HIX Green Initiatives
HIX Corporation is as concerned about our environment and use of energy as any company. We have taken initiatives within our company to investigate all of our manufactured products and determine were we can reduce, recycle, and replace elements to our products (and our production of these products) that might be considered unnecessary energy consumers.
We recently tested two equal wattage machines – a stock HIX heat transfer machine with no Black PTFE non-stick coating on the heating element, and one with the Black PTFE non-stick coating applied to the heat element. We hooked up a voltage meter to both machines to measure how much electricity it takes to operate each machine, and we discovered that the non-coated heat element on our standard stock heat transfer machines used 43% less electricity to operate than the heat press with the Black PTFE coating! How can this be true? The answer is simple, and it’s called physics!
In physics there is a phenomena called “Black Body Radiation” where it is scientifically proven that the color black not only absorbs more IR heat, it also casts off more IR heat if the object generates heat (like that of our aluminum heating element). Science doesn’t lie, and the proof for the customer will be a cooler work area around the machine and lower energy bills each month!
Making Our Products Greener
Another energy saving benefit by running the HIX machine is since less heat is cast into the work area from the heat element, the need to run the air conditioner in the shop to cool the work area is reduced! This lower air conditioning bill will be noticed at the peak of the summer season. Another proven fact is that HIX heat castings are the longest lasting heating elements available on the market, and this eliminates the need to send the press to a land fill since it keeps doing its job year after year!
HIX Corporation’s first product for the screen-printing industry was the electric conveyor dryer, which was produced over 46 years ago. During the past 46 years, HIX has continually strived to make HIX electric dryers the most energy efficient dryers in the industry. We do this through the use of high-density 2″ thick insulation inside the oven walls that keeps the outer skin of the dryer cool to the touch. This heavy insulation saves energy in two ways:
- Reducing the amount of heat escaping from the oven section requires less electricity to heat the substrates being dried.
- When heat is kept from escaping into the work area, less electricity is required to run expensive air conditioners to cool the shop!
We also addressed the design of our electric dryers. At the heart of our electric dryer is our state-of-the-art thermocouple temperature control system. HIX utilizes a J-type thermocouple and a digital Partlow heat controller that allows the dryer to cycle on and off, and only calling for electricity/heat when the thermocouple senses a drop in temperature as product enters the oven chamber. Likewise, when the oven chamber is empty, the thermocouple senses a rise in temperature and cycles the power on and off to maintain the set point temperature instead of calling for constant heat (like a percentage timer heat controller). Example: A percentage timer heat controller will call for full heat (full power) even when the oven chamber is empty of product because it has no way to sense a drop in temperature created by a full oven load of product.
Making the World a Cleaner Place
HIX believes the best way to show people we care about our planet, being energy efficient, and saving you money is by incorporating safe, efficient, and effective practices in our daily production.
At HIX, we value our employees and understand their importance to the overall role of success within the company. We also understand that being located in Kansas means it gets very hot in the summer. To help our employees work more comfortably, our plant is air-conditioned. We run our units only upon hitting 85 degrees before noon, and we exhaust the plant during nighttime hours to minimize energy consumptions.
We Only Use What We Need
We start our production shift early in the morning to reduce the need to run our air conditioners for extended periods of time. In fact, most days the production plant doesn’t need to turn on the air conditioning because we start early enough in the day when it is cooler, and we finish the day before the heat becomes unbearable in the plant. Opening the plant early and running the air-conditioning less helps us control energy usage. Keeping employees cooler increases their production capabilities and increases the overall efficiency of the production shop.
HIX employees have come up with numerous way of cutting energy usage. Throughout the office we have replaced all 160 mercury vapor lights and all of our office fixtures with high pressure fluorescent, which use 1/3 the electricity. We run our natural gas fired foundry only in low demand months such as April-October, freeing up millions of MCF for winter/peak demand months. We improved our work environment with other simple changes such as replacing most towel dispensers with more efficient high velocity hand drying blowers. These cuts in energy usage help protect our environment and your pocket.
Reuse, Recycle, Renew
At HIX, we’ve always practice the art of recycling. All of our steel cuttings and scrap are recycled along with all of our aluminum. We re-melt aluminum solid, and we sell cuttings that hit the floor to reclaimers. Bins are left for our employees to recycle their waste aluminum cans and scraped paper products that can be recycled. All cardboard and plastic is traded to be recycled for used pallets, which we use for shipping. The scrapped and damaged pallets are given to our employees and community as firewood (a nice side effect of this is that oak pallets burn hotter and with less ash)! Corrugated boxes are recycled by reshipping them with our products. A number of the paper products we use internally, including bathroom tissue, are from recycled sources. We also have approximately 8 acres of “green area” on our 16-acre site. We bale the grass/clover/hay twice a year for animal feed.
The environment is every industrial manufacturer’s responsibility. The more we take from our environment, the more we need to put back into its recovery. As a company, we will continue to look for new ways to use less energy, and reuse and recycle materials that we use in our products. We will also continue to engineer and design our products to use less electrical and gas utilities to help reduce your overall carbon footprint and money expensed towards energy.