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Volkswagen obtains significant energy reductions

Volkswagen's Uitenhage plant has obtained significant energy reductions through the combined initiatives from its energy management team.

VWSA MD, Thomas Schaefer and manufacturing and planning manager, Nick Chapman in the Think Blue Pavilion.
VWSA MD, Thomas Schaefer and manufacturing and planning manager, Nick Chapman in the Think Blue Pavilion.
The vehicle manufacturer has managed to decrease its weekend base load target for the entire manufacturing plant by 27% from 3.91 to 2.84 megawatts. During the second weekend in March, VWSA managed to achieve its lowest base load to date of just 2.13 megawatts.

"There have been many initiatives that have resulted in these savings and they include implementing various switch-off plans, setting base load targets for each area and implementing certain technical changes," explained Nick Chapman, VWSA Manufacturing and Planning manager.

The installation of a small compressor to supply only the EA111 coolant machine and fine measuring room in engine plant has been a successful improvement. This allows for the complete switch-off of the general plant compressed air during the base load period, resulting in a reduction from about 400 to only 45 kilowatts.

Best recorded levels

Base load targets have also been set for each of the production areas. These targets are measured on a weekly basis and areas need to give feedback on their performance in a bi-monthly energy management meeting. These targets have now been reduced to best recorded levels. Another energy saving initiative involved the replacements of old fluorescent tubes with LED lights.

During last year's December shut-down, various areas started replacing their old T8 fluorescent tubes with an LED equivalent. These changes took place in the company's largest production area, final assembly and in some of the logistics areas.

"In final assembly, a total of 2,896 tubes were changed during the first phase and we are now planning to change a further 6,650 in the second phase. These changes yielded a reduction of about 98.46 kilowatts for phase one, which is equivalent to a R220,000 saving per year," elaborated Chapman.

Current projects

Also in the main administrative building in logistics, a total of 330 tubes were changed to LED, giving a reduction of about 5.3 kilowatts. Current projects include the replacement of the existing high pressure sodium flood lights around the logistics warehouses in plant. The lights inside the warehouses will also be changed to LED.

"All these initiatives are in line with the Volkswagen Group's Think Blue.Factory strategy, which aims to reduce the environmental impact by 25% per car produced," said VWSA's managing director, Thomas Schaefer. "Since 2010, VWSA has reduced its electricity usage by 24%, reduced waste disposal by 53%, reduced water usage by 42%, reduced CO² emissions by 21% and reduced VOC emissions by 22%."

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