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Thursday, 14 April 2016 12:17

Staff communication allows Llanelli engine parts factory to achieve impressive energy savings

Communication amongst employees has been the big factor leading to Schaeffler UK's automotive engine component plant in Llanelli, South Wales, achieving the ISO 50001 Energy Management certification. The standard aims to help organisations continually reduce their energy use and therefore their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Schaeffler Llanelli plantThe ISO 50001:2011 standard enable an organisation to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy security, energy procurement and consumption.

Paul Griffiths, Internal Projects Coordinator, Technology Department at Schaeffler UK commented: "Going through the ISO 50001 process has helped us to formally document the good work that has been ongoing for years and has given us the opportunity to publicise the savings within the plant that have both financial and environmental benefits. It has helped to unify everyone in the plant at all levels with a common goal and perhaps rather uniquely, given everybody the opportunity to participate and contribute."

In both internal and external audits, the Llanelli plant was particularly praised for communication. The plant communicates both work and home energy savings information to employees via posters, emails, presentations, notice boards and events.

In 2014, the plant invested in additional energy meters and a network of hardware to automatically collect data and store it in the Schaeffler EDMS (Energy Data Management System). At the beginning of 2015, the EDMS went live and provided the next level data, down to 15-minute intervals, allowing the plant to get an even greater handle on where and when energy is being used. As Griffiths points out: "The greatest benefit that we have seen from this system so far is the identification of 'zero-investment' savings, whereby we find ways of running equipment in a different manner without making any financial investment."

He cites a recent example that resulted in tangible energy savings: "Employees are often not aware of how much energy equipment is using when it is idling, so we have visual tools within our EDMS to explain the wastage and potential savings. During a weekend in March, for example, we left one of the component washing machines in normal operating mode, even though it was not in use. During this 48-hour period, it used 1,938kWh, which cost £194. The following weekend, we switched off the heating on the machine, leaving only the control and extraction on. During this 48-hour period, the machine used 126kWh, which cost £13. This represents a saving of £181. If we do this every weekend, the plant will save £9,412 annually."

Schaeffler UK's manufacturing plant in Llanelli produces precision engine components including general bearings and mechanical tappets for the automotive industry. The plant, which was established in 1957, employs 250 people. Other Schaeffler UK plants in Plymouth (The Barden Corporation UK Limited) and Sheffield have also achieved ISO 50001 accreditation.

The Schaeffler Group is a global automotive and industrial supplier. With around 84,000 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world's largest family companies and, with approximately 170 locations in more than 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.

www.schaeffler.co.uk