Technology NewsGlass production has become more energy efficient - Computerworld

Glass production has become more energy efficient – Computerworld

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The Austrian Stoelzle Glass Group reduced its energy consumption with Siemens solutions.

The Austrian Stoelzle Glass Group produces 3.8 billion glass products every year. While previously only 10 percent of the company’s costs were energy expenses, this ratio increased to 30 percent, so there was no question of making their production more efficient.

Another goal of the glass factory, which has a history of more than 200 years, is to reduce its current carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent and its energy consumption by 20 percent by 2030. To increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions, the company found the right industrial partner in Siemens.


Recognition, optimization, maintenance

In the glass factory with a high energy demand, they quickly realized that the optimization of the entire system would be necessary in order to achieve their goals, and they looked for a solution that would simultaneously provide an opportunity for monitoring and the exploration of ideal operating options. Although the Stoelzle Group’s factories already had measuring points, they were located sporadically in the factory area and there was no connection between them, which is why further data summarization work was necessary to analyze the results. It was also a problem that they did not define uniform indicators (KPIs) along which production performance could be measured, as well as goals related to emission parameters.

Thus, at the beginning of 2020, when Stoelzle Glass approached the Siemens experts for the first time, they entered the project with a practically clean slate. Siemens already provided practical support in the definition of KPIs, and the breakthrough was the installation of the Simatic Energy Manager PRO system. This provided an opportunity for the production processes to become transparent at all levels, and the possibilities for reducing emissions to be identified based on the measurement results.

In addition to increasing efficiency, real, reliable data was also needed due to compliance with European Union legislation. The energy management system of Siemens Simatic EnMPRO is also suitable for the task because it can manage the data of all the factories of the entire company group together, starting from the production lines to the plant units. Thanks to this, they can prepare company-level energy balances, which help to highlight where and to what extent interventions are still needed.

Emission reduction for a cleaner future

In addition to the fact that energy consumption became transparent with the introduction of the system, a SiGREEN application helps determine the true carbon footprint of manufactured products. In this way, detailed release protocols can be prepared, on the basis of which further development directions can be determined even for the entire company group.


Results

Energy systems were first introduced in 2021 at the Köflach site, which was expanded with 70 new gas, electricity, compressed air and water metering points, and into which 1,800 data points from the process and production systems were integrated. Already the first steps brought clearly visible results: communal water use was reduced by 50 percent and natural gas use by 20 percent in the plant thanks to the measurements and the possibility of intervention. Based on experience, by the end of 2022, all Stoelzle Glass plants in Europe will have been equipped with the necessary measuring points and connection network, and in 2023, the American factory is planned to be equipped in order to realize the global transition to a greener and more efficient production.

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