Manufacturing’s impressive gains in energy efficiency often come via new processes and products that do not necessarily attract major headlines (or Presidential visits), but still represent progress the U.S. economy must make toward energy savings and global competitiveness.

Take, for example, this advance as reported by The Environmental Leader, “GM Rolling out GE Efficiency Program at 20 Plants“:

A GE energy efficiency program with a less than six-month payback is being implemented at 20 General Motors plants, the two companies have announced.

GM has adapted GE’s Proficy Cimplicity software to tie the use of lights to the schedule of conveyers. The manufacturer then discovered other aspects of consumption that could also be tied to conveyer operations, including air supply houses, compressed air generators, water and paint shop ovens.

“Everything in a vehicle assembly plant is tied to the conveyor,” said Mike Durak, General Motors, Global Information Technology Manager. “A hidden benefit was that once we scheduled the conveyor we had a good view into what the plant was doing, so we were able to schedule the on and off of big energy consumers in the plant.”

Less than a six-month payback! And GM adapted the technology because it was a good business decision, one that saves it money.

And let’s extend a thanks to the programmers, too. Energy efficiency sometimes requires new equipment, sometimes new software. Impressive in either case.

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