The hunt for energy savings

Trainees with an eye for the environment

Energy can be saved in the company, too. For this reason, Kolbenschmidt GmbH and KS HUAYU AluTech GmbH at the Neckarsulm plant site had four trainees instructed to qualify as EcoScouts straight away. They check the energy consumption of machines and equipment, thereby contributing toward conserving energy.

Two years ago, the four trainees Philipp Anker, Leon Winter (both industrial mechanics), Marcel Beck, and Markus Steeb (both electronics engineers) attended a workshop that the Heilbronn-Franken Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized together with Heilbronn University. The aim of the event was to sensitize young people to sustainability management and conscientious handling of resources. A project was quickly found within the company: for several months, the trainees tinkered with the idea of utilizing the thermal discharge from an ageing furnace for the piston washing machine via a heat exchanger – with great success: the calculated savings amount to approximately 250,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 115 tons of CO2 per year. Facts which also convinced the jury of the Heilbronn-Franken Chamber of Commerce and Industry: the four EcoScouts were awarded second prize at the presentation ceremony in Berlin.

The ecoscouts also encourage other employees to handle energy responsibly 

But this is no reason for the young tinkerers to rest on their laurels: “As an EcoScout, you’re always on the lookout for improvements,” explains Philipp Anker, a second-year trainee. 

Next on the agenda is to focus on optimizing the control cabinet cooling in the foundry and machining. The project participants meet once a month for mutual exchange and discussion. Otto Eggert, who is co-responsible for energy management at KS HUAYU AluTech, and Ralf Kratzmüller, Energy Manager at Kolbenschmidt, are very satisfied with the trainees. As Eggert summarizes: “The EcoScouts are important multipliers for efficiency and cost reduction. They also encourage other employees to handle energy responsibly.” Similar projects are also being implemented at additional Rheinmetall Automotive sites.