In today’s world, the automotive industry continuously explores new opportunities for energy efficiency options. The company aims to reduce production costs and yet maintaining the quality of the product, customer satisfaction and safety of the passengers in their automobiles. Energy efficiency is crucial to reduce the pollutant emissions into the atmosphere and the automakers find it challenging to increase the output of the products and yet adhering to energy efficiency practices and technology investment.
Energy management programs and systems.
As the technology of saving energy on equipment is becoming more complex and advanced, so do the impact and changes in employees’ attitudes and behaviours. For the employees to adopt the energy management practices in their daily work life, they must undergo energy management training programs and adapt to such changes in their routine tasks. Every level of management from top to bottom of the authority levels must work together to attain the company objectives and missions of energy efficiency and become aware and conscious of their energy consumption. Conducting regular feedbacks and suggestions between all employees and employers in the programs and introducing incentives such as the reward system may motivate participants at all levels. Although employees take small steps and only saves a small amount of energy by switching off the electronic devices, etc. but when they continuously do those small little steps, in the long run, the company saves a huge amount of energy consumption costs and shows greater impact than investing in technology development.
The Volvo automobile company in the Netherlands carry out an energy monitoring and registration system which influence the employee behaviour by providing feedback of the monitored results (Ford, 2001). The employees’ attitudes and behaviours also change with changes in the heating and ventilation systems. For example, removing unnecessary lights, switching off the lights or air conditioning of unused equipment or machinery, opening windows when internal temperatures are overheated and closing them when leaving offices made huge impacts on energy savings. Ford company also conduct studies and carried out a computer-based energy management system which supplied electricity to the factory and automatically adjusts the heating during the highest energy demand from the machinery (Ford, 2001).
Efficient HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) measures
HVAC consumes the largest amount of electricity in the automotive assembly plants during operations; it’s ventilating the system when the fuel operates with high energy for drying and heating in painting. Therefore, a great way to save energy from the HVAC system is by setting the temperature of the premises lesser during non-operating days such as weekends and public holidays. It can be evidenced just as simple as turning off the electronic air conditioning controls after operating hours during these periods. For example, the Volvo paint shop in Sweden saves energy by 50% for use on or off control in the ventilation system (Dag, 2000). During breaks, switching off the airflow will save up the costlier operations during non-productive hours. Scheduling the ventilation demand and painting operation time that utilizes the energy shall ensure that the energy is not wasted. Adjusting the fans by using different shape or size of the sheaves of a fan helps to control the airflow and fan speed which eventually saves energy in the vehicle plant facility. Reducing the usage of air conditioning by planting trees that give shades and cool down the building temperatures especially in hot climate areas is warranted immensely. The bigger is the area of the facility plant, the higher is the ventilation system usage and energy used. The proper distribution of the HVAC system rightly plays an important role that helps save energy throughout the plant facility.
Maintenance and control check
In the long run, the painting lines start to function less efficiently and the other machinery parts also become more deteriorated. Knowingly, taking care of the drivers’ automobile will help them to perform more efficiently and safer. The more care of your car, the greater it will perform and saves the environment.
The following list shall be considered as maintenance checks:
- Install only well- functioned airlocks, windows, entry and exit doors which cause heat losses in the plant facility.
- Monitor the air exhaust from the ovens so as not to be excessive in the plant facility. Ovens help to heat up the automobiles so to ensure that the hot air transmission from ovens is not too high.
- Examine the assembly line system that handles coordination between the material parts and checks any errors to avoid undesirable failure that causes slowdowns the automobile production process.
- Install the direct air conditioning towers rather than overhead tubes in the facility and maintained the air conditioner regularly.
- Ford company built an assembly line with conveyor belts and moving platforms for the automobile factory. Maintain the moving floors or tracks that transport or move equipment and parts at different directions (Bunty, n.d.).
- All assembly equipment is floor based rather than hanging from overhead. Some use rollers or wheels to move any items easily (AllAboutLean, 2018).
- Regularly record of performance parameters such as OEE or KPI to measure the efficiency of implemented facility management services.
Design environmentally automobile and structure
Electric cars are the latest trend in the automotive industry nowadays which relate to energy efficiency. Most car companies manufacture eco-friendlier electric cars and start to increase the numbers of car charging points whether at parking areas, shopping malls, gas stations or office buildings, etc. Weight or load is also another factor that determines the cars’ energy usage. If the car is transporting heavyweights, it is highly likely that the car should consume more fuel to travel. Most people leave old or unnecessary items in their car trunks. Every item increases more weight that will use up more fuels while driving which eventually incur more costs and destroying the environment as well. Thus, automakers should produce automobiles with lightweight materials for the components and parts which help the drivers to own lightweight automobiles which save up on fuel usage.
Prevent leaks in equipment, compressor and pipes
Leakage is a major source of wasted energy. The electricity charges can be saved by reducing the size of the leakage rate. Toyota stated that quickly-connected fittings are prone to leaks and must be prevented. Other typical leaks are from pipe joints, hoses, tubes, and hoses, etc. The size of the pipe holes or equipment can determine the magnitude of leaks. Leaks can cause delayed the production downtime, increase facility maintenance and shorten its life expectancy. Repairing and fixing the leaking pipes or equipment reduced the electricity bills. To detect the leakage, identify the high hissing sound from the air leakage. Another way is to use soapy water to detect large leaks. Reduce the pressure to improve the energy efficiency of your compressed air systems. Turn off the compressor when not in use especially after operating hours, night time or during tea breaks to save electricity.
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