Energy cost savings of €37,000

Medical technology company Wellspect focuses on sustainability

The term "sustainability" all too often turns into mere lip service. This is not the case at Wellspect. The company, a leading global manufacturer of solutions for medical continence care, has integrated sustainability in its corporate strategy and is committed to implementing it. It's no wonder that the company relies on Festo Energy Saving Services at its plant in Mölndal near Gothenburg, Sweden, which save Wellspect €37,000 a year in energy costs.

These energy savings correspond to 24 tonnes fewer CO2 emissions per year. A pleasant side effect of the lower energy consumption is that machine availability on one of the catheter packaging lines has increased by 10% thanks to reduced component wear.

Compressed air energy efficiency audit

"Bo Lilja, energy efficiency expert from Festo Sweden, used theFesto compressed air energy efficiency audit to identify weak points in our plant and which measures were most likely to pay off in our compressed air system", explains Erik Blomholt, Maintenance Manager at Wellspect. Energy expert Lilja made the measures available to Wellspect's maintenance team online at Festo Energy Saving Services Portal. "This allowed us to monitor the elimination of defects such as leakages in a simple and structured way", says Blomholt. Last but not least, this also helped to quantify energy losses and CO2 emissions.

The compressed air energy efficiency audit consists of five steps. In the first three steps, energy efficiency expert Bo Lilja analysed the compressed air generation, compressed air preparation and compressed air distribution of the entire system. He then turned his attention to the pneumatic applications, i.e. the machines and systems themselves. In the process, he analysed the energy efficiency of these machines and systems and detected leakages.

"I checked whether drives, valves and tubing are optimally sized, whether blowing and vacuum applications are efficiently designed and whether installation and control concepts should be optimised", explains Lilja.

In the fifth and final step, the specialist developed a concept for a compressed air monitoring system that can be used to continuously monitor the energy states.

Bo Lilja (right), energy efficiency expert at Festo Sweden, measures compressed air consumption on the production line with the air-flow analyser SFGA.

Bo Lilja (right), energy efficiency expert at Festo Sweden, measures compressed air consumption on the production line with the air-flow analyser SFGA. You can find more information about the SFGA here (PDF) .

Comprehensive analysis

At the end of the analysis, Wellspect received a detailed report that precisely documents the data and provides recommended actions in order of priority. The documentation shows, among other things, energy consumption and costs, energy reserves and CO2 emission values, which Wellspect requires for disclosure in its own sustainability report in accordance with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) or GHG (greenhouse gas).

Carrying out the energy efficiency audit is part of Wellspect's sustainability strategy. Three topics take centre stage: health and well-being by enabling more people to live full, independent and self-confident lives thanks to bladder and bowel management solutions; a safe, engaging and inspiring workplace; and a reduced environmental footprint.

Contribution to the sustainability goals

Wellspect's vision is to become carbon neutral by 2045. The company's production facilities are already powered exclusively by electricity from renewable energy sources. Festo Energy Saving Services are designed to point the way to further savings. The €37,000 that are now saved annually on energy and equipment costs relate to three production lines, and two more have already been identified. "Our goal is to optimise all production plants in terms of energy. That is why we will gradually extend the energy efficiency audits to all our systems", says Chief Maintenance Engineer Blomholt.

This will make it possible to continuously reduce the kilowatt hours consumed annually for each catheter produced. By 2025, Wellspect hopes to reduce the energy consumption for each catheter manufactured by 12% compared to 2020. As a large number of catheters is produced each week, the final figure results in significant cost savings.

Predictive energy with artificial intelligence and machine learning

The Festo Automation Experience, or Festo AX for short, could be the right tool for greater energy efficiency at Wellspect. It can be used to continuously monitor the energy efficiency of a machine or system and to take permanent corrective action if consumption deviates from the setpoint values. It is an easy-to-use solution that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help the user extract maximum value from the data produced by the machines and systems.

Festo AX Predictive Energy records a "fingerprint" of the energy consumption of the production line and continuously compares it with the actual state. Leaks can be detected automatically by using machine learning and artificial intelligence. And without having to describe and teach in all possible fault causes beforehand. Being able to react quickly to detected leakages immediately lowers production costs and ensures the solution provides an early return on investment.

About Wellspect

Based in Mölndal near Gothenburg, Sweden, Wellspect employs more than 1,000 people and operates in 18 countries. The company is part of Dentsply Sirona, the world's largest manufacturer of professional dental solutions. The company develops and produces solutions for people suffering from bladder or bowel related issues. Product users include people with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida or an enlarged prostate. The best-known product lines are Lofric for bladder management and Navina for bowel management. The high-quality product solutions are accompanied by a comprehensive training program for patients and healthcare professionals.