Case Ras Al Khaimah: Improving environmental performance

The energy efficiency, environmental performance and safety were taken to the next level at our site in the UAE.

Huhtamaki’s flexible packaging plant situated in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates came into operation in October 2013. Since the very beginning of the green field construction project, all necessary steps were taken to ensure the sustainable operation of the factory.

“When designing the actual buildings and the printing and lamination processes of the production lines, all machines and utilities were chosen according to their energy-efficiency, overall environmental performance and safety,” says Deepak Bist, Senior Manager, Projects.

An important feature of the plant is its air conditioning, designed around an air cooled chiller system, which is much more efficient than conventional DX (Direct Expansion) air conditioning. The main benefit of the new method is that it allows heat recovery, where heat generated in the process can be recycled. On the printing machines, for example, hot solvent air can be recirculated by up to 80%, which helps to save in fuel consumption for thermic fluid operation.

The system is also supplemented with a new type of patented indirect evaporative air conditioning technology called Climate Wizard. The technology works by using the natural cooling power of evaporation to dramatically reduce air temperature, and requires a much lower electricity load to operate than traditional air conditioning.

Savings in power consumption have also been made by installing LED lighting in the whole factory. The lighting system in the offices in the main building is equipped with a motion control system, further helping to save energy. Total savings on electricity add up to approximately 17% in comparison to normal halogen light fittings.

Efficient operation

During the summer months all the air handling units in the Ras Al Khaimah facility produce more than 3,000 liters of condensate water per day, which is collected through a network of piping in an underground tank. This water is primarily utilized for feeding the Climate Wizard system. In addition, the condensate water is used for the toilets in employees’ washrooms, saving overall approximately 90,000 liters per month in municipality water consumption.

Other examples of the efficient and safe operation of the plant are a special static grid system for hazardous areas, a centralized piping system for transferring solvents and major inks, and a high-rise warehouse stacking procedure, or “Double Deep Pallet Racking” system. This is designed to minimize aisle space wastage and to increase the capacity of the warehouse by around 30%. A special articulated forklift equipped with the latest safety technology is used to load and unload materials.

All these forward-looking efforts have been well received, according to Deepak:

“Our customers and machine suppliers are very pleased with Huhtamaki’s emphasis on advanced technology implemented in our machinery, buildings and safety norms. In this regard they consider us to be one of the most advanced suppliers in the flexible packaging industry and are happy to continue cooperation with us,” Deepak concludes.