Energy Efficiency Hunt Furthers Continuous Improvement in Energy Performance for Volvo Trucks

By Bruce Lung on Jun 23, 2015

This past week, members of the Volvo Group Energy Network North America working with Bremer Energy Consulting Services, Inc., conducted an Energy Treasure Hunt at the 1.5 million square foot Volvo Group Trucks engine and transmission plant in Hagerstown, MD. Based on previous success at the Volvo Construction Equipment plant in Shippensburg, PA, the Hagerstown plant decided to implement the treasure hunt to uncover energy efficiency opportunities and broaden employee engagement in the plant’s energy management model.  

Working with a cross-functional team of employees and stakeholders, Volvo spent three days evaluating the entire plant for energy efficiency opportunities. The team was divided into three groups that each evaluated different areas of the plant from cross-cutting systems and utilities to process equipment. Previous energy efficiency achievements were reviewed and interviews were conducted with employees throughout the plant. 

Due to Volvo Group’ longstanding commitment to energy efficient manufacturing, finding opportunities during the Treasure Hunt was challenging. Many operational measures that energy treasure hunts can identify had been implemented and standard operating practices, such as compressed air leak detection and repair, occurred regularly. In addition, the plant had implemented many capital-intensive projects including waste heat recovery, dynamometer power recovery, and retrofitting of pneumatic applications with mechanical or electrical mechanisms that were just as effective and the compressed-air driven tools they replaced.

“Our passion for energy efficiency at the Hagerstown plant and across our enterprise is a continuous process and we never stop searching for opportunities to improve energy performance. We believe in working with managers, maintenance, process, and administrative staffs to identify and implement energy-saving projects together,” according to Mark Pannell, Environmental Manager for Volvo Group Trucks.  “In fact, we view this Treasure Hunt as an additional tool to uncover opportunities and we plan to share the lessons learned from this event with our other plants,” states Bert Hill, Manager of Health, Safety and Environment for Volvo Group North America.

One significant energy-saving project is to retrofit the Hagerstown plant’s grinders with state-of-the art grinding machines. The plant is replacing 13 existing units with just 3 new machines that are not only more energy efficient, but that can process more crankshafts per day than all of the older machines. This project will cut the plant grinders’ energy use by more than 50% while improving output with better quality, making it a key part of the company’s strategy to meet growing demand. 

Learn more about Volvo's successes in energy efficiency in the Better Buildings Solution Center.