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.