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Green Manufacturing: Where to Start?

Siemens Enthusiast Siemens Enthusiast
Siemens Enthusiast

The goal of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is a global climate protection convention. One part of this goal is the reduction in CO2 emissions, which could be achieved by reducing energy consumption. How can manufacturing contribute to this goal? Or how do we become green in manufacturing?

You could look at the way the energy you consume is provided, e.g. from burning coal, oil or gas or from hydroelectric power stations, wind turbines or solar cells. Changing your energy source will help you to become green. Another possibility is the reduction in energy consumption of manufacturing processes, which will save costs in manufacturing too. How to do that?


Here’s one example: the transportation of goods from one manufacturing station to the next one is part of the manufacturing process. This can be done by automatic conveyor systems (BTW: these are used for the luggage system in airports too). Do these conveyor systems need to run all the time even when there are no parts to be transported? Just shutting down the conveyor when there is no part to be transported might not lead to the optimum between throughput and energy consumption. This is because there is a peak in energy consumption when starting the conveyor system which is higher compared to the running system.

We used a material flow simulation to get to the optimal parameters of such a transportation system. In this video Georg Piepenbrock, Product Manager Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, talks about the approach and the results.

This presentation will provide you even more details about the different parameters which were evaluate.

For more details about Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, which was used for the simulation, please visit the product web page.

And if you want to contribute to the UN Climate Change Conference, please have a look at the United Nations’ Hopenhagen initiative.

interesting and certainly green


I wonder if a similar simpulation principal can be applied to estimating energy consumption of a residential home. Say, input all energy consuming devices such as HVAC and lights and play with shutting some lights off or dialing down the thermostat so see the difference in energy consumption. Does a software like that exists?

Peace! Builder

Siemens Enthusiast

Thanks builder for the great question. Actually this can be done using the same software (Tecnomatix Plant Simulation) which was used for the example I mentioned. It would require building a simulation model which represents the specific equipment and the house. Depending on the kind of energy consumption, e.g. electricity or heat the model would look different. If you would just like to focus on the electricity consumption, you would probably add all lights, TV, computers, radios, ovens, refrigerator, washing machines etc. Now you could simulate different behaviors, e.g. what’s the peak electricity consumption in the morning when you turn on the lights, start the coffee machine and turn on the radio. You could simulate a change in behavior to avoid certain peaks in electricity consumption like starting the washing machine at 11 PM and let it run over night.

Having the simulation model once in place you could simulate multiple other scenarios as well. E.g. exchanging regular light bulbs with LEDs.