In­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity re­quires a big­ger plant. A big­ger plant re­quires more en­ergy. Or does it?

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS -

It’s no se­cret that to com­pete on the world stage, New Zealand busi­nesses need to be more pro­duc­tive. Pro­duc­tiv­ity is of­ten linked to in­vest­ment in new tech­nol­ogy and a big­ger plant, but in­creas­ingly New Zealand busi­nesses are re­al­is­ing that it can also come from im­proved en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. Do­min­ion Salt is one New Zealand company that is get­ting more out of what they put in, and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency has been key to their suc­cess. As a re­sult of business growth and in­creased de­mand, the company looked to ex­pand. They un­der­took a ma­jor plant up­grade of their Mt Maun­ganui site, in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity at the plant by 63% to a po­ten­tial 76,000 tonnes of salt a year. In­stead of sim­ply en­larg­ing the fa­cil­ity and in­stalling the ex­tra heat­ing re­quired, Do­min­ion Salt put the prin­ci­ple of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency at the heart of the so­lu­tion. They com­mis­sioned en­gi­neers Aure­con to come up with an in­no­va­tive way to re­cover waste heat and put it back into the pro­duc­tion process. The re­sult was a multi-award-win­ning project which im­proved over­all en­ergy ef­fi­ciency by 48%, re­duced nat­u­ral gas con­sump­tion per tonne of salt by 33% and cut CO emis­sions by more than

2 3,000 tonnes per year. En­ergy sav­ings started at $500,000 a year and are ex­pected to grow to $900,000 a year once the site hits full ca­pac­ity. Along­side the bot­tom-line ben­e­fit of lower en­ergy bills, im­proved en­ergy ef­fi­ciency has also raised their pro­file – both of which are help­ing Do­min­ion Salt to com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally, with grow­ing de­mand from cus­tomers in 15 coun­tries across Asia and South Amer­ica.

The bot­tom-line ben­e­fits are help­ing Do­min­ion Salt to com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally, with grow­ing de­mand from cus­tomers in 15 coun­tries across Asia and South Amer­ica.

Many other New Zealand busi­nesses could be get­ting th­ese re­sults. It’s es­ti­mated that New Zealand firms could save a to­tal of $1.6 bil­lion in costs ev­ery year through en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, thanks to tech­nol­ogy up­grades and pro­ces­sim­prove­ment. Along­side those cost sav­ings comes im­proved com­pet­i­tive­ness, greater pro­duc­tiv­ity, CO mit­i­ga­tion, and

2 bet­ter health and safety. A re­cent Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion re­port found not only is our pro­duc­tiv­ity low com­pared to our main trad­ing part­ners, but pro­duc­tiv­ity growth has been slow since 2000, com­pared to other OECD economies. For­tu­nately, it is an is­sue that business lead­ers have on their radar. Pro­duc­tiv­ity rates as the third high­est pri­or­ity for in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial busi­nesses (after em­ployee safety and longevity), ac­cord­ing to EECA’s Business Re­search Mon­i­tor (De­cem­ber 2013). Re­search by Statis­tics New Zealand in­di­cates that more New Zealand busi­nesses are turn­ing to en­ergy ef­fi­ciency as a way of im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. The re­search found that from 2009 to 2012, eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in the in­dus­trial and trade sec­tors in­creased by more than 6%, while en­ergy con­sump­tion grew by only 3%. In other words, com­pa­nies in man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­struc­tion and trans­porta­tion are get­ting more out of the en­ergy they use. The re­port also showed that the pro­por­tion of busi­nesses with en­ergy man­age­ment ini­tia­tives has grown too - in­di­cat­ing more business lead­ers are turn­ing on to en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. If you are think­ing about kick-start­ing your business’s per­for­mance and pro­duc­tiv­ity, find out how en­ergy ef­fi­ciency can align with your business goals, and de­liver much more than you ex­pect.

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