Prices for resources such as raw materials, energy and human resources are increasing constantly due to resource scarcity and the growing demand in production technology and other industrial sectors. This trend will continue in the future decades: according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), prices for coal and gas will almost double until the year 2035.
This circumstance obliges companies as well as institutions such as the SENAI network likewise to face these changes with the development of efficient production processes using approved methods from production technology and quality management. Therefore, SENAI established a strategic partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT, Germany, to carry out joint projects in Brazilian companies to push the thought of energy and resource efficiency into the local industry.
Resource efficient production in Germany
The need of energy as well as resource efficiency in production has already been addressed over the past years in companies, research and politics all over Germany. Companies strive to reduce costs, research aims at relieving the worldwide resource demand to save limited resources, and politics provide the necessary framework including incentive systems. Those circumstances can be perfectly transferred to the structure in Brazil to support manufacturing companies and research simultaneously.
SENAI pursues the adaption of a model to conduct applied research and provides services such as the application of those results in projects for the industry. In this context, on the one hand the companies’ processes and material as well as energy flows can be reduced and on the other hand ideas for new research activities can be found in the industrial environment.
The conjoint project of SENAI and the Fraunhofer IPT and its goals are threefold:
- Concept for setup of technology centers
- Know-how transfer
- Pilot project
In the course of the project, several SENAI institutions were visited and core competencies identified. A comparison with the needs of companies, especially those in Brazil, which were extracted from discussions with experts, led to a concept how to improve SENAI’s internal collaboration to combine individual competencies.
The know-how transfer was ensured by several seminars regarding approved as well as innovative methods of quality management for the analysis of processes and technological competencies to develop measures for improvement. Those seminars were conducted at ITA, São José dos Campos, SP and Aachen, Germany.
The pilot project was carried out at Renault do Brasil in São José dos Pinhais, PR. It embraced the analysis of several production lines using an advanced method based on value stream mapping extended by energy and resources. Subsequently, the biggest consumers were chosen and process information as well as load profiles were gathered, which led to a deeper analysis of potentials for technical improvements and recommended courses of actions for their realization. Additionally, further measures regarding the overall production site’s efficiency were considered and validated in a technical and economic feasibility study.
The main goals of the project include the transmission of knowledge about energy and resource efficiency and suitable, structured and innovative methods to visualize, analyze and improve technical and organizational processes on the shop floor in the manufacturing industry. Furthermore, the project was structured to enable SENAI to carry out consulting services in Brazil by using the transferred methods and approaches by itself. The dedicated "learning by doing"-approach ensures a stand-alone execution of projects in the field of resource and energy efficiency in the Brazilian industry.