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The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Innovation

Cool savings

Great for the climate: Paint shop employees at the Uitenhage plant are switching on a ventilator to dry the car bodies much less often than they used to, thus reducing energy consumption.

The Volkswagen brand has set a new target for reducing the environmental impact of its production facilities. By 2025, the ­production of vehicles and components is to be 45 percent more environmentally friendly than in 2010. As early as 2015, the company met the target set for the year 2018 of 25 percent less consumption of CO2, energy, water, and solvents as well as less production of waste. An example from the Uitenhage plant shows how ­Production can further reduce resource consumption, thus increasing their contribution to ­protecting the climate globally.

On their own initiative, without any investment or considerable effort, employees at the South African site have ensured savings of 790 megawatt hours per year in the paint shop alone. That is roughly equivalent to the annual consumption of 400 single-person households in Germany.

Eco-program Think Blue. Factory.

Volkswagen initiated the first holistic program for ecologically sustainable production in 2010 with Think Blue. Factory. This is now a component of the ­TRANSFORM.FACTORY+ strategy. 

How was it possible to achieve such a large reduction in energy usage, one that lowered the site’s energy costs by around €57,000? Before the galvanized and primed bodies can be processed further and painted, they have to be dried and then cooled from 185 to 30°C. This cooling process happens with the help of a ventilator – and that consumes a lot of power. Previously, it used to run all the time, but now it is automatically switched on only when the car bodies positioned on a buffer segment don’t cool down on their own within a pre-defined time period. The result is that the ventilator is needed 85 percent less often than before.

“A clean environment is important to our customers and to us. That’s why our goal is sustainable production in our ­factories. We played a small role in achieving that in Uitenhage,” says a delighted Manfred Gie, head of strategic location development and responsible for Think Blue. Factory. He’s convinced: “Our efficient vehicles have to come from efficient factories. That’s the only way we can successfully advocate for the brand’s commitment to social responsibility to the customers.