Glass manufacturer introduces energy management

Climate change and sustainable industries – these themes are ever present today. Long-standing Austrian Stoelzle Glass Group is betting on a comprehensive approach to carbon-neutral and energy-efficient operations to secure its place for more generations to come.

Austria’s Stoelzle Glass Group knows how a thing or two about what it means to be sustainable. The climate and energy crises are merely the more recent in a long line of issues the company has had to contend with since its founding more than 200 years ago.

 

Reducing carbon emissions by 50% and energy use by 20% by 2030 are the company’s current sustainability goals. Simatic Energy Manager PRO (Simatic EnMPRO) system and the SiGreen approach form the centerpiece of their holistic optimization efforts.

The delicate balance between ecologic and economic interests

“If you want to survive on the market, you have to demonstrably improve your environmental performance,” says Georg Feith, CEO of the Stoelzle Glass Group. Getting greener is quite a feat, particularly for a high-end glass container manufacturer whose output totals 3.8 billion units every year. “Everyone knows that the whole industry wants to reduce its energy costs sooner rather than later. They used to make up about 10 percent of our operating costs, but in the current situation they’re up to 30 percent,” he explains.

 

To improve energy efficiency and reduce costs, Stoelzle needed to identify inefficiencies and deviations early on as well as track and evaluate trends and changes in energy consumption. “We recognized early on that we needed an energy management system at the group level,” says Alexander Roschitz, group manager, Stoelzle Group. There were metering points, but not enough, and none that were interconnected – neither in the individual factories nor across factories. There were no standardized KPIs, nor could they be automatically calculated,” he continues. Values from Excel spreadsheets were used to draw conclusions. 

Getting the true carbon footprint with data and KPIs

At the start of 2020, Stoelzle Glass brought Siemens on board to consult. The two companies closely worked together to identify energy-efficient and carbon-related KPIs, develop a viable metering concept, and focus on the most relevant potential savings.

 

According to Alexander Roschitz, Stoelzle realized it needed “a software that could be used group-wide for acquiring, recording, and evaluating data and for visualizing it in a variety of ways.” The company wanted a system that can give full transparency of energy use at all levels, from the group to the factory to the plant to the line. To prove and document regulatory compliance, they needed high-quality valid data with standardized KPIs. These multifaceted requirements were best by Siemens’ Simatic EnMPRO energy management system. With it, Stoelzle can easily evaluate energy and CO2 KPIs, calculate the energy balance, track all measures, and report results.

 

Another important part of the decarbonization effort is the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions within the scopes as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. SiGreen, an application also developed by Siemens, efficiently collates real data collected from where emissions are actually produced. With SiGreen, Stoelzle can exchange emission data along the supply chain and combine it with data from its own value creation to obtain a product’s true carbon footprint. Stoelzle’s CEO was impressed. “Future requirements are going to be increasingly complex and interconnected, and the solutions are already available today,” comments Georg Feith.  

International rollout 

First to undergo the optimization in 2021 was the production site at the Köflach headquarters. 70 new metering points for gas, electricity, compressed air, and water were added, and 1,800 data points from process and production systems were integrated. Results were encouraging. Monitoring reveals that municipal water use can be reduced by 50%, and that better temperature control help the generators use 20% less natural gas. By the end of 2022, all seven Stoelzle factories in Europe will be fully connected to the system. The U.S. site will follow in 2023.

 

“We made the right choice with Siemens. We’re now looking forward to the international rollout and other collaborative steps that will make Stoelzle a glass manufacturer that’s successful on the market while being verifiably energy-efficient with demonstrably low emissions,” concludes Georg Feith.

 

As evidenced by Stoelzle Glass Group’s extended history, sustainability was always part of the firm’s vocabulary. Taking these steps to firmly embed sustainability into its operations will ensure that both the environment and the company can enjoy a long and prosperous future.

 

 

September 2022