measures that the company has taken to save energy while maintaining plant productivity.

Embarking on its program, Epson Portland made a determined effort to analyze exactly what resources were necessary to operate the plant. These efforts resulted in a number of significant savings.

Manufacturing Epson inkjet printer cartridges requires a clean room environment to ensure the levels of quality demanded by customers. However, instead of the 15 hourly air changes supplied by the existing two supply fans, two return fans and two cooling units, Epson Portland's analysis revealed that it would be sufficient to deliver 7.5 air changes per hour from one unit each of the same equipment. This effort resulted in the saving of 235 tons of Co2 annually.

Roof top HVAC
(heating, ventilation, air conditioning) units
Air supply handler to clean room

Similarly the company halved the number of vacuum pumps and reduced the amount of compressed air used in the plant to save 156 and 66 tons of Co2 per year respectively. Epson Portland also implemented a semi-annual compressed air audit to identify and minimize wasted energy from air leaks. The first audit identified 56 compressed air leaks, which were promptly repaired leading to the saving of nearly 10 tons of Co2 per year.

Vacuum pumps for packaging
Low vacuum pumps for the clean room
Air compressor unit
My Huynh from Epson Portland testing for air leaks

The results of the first years' activities were as follows:

Project name Co2 reduction
Clean wind power 1,658 tons
Reduce cleanroom HVAC 235 tons
Reduced vacuum 156 tons
Reduced compressed air pressure 66 tons
Dual duct controls upgrade 22.7 tons
VFD fan motor retrofit 15.1 tons
Air leaks 9.7 tons
IT computer room air conditioning 100.5 tons
Total C02 tons reduced 2,263 tons

"I am determined to make Epson Portland into a center of manufacturing excellence within the Epson Group," said Dave Graham, president of Epson Portland. "This means using automation and technical skills to maximize the benefit from limited resources and adding unique US values to Epson's long tradition of expertise in monozukuri."

Of course Epson Portland's efforts extend beyond the plant's perimeter and the company is making every effort to be a responsible citizen. As such, it is an enthusiastic participant in the Clean Wind Power program promoted by Portland General Electric and saves 1,658 tons of Co2 per year by only purchasing wind-generated energy. As a pioneer of the program, Epson Portland was given the honor of being the first company to sign a giant 82-meter wind turbine blade brought to a special promotion event.

Kimberley Sackman from Epson Portland signing the giant wind turbine blade