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Subaru Plant EArns Governor's Award
Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. receives Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence
By: Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.
In 2012, SIA became the first US auto manufacturer to receive ISO 50001 certification for its robust Energy Management System. Since then, a strong focus on energy reduction has led to the implementation of several energy-saving projects throughout the plant. In 2013, SIA’s paint shop identified a production process that needed improvement. The plant’s Paint Main Mix Team collaborated with Paint Maintenance Associates to enact energy savings from the agitators on paint totes. With Subaru’s autobody paint, the material arrives in 150-400 gallon totes and the paint is required to be agitated to maintain quality. Traditionally, these agitators ran 24 hours per day, seven days per week using more compressed air than any other system in the shop. After analyzing the system, Paint Associates invented a new agitator locking collar and re-routed air supply lines, which allowed the agitators to be automatically switched off during non-production times while maintaining quality. As a result of this innovative project, SIA’s Paint Shop reduced their annual energy consumption by 2.4%, resulting in a 4,637,175 KWh annual reduction. In addition, reducing the runtime of the agitators increased the lifespan of the machinery, reducing maintenance frequency and costs by $15,244 per year.
Beyond this, when Paint Associates had to perform agitator connections, the process contained safety risks associated with fingers being pinched in the agitator. However, with the invention of the new agitator locking collar, the safety risks were removed from the process. Ultimately, as a result of the collaboration and innovation of Paint Main Mix and Maintenance teams, they were able to successfully develop and implement a project which resulted in substantial energy savings, reduced costs, and improved worker safety.
In an awards ceremony held in Indianapolis on Wednesday, representatives from SIA accepted the Governor’s Award on behalf of the Associates at the Lafayette Subaru plant. This is the third time SIA has been honored with the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. Past awards include the 2003 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in Recycling and Reuse and the 2006 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for Five Years of Continuous Improvement.