Reducing Energy Use in Aircraft Component Manufacture - Applying Best Practice in Sustainable Manufacturing 2011-01-2739
Rising energy costs and increased regulation in recent years have caused industrialists to investigate how to apply ‘energy efficiency’ to their manufacturing operations. As well as reducing operating costs, the benefits of a ‘green’ image as a market differentiator are beginning to be realised.
The literature describes the successful implementation of a variety of approaches to energy reduction, with particular focus on energy intensive industries (such as foundries) and on improvements to building services (such as lighting). However, a systematic approach to applying sustainable practices to the manufacturing processes involved in the production of high value products, such as aircraft, is noticeably absent.
This paper describes how a number of sustainable manufacturing approaches have been combined, enhanced and applied to the shop floor of a manufacturing facility in the UK responsible for the production of large component assemblies for the aerospace industry. The focus is on reducing the energy consumption of manufacturing processes, although the approaches may be equally applicable to building services.
The methodology is outlined and case studies are given demonstrating a range of savings. Energy reductions of over 70% were realised on some processes with minimum investment. Proposals for how the methodology can be enhanced further are given, including the provision of software to enable Operations Managers to more easily apply the approaches to their production area.