Three step solution
At Festo we use a three stage process to get to the heart of the issue, get everyone on board, and create real, sustainable change.
As with any change project, it’s vital to get your senior stakeholders excited and inspired from the outset, so that they are willing to drive any recommended actions forward. It’s human nature, people need to feel ownership and see what’s in it for them. At Festo, we achieve this through a ‘Seeing is Believing’ workshop with managers, that shows step by step where real cost savings can be made through good practice.
When managers see the potential for savings of up to 80%, demonstrated on a simple system, it’s easier for them to fully understand the possibilities. A factory line tour after the workshop provides an immediate opportunity to see the potential reward and gain commitment.
2. Baseline measurements
In the case of Factory 3, we measured air consumption for the whole factory, and then ran an energy audit of each individual line, when running and when static. This established a baseline and gave us a breakdown of consumption by specific area and machine. By capturing photographic evidence of poor practice and opportunities for improvement, we could already see where significant savings could be made.
Neil Lewin, L&D Consultant at Festo, said, “A lot of companies do a leak detection audit that tags leaks, but they are never fixed. Engineers don’t have the time and don’t see the value, particularly when there are other more pressing priorities. But that little hissing noise in the background could be costing thousands of pounds a year.”
3. Engineers’ workshop
To transfer both skill and knowledge to Unilever engineers, the next step was a training workshop designed to help those who work with compressed air to:
• Understand the potential costs of wasted energy
• Identify poor practice and inefficient machine design
• Explain the need to set – and maintain – optimal settings
• Introduce tools to help engineers measure, and sustain, energy use
• Build team confidence and a proactive approach to energy efficiency
Engineers were now able to spot new potential savings just by walking down the factory line immediately after the workshop.
This workshop not only shows engineers the potential cost savings, but also the impact that inefficiencies might be having on their equipment. For example, a factory might be running on 7 bar pressure when the bulk of the equipment could operate at 4. With a reduction in pressure in most areas, everything will run as quickly but with less force, wear and tear, and noise. This impacts everything from health & safety to the longevity of equipment.