Driving towards energy efficiency and sustainability

Faurecia, a global player in the automotive industry, has launched a pilot project to reduce energy costs at its Almussafes plant in Valencia, Spain. In collaboration with Siemens and Industrial Energy Management Services, it was possible to establish comprehensive monitoring of its energy flows, that enabled Faurecia to reduce its energy consumption by more than 5%.

Clear focus on efficiency and productivity

The automotive industry is a shining example of investments in efficiency and productivity. Far beyond car manufacturers known as "vehicle OEMs", the entire production chain requires to comply with highest levels of productivity.

 

As one of the top ten global automotive suppliers, Faurecia is an example of innovation and digital transformation in the automotive industry. Its R&D center for the Interiors Division in Paterna (Valencia), is in charge of setting worldwide standards for all its production centers. Committed to the present challenges of a huge conglomerate with a global footprint, Faurecia is strongly focused on sustainability and decarbonization across its different production sites.

Energy efficiency as the key for sustainability

To achieve such productivity in combination with being sustainable, focus on energy efficiency is a must. Transparency on the energy consumption on machine level, per produced unit or production cycle has always been important for Faurecia. But there was still room for improvement to achieve full transparency and thus an optimized energy consumption.

 

For example, there was a lack of reference values in terms of fluid consumption. Without such reference values there is no way to analyze deviations of critical variables and to evaluate how stable the process runs. Another example: There was no transparency on the energy consumption of the production machines depending on their operational status e.g., whether they are idle or in operation

Energy map as blueprint for a new standard

As a starting point a joint scoping workshop was conducted where the energy map was designed: energy consumption of control areas (plant, production line, auxiliary service rooms and even machines), values affecting energy performance (electrical, thermal, cooling, etc.) and definition of Energy Performance Indicators. The energy map sets the basis for the implementation in other factories of the Interior division at Faurecia. The gained transparency allows the customer a much better understanding to analyze and make decisions on various aspects.

Data analytics increase production efficiency

After connecting over 250 data points for different types of energy through the SIMATIC Energy Manager PRO and SIMATIC automation hardware, it was possible to record and analyze a considerable amount of data that turns into value for Faurecia. It was important for Faurecia that the data is stored on a server at their plant, to avoid critical data leaving the factory and to enable a leaner and faster decision-making process.

 

The monitoring solution includes a batch analysis mainly focused on the injection molding machines. Each produced part is analyzed along with the amount of energy consumed. Using this data, it is possible to adjust the production equipment and to enable predictive maintenance. Faurecia can determine which injection molding machine is the most efficient one depending on the parts to be produced.

 

Alerts were configurated on SIMATIC Energy Manager PRO to notify the supervisors via SMS whenever machines consume energy while not producing.

Quick wins enabled by transparency on energy data

By correctly measuring the right data of the cooling circuits (such as the temperature of the supply water), it has been possible to implement first measures towards energy reduction. Chilling units could be disconnected if they areno longer needed.

 

Another positive impact was immediately experienced by Faurecia through the analysis of the chiller's Coefficient of Performance (COP). These insights enabled the operators to control and adjust the cooling circuits depending on the demand of cooling energy for production, temperature, and external humidity. Such simple energy-saving measures imply no extra costs and carry immediate returns on investments.

 

Based on the available data, Faurecia also discovered that boilers can be switched off thanks to the solar thermal energy at certain times of the year.

A promising starting point for decarbonization

In close collaboration between Faurecia and Siemens, a series of additional KPIs have been defined to compare processes and plant performance. Subsequently, this will help to standardize such KPIs across all plants of the Interior division and others. They will be able to easily compare data between plants in the future. Transparency and automated reporting across sites will allow Faurecia to make the right decisions based on valuable data.

 

After the successful implementation, the Almussafes plant has become a leading example for further production sites. Presently Siemens service experts are implementing the Industrial Energy Management Services in other Spanish factories as part of the initial phase. A pilot project within Faurecia's Clean Mobility division is planned for the first half of 2022, with the goal to achieve comparable energy savings as in Almussafes.

 

Faurecia is currently working on implementing the solution in other countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, and United States. This initiative can be used for almost 40 countries and represents a significant step towards the fight against climate change.

Thanks to Siemens's technology and services, Faurecia now knows that it can reduce its plants' energy consumption by up to 10%.
Miguel Aránega Fernández, Equipment Care & Energy Efficiency Manager of Faurecia's Almussafes production site

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