In Service of Beauty

Higher energy efficiency at L'Oréal in Karlsruhe/Germany

The cosmetics group L'Oréal has defined environmental protection as a corporate objective and is pursuing this not only in production but also in building technology. They modernized their heating system at their location in Karlsruhe, with solutions and savings from VIPA.

Accurate monitoring of the water and energy consumption

The name L'Oréal stands for cosmetics, hair, and skincare worldwide. The consumer brands L'Oréal Paris and Garnier are produced in Karlsruhe for Germany and parts of Europe, the group's only German production center. The high ethical standards of this global player are remarkable. Besides other aspects, L'Oréal pays attention to water and energy consumption. Almost all their factories have an ISO 14001 certificate and an OHSAS 18000 or OSHA VPP safety certificate. So, consequently, they also place great importance on sustainability and energy efficiency when it comes to building technology. District heating and a new controller replaced the existing heating system. Khim Automation from nearby Hambrücken had successfully managed several joint projects, so where chosen to oversee the control and automation engineering at L'Oréal.

Specialists rely on PLC engineering

Khim specializes in technical building automation and HVAC, focusing on energy control, savings, and networked solutions. The retrofitting needed to be completed during ongoing operations and even on weekends. The heating in production, completely retrofitted in three months, was modernized one area after another and according to the production requirements. There are many reasons why Khim chose to rely on PLC engineering instead of on systems such as BACnet, KNX, or LON ordinarily used in building technology. For example, PLC engineering is found everywhere in this industry, staff are familiar with it, spare parts are available in-house, and the customer can often deal with faults or changes without delay. In addition to STEP®7 compatibility, the interfaces to PROFIBUS and performance capability to process and store large amounts of data reliably spoke in favor of VIPA and our SPEED7 CPUs. All of the required interfaces come standard onboard with VIPA CPUs, and the capacities are sufficient to process the 90 parameters that arise per control module in this project.

Two CPUs 315SN-NET control the entire energy distribution together with decentralized SLIO modules.

Two 315-4NE12 Ethernet CPUs now control the right temperature throughout the building in Karlsruhe. On the 4.5 kilometers of PROFIBUS cable, there are 18 VIPA SLIO modules distributed across the entire plant and strengthened by repeaters. They regulate the energy distribution on-site and ensure that the return flow per unit of consumption does not rise above the desired value, or else the amount will be throttled.

The success of the modernization exceeded all expectations by significantly reducing heating costs and further promoting the company's sustainability goal.