PUNE: Volkswagen Pune Plant, one of the 27 Volkswagen automotive manufacturing facilities worldwide, follows the ‘Think Blue. Factory.’ initiative to achieve environment-friendly manufacturing. Through this initiative, Volkswagen aims at reducing the impact of its manufacturing process on the environment by 25% per car globally through its participating facilities. While the programme was adopted by Volkswagen globally in 2011, Volkswagen Pune Plant has been working towards the goals since 2012. The impact on environment through manufacturing processes is measured across five key areas of ‘Energy Consumption’, ‘CO2 Emissions’, ‘Water Consumption’, ‘Waste Generation’ and ‘VOC Emissions’.
Starting from 2012, Volkswagen Pune Plant has undertaken a number of projects in the direction of environment-friendly manufacturing and successfully implemented them to record remarkable results. Three years into the programme, the plant has already surpassed the set target in the area of ‘Waste Generation’ and is close to achieving its targets in the areas of ‘CO2 Emissions’ and ‘Energy Consumption’. Rounding off the fruitful results of Volkswagen India was the consistent progress shown in the area of ‘Water Consumption’.
Amongst the five key measurable areas, maximum reduction has been achieved in the area of ‘Waste Generation’. As compared to the base value of 2011, the Volkswagen Pune Plant has been able to reduce specific ‘Waste Generation’ by 30.5% (8.1 kg/car in 2011 reduced to 5.63 kg/car at the end of 2014). The main measure contributing to this achievement was the recycling of paint sludge. This reduction was achieved by cutting down the moisture content from paint sludge through centrifuge and further recycling the paint sludge to produce primer as a by-product.
Volkswagen Pune Plant has closed in on the targets of two more key areas of ‘CO2 Emissions’ and ‘Energy Consumption’ by the end of 2014. With specific reduction of 21.2% and 20.6% in specific values respectively, the targets are around the corner and will be achieved well within the defined time frame of 2018. Maximum saving in ‘Energy Consumption’ and hence also in ‘CO2 Emissions’ has come through the optimization of operation of ‘Air Supply Unit’ in the Paint Shop where huge reduction in CNG consumption has been achieved.
The annual saving through this translates to approximately 2,943 MWh/a out of the total 3,741 MWh/a saving. The other projects contributing to this total saving include optimization of operation of utility equipment, installation of ‘High Speed, Low Volume’ (HSLV) fans, optimization of lighting equipment and optimization of ventilation. The positive side of all the activities undertaken at the plant is that none of the activities have hampered the working conditions for the employees. In fact, activities like installation of HSLV fans have improved the working conditions on the shop floor.
‘Water Consumption’: Inspiring results recorded
A reduction of 14.4% has been achieved by Volkswagen Pune Plant in the area of specific ‘Water Consumption’. The major contributors to this saving are through modifications made at the shower test area in Assembly and optimizing the process PDI car wash. Adding to these is the saving achieved through activities undertaken in 2013 that have yielded results on a longer term in 2014.
‘VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions’: The Way Forward
The fifth defined area under ‘Think Blue. Factory.’ initiative is that of ‘VOC Emissions’ which are mainly derived from the Paint Shop. Various measures are being studied for reducing ‘VOC Emissions’ and the best practices will be implemented in the coming years. Mr. Andreas Lauenroth, Executive Director – Technical, Volkswagen India Private Limited, and Head of Volkswagen Plant in Chakan said satisfied with the latest results, “At Volkswagen Pune Plant, ‘Think Blue. Factory.’”has become a part of our lifestyle.
Within three years of adopting the programme, we have achieved a 17.3% reduction per car in the impact of manufacturing processes on the environment. We are well on track to accomplish our set target by 2018 to lower the environmental impact of our production processes.” He further added, “At Volkswagen, we have a commitment towards environment just like we have towards engineering, innovation, quality and safety. We will continue striving hard towards this and not only reach our goals but will go on to surpass them.”
‘Think Blue’ is more than just a concept or strategy. It is a holistic approach adopted by Volkswagen that embodies the goal of creating environmentally friendly products and solutions, encouraging more Eco-conscious behavior and contributing to a sustainable future. It’s about being more responsible on the road and more environmentally conscious – not just in our cars, but everywhere, every day.
‘Think Blue. Factory.’ is an addition to the Volkswagen ‘Think Blue.’ portfolio including key measures in the area of vehicle production. The program, which is concerned with efficiency improvements in production and the expansion of environmentally aware energy supplies, addresses all employees at the plants.