Marginal Column

Illustration | Bosch Rexroth AG

Voluntary commitment: factory optimization

 

Many companies are acting as good citizens by undertaking voluntary commitments to the environment. Bosch Rexroth, too, intends to reduce the CO2 emissions of all its plants, all around the world, by twenty percent, by the year 2020. An energy manager at every factory coordinates project planning. When starting new construction – in China and India, for example – all the reduction potentials are examined together with the specialists at the Center for Applied Energy Research. This not only includes the use of regenerative energies with photovoltaic panels or solar thermal plants, but also the extraction of geothermal energy – or finishing glass to optimize its solar heat gain coefficient. This figure indicates the amount of heat which can be expected to be retained when the sun’s rays pass through windows.

Many and varied projects have also been launched in North and South America. In the Brazilian plant at Pomerode, for example, a special team with the appropriate name of “Leakage Hunter Operation” is tracking down losses in compressed air systems. There are numerous activities at European sites, too. In the town of Schweinfurt, Germany, an innovative simulation of a building is being used. In Elchingen, reusing waste heat is being studied with the help of absorptive materials.

A global ideas competition revealed many new approaches. The plant in Bursa, Turkey, developed a concept for utilizing the waste thermal energy from heat-treating shops, with an annual savings potential of more than 800 tons of CO2. The cleverest idea originated in Vénissieux, France: an RFID sensor to control cleaning equipment. The prizewinner in the company-wide contest was the Rexroth factory in Glenrothes, Scotland, which achieved the best cost/benefit ratio in its submission of a concept for demand-driven control of engine test beds.