Catheter production at Wellspect

Energy costs reduced by $39,600

Medical technology company Wellspect focuses on sustainability

All too often, the term 'sustainability' is merely a case of lip service. Not so with Wellspect. As a leading global manufacturer of solutions in the field of medical continence care, the company has firmly anchored sustainability in its corporate strategy and is actively pursuing its implementation. No wonder the company relies on Festo Energy Saving Services at its plant in Mölndal near Gothenburg, Sweden. These services help Wellspect save $39,600 in energy costs every year.

These energy savings correspond to 24 tons of reduced CO2 emissions per year. Another pleasant side effect of the lower energy consumption: machine availability on one of the packaging lines for catheters increased by 10% due to the lower component wear.

Compressed air energy efficiency audit

"Through the compressed air energy efficiency audit from Festo, Bo Lilja, an energy efficiency expert from Festo Sweden, uncovered weaknesses in our system and showed us which measures in our compressed air system would be most likely to pay off," explained Erik Blomholt, Maintenance Manager at Wellspect. Energy expert Lilja made the measures available to the Wellspect maintenance team online at Festo Energy Saving Services portal . "We were able to monitor the elimination of defects such as leakage in a simple and structured manner," says Blomholt. Last but not least, this also helps us quantify power loss and CO2 emissions.

The compressed air energy efficiency audit consists of five steps. In the first three steps, Energy Efficiency Expert Bo Lilja from Festo analyzed the compressed air generation, preparation and distribution of the entire system. He then turned his attention to the pneumatic applications, i.e. the machines and systems themselves. He analyzed the energy efficiency of these machines and systems and tracked down leakage.

"I checked whether the drives, valves and tubing were optimally sized, whether blowing and vacuum applications were efficiently designed and whether installation and control concepts should be optimized," explained Lilja.

In the fifth and final step, the specialist developed a concept for a compressed air monitoring system that could be used to monitor the energy status permanently.

Bo Lilja (right), Energy Efficiency Expert from Festo Sweden, measures the compressed air consumption on the production line with the SFGA air-flow analyzer.

Bo Lilja (right), Energy Efficiency Expert from Festo Sweden, measures the compressed air consumption on the production line with the SFGA air-flow analyzer. You can find more information about the SFGA (PDF) here .

Comprehensive analysis

At the end of the analysis, Wellspect received a detailed report with precise documentation of the data and prioritized recommendations for action. The documentation shows, among other things, power consumption and costs, power reserves and CO2 emission values, which Wellspect needs for disclosure in its own sustainability report, for example according to GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) or GHG (Greenhouse Gas).

Conducting the energy efficiency audit is part of Wellspect's sustainability strategy. Three topics are at the fore: health and well-being by enabling more people to live fulfilling, independent and confident lives with bladder and bowel management solutions; a safe, engaged and inspiring workplace; and a reduced ecological footprint.

Contribution to sustainability goals

Wellspect's vision is to become carbon neutral by 2045. The company's production facilities are already operated exclusively with electricity from renewable energy sources. The Festo Energy Saving Services was intended to be used to point the way to further savings. The 39,600 dollars per year now being saved in reduced energy and equipment costs involve three production lines, and two more have already been identified. “Our goal is to optimize energy use in all of our production facilities. That's why we will gradually expand the energy efficiency audits to all our systems," said Blomholt, head of maintenance.

This will make it possible to continuously reduce the kilowatt hours consumed annually for each catheter produced. By 2025, Wellspect hopes to reduce the power consumption in the manufacture of each catheter by 12% compared to 2020. With a large volume of catheters being produced every week, the final figure results in significant cost savings.

Predictive Energy with artificial intelligence and machine learning

In order to continuously monitor the energy efficiency of a machine or system and to be able to take permanent corrective action in the event of deviations in consumption from the setpoint values, the Festo Automation Experience, or Festo AX for short, could be just the right tool for greater energy efficiency at Wellspect. It is an easy-to-use solution that allows users to generate high added value from machine and system data using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

With Festo AX Predictive Energy, a 'fingerprint' of the power consumption of the production line is recorded and continuously compared with the actual status. By using machine learning and artificial intelligence, leakage can be detected automatically. And that without having to describe and teach in all the possible causes of the error beforehand. Being able to respond early to leakage in this way directly reduces production costs and ensures an early ROI of the solution.

About Wellspect

Headquartered in Mölndal near Gothenburg, Sweden, Wellspect employs over 1,000 people and operates in 18 countries. The company belongs to Dentsply Sirona, the world's largest manufacturer of professional dental solutions. The company develops and produces solutions for people suffering from bladder or bowel dysfunction. 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.