GKN Sinter Metals’ facility in Germantown, Wisconsin, USA, has completed a Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programme to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. Through the programme, the facility is said to have improved its electric efficiency by 6.6% and natural gas efficiency by 15% since 2015.
The programme was completed in collaboration with Focus on Energy, a company which partners with Wisconsin businesses and residents to identify energy savings and reduce waste. Focus on Energy is said to select companies for its programme who use significant energy in the state and meet the required specifications to complete the ISO 15001 Energy Management certification.
GKN’s strategy includes a plan to see all North American facilities certified ISO 15001 by 2020. “By launching into the SEM programme, it shows that GKN is serious about energy savings and reducing our impact on the environment,” commented John Rau, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager at GKN Sinter Metals Wisconsin. “When our management sets high expectations, our manufacturing facilities meet them.”
To meet the requirements of the programme, Rau and the Germantown team created a customised programme for the facility to find maximum savings through certificate training, quarterly workshops and third-party audits. “We were ready and committed to taking a comprehensive approach to maintaining our energy,” stated Wayne Spearman, Plant Manager, GKN Sinter Metals Wisconsin.
The team stated that they implemented projects including extensive metering and monitoring, furnace upgrades and management, upgrades to lighting and compressed air systems improvements. The improvements have saved an equivalent of more than 1.5 million kW hours of electricity and more than 30,000 therms of natural gas, according to Focus on Energy. The energy savings also saved $136,000 at the facility.
Over the two-year SEM programme, GKN implemented projects which it states will save over six million kW hours and 525,000 therms of natural gas. According to Focus on Energy, this is equivalent to removing 1,000 cars off the road and powering 500 homes every year.
GKN stated that it is now planning to expand its environmental savings across North America. The SEM programme implementation is being shared with GKN’s North American Health, Safety and Environment teams and will be presented at an upcoming Manufacturing Engineering Conference in Indiana, USA.
“This programme has brought more awareness to our employees that energy reduction is important to our performance,” Rau concluded. “Considering energy is now a much larger deciding factor in our facilities.”