10. Mitigate Bottlenecks
Bottlenecks not only decrease your throughput and increase cycle time, but also needlessly keep your machines running longer. By keeping your bottlenecks to a minimum, you can avoid constantly running your machines while waiting for one process to finish.
9. Keep Machinery Up-to-Date and Well-Kept
Machining is by far the biggest energy user at your plant. Reducing energy usage by a small percentage can result in huge savings for both your pocket and the environment. Investing in new equipment is a one-time expenditure from which you will likely see savings almost immediately. For the equipment you do have, make sure all maintenance is up-to-date, and check up on it frequently. Preventing wear and tear on your machines helps them last longer and run more energy-efficiently.
8. Recover Waste Heat
Waste heat recovery units (WHRU) add efficiency to the production, resulting in lower fuel and energy costs. Furthermore, WHRU's lead to a decrease in pollution, and also give you the ability to use smaller machines (since they do not need to be working as hard).
7. Reduce Friction
Ensuring that all of your machines are properly lubricated can avoid prematurely wearing any gears, and can also reduce energy consumption and high temperatures caused by friction.
6. Create a "Green Committee"
Appoint employees from various stages of production (from engineer to factory worker) to a committee which evaluates the company top to bottom in terms of energy usage. This committee can find where energy can be optimized, and determine the best ways to do it. The wider the variety of members, the more aspects of production can be made sustainable.
5. Maximize Your Lighting
Make sure you are using the most efficient light bulbs and fixtures on the market. Again, a one-time investment can end up saving you a substantial amount on your energy bill. Most ENERGY STAR qualified Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) use 75% less energy and last 10x longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Having sufficient windows can mitigate the need for lights at all on sunny days, and making areas as open as possible allows the light to spread to more of the room.
4. Practice Lean Manufacturing
Common methods to implement lean manufacturing include Six Sigma, Just In Time Manufacturing, Total Productive Maintenance, and Cellular Manufacturing. For more benefits and ways to implement these, Click Here for EPA's Page On Lean Manufacturing
3. Be Smart When Setting the Thermostat
In the winter, it may be tempting to crank up that thermostat to forget about the snow outside. But many people don't realize that often your machines can sufficiently heat the flooring, making the employees feel warmer than you might think. Likewise, in the summertime people often try to beat the heat by blasting the A/C. However, many plants do so overwhelmingly, making employees uncomfortably chilly. Avoiding extremities will not only make your employees happier and more comfortable, but will also save you a ton of cash on your energy bill!
2. Bigger Is Not Always Better
When it comes to machine size, while larger might mean more powerful, smaller will mean more efficient. Most plants design equipment to avoid bottlenecks and meet maximum or desired demand. However, recent EPA and ENERGY STAR studies show that switching to right-sized machines can save between 50-85% on your energy bill. You can start rightsizing your equipment by switching to smaller motors, larger pulleys (studies show reducing a fan speed by 20% reduces energy consumption by 50%), and use only static pressure adjustment variable air volume systems only. Learn more about rightsizing machines from ENERGY STAR and the EPA.
While you might think that automation uses more energy, its efficiency and productivity actually make machines run less, saving you in the end. Additionally, automation limits mistakes to almost nothing, cutting wasted material exponentially. Not only does automation increase your productivity, but you will also be making your company more sustainable and steered for future success.