Toyota’s Multi-Front Assault on Energy Consumption
Since 2002, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA) has reduced overall energy usage per vehicle by 21%, equal to $26 million a year in savings. Energy improvements in the manufacturing facilities in specific are saving over $20 million annually and are reducing CO2 emissions by almost 150,000 metric tons. TEMA has been able to decrease absolute energy use by nine percent.
TEMA utilizes a number of strategies to reduce energy. Examples:
- Benchmark buildings and processes, both internal and external, to identify opportunities for reducing energy consumption.
- Encourage energy savings through monthly energy contests, rewarding the production shops with the greatest reductions.
- Utilize “yokoten” (transfer of knowledge) to share successes with other plants.
General Energy Reduction Initiatives
TEMA has been studying ways to reduce the air to ovens in paint shops. A pilot installation was introduced in 2012. Preliminary analysis across TEMA's plants indicates a savings potential of 95,000 MMBtu's (Million Metric British Thermal Units) when it is eventually implemented in all paint shops.
In 2003, TEMA began investing in high-bay fluorescent lighting through small-scale projects at four plants as a way to reduce energy. Now, all North American plants utilize this lighting. The plants have replaced 40,000 400-watt HIDs with 220-watt fluorescents, which have reduced high-bay energy consumption by over 50%. Overall, replacing plant lights with new efficient lights saves $500,000 annually and reduces CO2 emissions by over 10,000 metric tons.
TEMA's Buffalo, West Virginia, plant is one example of TEMA's strategies in action. “We have very aggressive targets for energy and water reduction,” reports Shawn Daly, general manager. “Each manager has a target for energy and water each year. We also work with our team members to come up with 'kaizen' - improvement ideas.”
For example, while variable-speed HVAC blowers are available today, the Buffalo plant was built at a time when only fixed-speed blowers were available, meaning that the fans only blow at one speed, using baffles to hold back air flow when necessary. “To reduce energy consumption, we installed variable-frequency drives on our air-handling equipment,” states Daly. Variable frequency drive (VFD) installations allow motors to run at a level needed to meet demand, rather than constantly at full power. Installing VFDs reduces the electrical consumption of motors and the gas consumption of burners, resulting in annual savings of over 30,000 MMBtu's. And, as an example of “yokoten,” the HVAC system in the Blue Spring, Mississippi, plant will be similarly retrofitted, and installation at other locations is being studied.
“One of our biggest successes has been high bay light replacement,” continues Daly. “We replaced the traditional lamps with about 2,000 fluorescent lamps that have almost twice the light intensity, but use half the energy.” The lighting system also has motion sensors to turn lights off when no one is in an area. “This has enabled us to save about $220,000 a year,” he reports. The plant also submitted this information to its utility provider, AEP, which gave the plant a rebate of $95 per light.
The Buffalo plant is also always looking for ways to reduce compressed air leaks for air-powered tools and as part of its machining processes. It schedules regular “treasure hunt” activities, where team members look for and repair any leaks that they find. “We also recently installed some compressed air meters in certain sections of our plant, so we can more closely monitor compressed air usage line-by-line,” adds Daly.
Other TEMA plants have achieved significant success with energy reduction. The Georgetown, Kentucky, plant implemented an annual President's Shutdown Energy Challenge in 2005. It encourages different shops to compete to achieve the highest reduction in energy consumption during the December shutdown, based on a comparison of energy use from the previous shutdown. Since the inception of the program, the plant has reduced CO2 by over 11,000 metric tons. As part of TEMA's “yokoten” strategy, Summer and Winter Shutdown Challenges are now being held across Toyota's North American plants.