Case Study – Business Process Change in a Paint Shop

Sector: Industrial Sector

Project: Business Process Change in an Automotive OEM Paint Shop

Background

 

To produce a vehicle takes a large amount of different types of energy – electricity, gas and water. Up to 60% of the total energy used in producing a vehicle is consumed during the painting process.

 

Solutions

 

A project was undertaken at a Paint Shop within an Automotive OEM to map the energy cost of a paint booth operation. The result of this mapping exercise was to review the different technologies that could be introduced to see if there were any opportunities to reduce the energy consumption.

The entire energy consumption by the booth was measured through the deployment of Ecopare’s energy sensors across all its key assets. These assets included the spray robots, the air handling units, water reticulation system and gas feeds. The booth was monitored over a 28-day period to cover a number of work pattern scenarios including normal production week, an overtime week, a week with a bank holiday and a shut-down week. From this an Energy Personality for the booth was developed.

 

Outcomes

 

There were a number of recommendations that came from the knowledge contained in the development of the Energy Personality. One of these was the start-up costs at the beginning of the production run. The data indicated that the booth start-up process commenced at 2:30am for a 6:00am start. The cost of this start-up was on average £165 or just under £8,000 a year.

On investigation into the actual time needed to get a booth to operating level, it was found that it should not take more than 2 hours. Therefore, a series of test scenarios were undertaken to assess the actual time it takes to bring it to operating level. The optimum start-up time was found to be 4:15am

This reduced the start-up cost by £92 a week or £4,500 a year. Extrapolated across the single paint shop provided an annual saving of £50,000 without the need of capital investment.

This misalignment of power-up time to actual shift start time is a common issue across all types of manufacturing companies. It is typically driven by tradition (always done it this way) or fear of failure of the plant being at operating level at start of production.

By capturing the evidence base (especially in SME companies that usually do not have sophisticated control systems) and then using it as a visual indicator to the production team to help them to realign the process, only the minimum amount of energy is used in non-production times.

The next step in the process is to address the cost of energy during stoppages or when no production is happening (shift change, breaks etc).