Have you ever been into a tyre manufacturing plant? There’s steam and heat and all kinds of processes that require enormous amounts of energy from the use of coal and electricity. While a vitally important function of the R&D departments of tyre manufacturers revolves around the development of eco-friendly tyres by, for example, reducing friction and thereby increasing fuel efficiency, the contribution to ensuring environmental sustainability also takes place at the point of manufacture.
It is thus that FleetWatch lifts its hat to Continental Tyre South Africa whose focus on sustainability and reducing its energy consumption was recently recognised by the South African Energy Efficiency (SAEE) Confederation, which honoured the local tyre manufacturer with the Industrial Corporate Project of the Year award for 2020.
The award recognises innovative industrial energy management projects and outstanding contributions to the energy industry. Continental received the award for a heat recovery project that saved 4.5 million kWh of energy and over R1-million in 2019 – and continues to benefit operating efficiencies and reduce the plant’s environmental impact.
“Being recognised for the monumental efforts we have put in to reduce our electricity and coal consumption is both humbling and motivating,” says Continental Tyre South Africa’s General Manager: Manufacturing, JJ Dowling. “Considering the electricity supply challenges South Africa faces, as well as the need for us to be more environmentally sustainable, every action we take to reduce our energy consumption is critical.
“There is no other way for us to be sustainable than being more responsible and mindful in our daily activities and introducing measures that reduce our impact on the environment,” adds Dowling. “At Continental Tyre South Africa, we have a passionate and committed team that takes a strategic and hands-on approach towards finding innovative solutions to make our plant more efficient. This helps reduce our reliance on coal and electricity as energy sources, while also having a positive impact on operating costs.”
According to Ramoabi Moeng, CTSA’s Head of Manufacturing Technology Engineering, several heat recovery projects have been implemented over the years that ultimately made this latest initiative possible.
“Our Sustainable Technology & Infrastructure Department, along with project leader Attie Els, investigated a means of optimising the steam and condensate system that is essential for our tyre manufacturing operations.
“Steam from the clean condensate system, which was previously dumped and wasted as an energy source, was re-routed and reused,” Moeng explains. “This allowed us to achieve a saving of 4.5 million kWh of energy and over R1-million per annum.”
Continental Tyre SA’s energy-saving efforts were further recognised in being shortlisted in the Industrial Corporate Company of the Year category. In the last five years, the company has reduced its electricity consumption by 41.3-percent and, in the same period, cut its coal consumption by 63.7-percent. By fully implementing ISO 50001:2011 guidelines since 2016, CTSA has improved its overall energy efficiency by a remarkable 27.5-percent.
Along with being awarded the Industrial Corporate Project of the Year and shortlisting for the Industrial Corporate Company of the Year category, CTSA employee, Heath Thornborrow, was nominated for the SAEE Young Professional of the Year award for his contributions to reducing the company’s energy consumption over the last three years.
Through various heat recovery and leakage reduction and optimisation initiatives, Thornborrow has helped Continental Tyre South Africa save more than 6-million kWh of energy and over R1.5-million in operating costs.
FleetWatch welcomes any move that contributes to environmental sustainability and while we may be aware of such moves when choosing ‘eco-friendly’ tyres to fit on the rigs, it’s good to know that the ‘back-room’ guys are also playing their part. We must live not only for today but also for tomorrow. Well done and congrats.