The VW plant in Braunschweig employs nearly 5,700 staff and manufactures axles, steering units, plastic parts, vehicle components and tools and machines The plant produces products for the brands of the Volkswagen group as well as for external customers.
Focus on energy savings
The optimisation of technology and improvement of the basic data are at the forefront of environmental protection at the Braunschweig location. Today protecting resources is one of the most important themes. In this area, the Braunschweig plant concentrates on energy savings. A series of measures has been implemented to do this. Energy supervisors ensure that programmes for saving energy are conducted both in production areas and in offices. The programme is monitored by inspections and energy audits. Search for compressed air leakages is another well-established measure. To save gas consumption the pre-heating temperatures of technical heat has been reduced. With the "red card for energy wasters", employees document energy supply for the lighting of unused rooms or machines that have not been switched off at weekends and production-free periods.
The historical workshop of the Braunschweig Volkswagen plant is part of Volkswagen's historical communication programme. Over 30 current and former plant employees supervise the project which presents the plant history and keeps it alive. The first historical exhibits were displayed in summer 2003 during an open day. Today there are plaques at various locations in the plant which provide information to plant employees and visitors about important places and events. On the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, the apprentices in the Braunschweig mounted additional memorial plaques. They give information on the oldest building of the plant site, the "Alte Verwaltung" (old administration building) and the history of Hall 3 where a labour camp was sited from 1942-1945.
As part of the "Think Blue.Factory." initiative, the Braunschweig plant showcased its new and improved hall lighting at the beginning of March this year. This new lighting system saves around 6000 megawatt hours of energy every year. In addition to that measure, the site's supply temperature for technical heat has also been reduced, resulting in an annual energy saving of 1600 megawatt hours. The paint and colour waste that accumulates has been reduced thanks to a new paint system that features new paint containers. The new system saves 45 tonnes of paint and colour waste a year. The biggest saving at Braunschweig is set to be achieved with the construction of a new combined heat and power plant, which will reduce the plant's CO2 output by 30,000 tonnes a year. Construction is expected to be finished by the end of 2013.
At the Braunschweig plant, the halls and office areas are supplied with ambient air via 24 large fans. The systems for providing fresh air and extracting stale air form part of the equipment at the plant that runs constantly; this equipment was targeted under measures to reduce energy. The pilot project on the first system revealed that considerable energy savings could be made by inserting a frequency converter. The frequency converter is part of the control system and adjusts the speed of the fan motor to ensure the air quality always meets the relevant requirements. "It's like a dimmer switch that you use to regulate lighting", explains Energy Officer Paul-Gerhard Römermann. "This project is helping to cut down on the amount of energy we use, and therefore reduce CO2 levels. Each fan converted saves 300 megawatt hours every year, which is the same as the energy required by a hundred four-person households." The plan was then to convert the remaining fans to an energy-optimised form of operation.
The work was awarded to Volkswagen Coaching and completed with the help of a total of 60 trainees. "For us, it doesn't get any better than this. The commission offers a practical benefit for the plant, while the trainees really get to grips with the 'Think Blue.Factory.' programme", says trainee Sascha Beaury. "The project forms part of the final practical examination and is a mark of trust in the trainees", adds Sascha's colleague, Carsten Obst. Meanwhile, a total of 7200 megawatt hours of electrical energy are being saved each year, which equates to an annual CO2 reduction of 3838 tonnes.