Green Manufacturing Practices at ELGi
Optimizing energy usage in manufacturing, increasing the usage of renewable and alternate energy sources, and implementing a continuous energy savings improvement plan is the right approach for a greener tomorrow: Anvar Jay Varadaraj
In the manufacturing sector, implementation of green manufacturing practices is much more than compliance. It also brings about lasting benefits in terms of sustainability, profitability, and effectiveness in the businesses. Demanding the right seriousness, open-mindedness and leadership towards green manufacturing drives are among the top priorities among manufacturers worldwide, as every team works to consume less and producing more.
It is the responsibility of manufacturers to reduce carbon emissions in all their processes, avoid wastage of any kind, and build a green enterprise that does more and more with less inputs, based on continuous learning and corrective actions. Such persistent focus has yielded positive results, including financial benefits, for many global manufacturers.
Elgi has constantly endeavoured to do more with less, and its sustained efforts have resulted in reduction of its manufacturing carbon footprint from 1,600 kg of CO2 per million of sale (INR) to 1,200 kg of CO2 per million of sale (INR) from 2014 to 2018. At ELGi, windmills generate 15 percent of the total energy in the plant that adds up to 20 lakh units of electricity every year. The windmills are maintained by an in-house team with utmost care.
Every resource counts, and cannot be wasted. Each concerted effort to save resources such as water, wood, fuel or electricity from being wasted has a profound impact on the overall business efficiency of the organization, and makes it greener. ELGi recycles its waste in every form, into something of value that enriches other industries and communities. ELGi recycles its foundry wastes and by converting it to 40,000 solid construction bricks per year. About 2,000 litres of hydraulic oil used in ELGi’s CNC machines and about 1,000 kg of paint powder are recycled. 60,000 Litres of recycled water from ELGi’s manufacturing processes are used to water the gardens. The company also recycles its used batteries and puts them into use in school laboratories in the region. The company plants trees in its campuses, implemented paperless offices and has also put in place a comprehensive energy management system. Natural light illuminates most of its campuses, cutting power consumption further.
Globally, 70 percent of all fossil fuels are used in industrial operations alone. This mindboggling number would make it obvious that it is critical for all industries to focus on using the maximum number of renewable energy sources and materials in their manufacturing processes. It is not just enough to go green during the manufacturing processes. The philosophy should extend well into the design and manufacture of highly energy efficient products. Therefore, it is crucial to roll out highly energy efficient products from the factories that consume lesser energy during their entire lifecycle. ELGi has obtained ISO 14024:1999 green label product certification for its EG and EN series of compressors that are green in both their manufacturing, as well as performance.
Measuring each and every energy and material input is important for a green enterprise. Implementing effective energy management systems will help bring visibility to every unit of power consumed, and help optimise it. Every appliance, be it motors, fans, lights, transformers or office air conditioners, should be monitored, and optimized to continuously reduce energy consumption. All of ELGi’s manufacturing processes are ISO 50001:2011 certified for its stringent energy management systems. ELGi has reduced its power to sale ratio from 1.15 percent to as little as 0.97 percent last year. The facilities have also begun to implement agile Internet of Things (IoT) projects to cut energy costs further. ELGi has set energy baseline and energy performance indicators at every level of its manufacturing processes. Plans are now on way to set up rooftop solar energy panels that produce up to 100 kW of power.
Optimizing energy usage in manufacturing, increasing the usage of renewables and alternate energy sources, and implementing a continuous energy savings improvement plan is the right approach for a greener tomorrow. At ELGi, the leadership has constantly pushed for better, greener practices in all that the company does.