July 20, 2018 – Across ITW, our businesses work with their customers to provide innovative and reliable solutions while minimizing harmful impacts on the environment. For Miller Electric, an arc welding and cutting equipment manufacturer, this means extensive reliability testing to ensure quality.
Using a resistive load is a practical way to emulate a welding arc when testing a power source for reliability; however, the electrical output energy is converted to waste heat, which can contribute to climate change. Over the past several years, Miller Electric has worked proactively to reduce the energy it consumes in reliability testing, thus reducing its harmful impact on the environment.
After exploring many possible solutions, including using renewable energies such as wind and solar, the business determined that simply recycling the electrical energy would be the most impactful method. A regenerative load converts, isolates and synchronizes the direct current output of the welding power source into an alternating current that can be transferred back to the grid, similar to a solar converter.
The first regenerative loads were installed and fully functional in late 2015. Since then, Miller Electric has reduced electrical energy usage by approximately 1,700 megawatt hours per year and CO2 emissions by over 2.3 million pounds per year.
Miller Electric continues to add regenerative loads in the reliability test area and is considering expanding electrical power recycling to other test areas throughout the company.