Stellantis: Implementing the 8 Steps to Energy Excellence Plant Shutdown Procedure

Overview

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles transitioned to Stellantis in 2021, the corporate energy groups’ focus and approach to energy efficiency transitioned as well. Global realignments were made across the Stellantis enterprise that resulted in an elevated commitment to energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, and non-production curtailment. One of the first Stellantis energy best practices deployed across North America was the 8 steps to Energy Excellence Plant Shutdown procedure (Excellent Plant Shutdown). This strategy established new energy shutdown and curtailment targets across Assembly and Stamping/Powertrain operations. The goal of implementing the new Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure was to maximize plant energy curtailment during all non-production intervals, including those when a shutdown was not anticipated.

Parts shortages across the automotive industry supply chain occasionally resulted in unplanned plant shutdowns, sometimes lasting weeks at a time. Stellantis recognized the need for a systematic approach to apply across varying periods of non-production (planned/unplanned, varied duration, etc.) and the Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure became a key tool for the company’s long-term energy efficiency plans and best practices.

Policies

The Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure is intended to produce a more linear relationship between production levels and energy use with a final goal of directly matching energy use to production 100% of the time. Recognizing that it will take time to achieve the 100% energy reduction goal across all facilities, interim goals were established in 2021—aiming for 82% Assembly and 85% Stamping/Powertrain energy shutdown goals. As part of the continuous improvement cycle, the 90% curtailment achieved in 2021 by one global plant across an entire month of shutdown has already led to a new global curtailment goal for plants once the 82%/85% targets have been attained. In addition, new goals for energy consumption and spending were reset to achieve a 20% reduction from the original start of the year forecasts. 

Process

The Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure, shown in Figure 1, is an 8-step systematic approach and continuous process cycle to improve energy use during shutdowns at the equipment level. The following formal steps have been employed to implement the Excellent Plant Shutdown methodology:

  • Step 1 - Management procedure
  • Step 2 - Set up measurement system and targets
  • Step 3 - Development of the main equipment list and area personnel responsibilities
  • Step 4 - Creation of formal shutoff and startup procedures
  • Step 5 - Apply the Excellent Shutdown Procedure
  • Step 6 - (Initial) Technical audits and reviews to confirm procedure quality/completeness
  • Step 7 - (Ongoing) Process audits to ensure targets are being achieved
  • Step 8 - KPI reporting

The global Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure was quickly deployed across the North American region. It provided a standardized process for identifying, tracking, and auditing plant shutdown performance at the department level as well as for the different durations of non-production inactivity. Different levels of equipment shutdown were identified for each department for specific periods of idled operations including 4-12 hours, 12-24 hours, and >24 hours of non-production. Each department developed a primary equipment shutdown list along with the team or individual responsible for the execution. Each piece of equipment or system on a given list was also supported with a specifically developed shutdown and startup procedure. As initial shutdowns were performed, the equipment/system shutdown list was revised to reflect updates needed as lessons were learned. Audits were regularly performed to confirm actions taken (or not) and to advise where further improvements were possible until targets were met. Plants held weekly meetings to review their results and department leads were rotated in to reduce meeting burdens.

The first plants to implement the Excellent Plant Shutdown process were the five plants that are currently involved in a behavioral Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program that was made available by a local utility, DTE Energy. The SEM program supports and is in alignment with Stellantis’ existing ISO 50001 programs. The timeline for the deployment included:

  • Kick-off of Excellent Plant Shutdown - 7/16/21
  • Complete Steps 1 and 2 of the procedure - due 7/30/21
  • Complete Steps 3 and 4 of the procedure during weekly SEM meetings - due 8/27/21
  • Concurrently work with Corporate Energy/SEM/Plant to complete Steps 5-8 - due 8/27/21
  • Report out success - Labor Day Weekend - 9/6/21

The new shutdown procedures at these plants are not only producing energy and cost savings at the plant level, they are also delivering additional benefits in the form of financial incentives that were identified/leveraged because of the shutdown procedures. In 2020 a total of approximately 2.5 million kWh of electricity reduction, 57,663 MMBtu of natural gas savings, and $283,000 in incentives were awarded between two manufacturing plants (Figure 2). In 2021, a total of approximately 6.9 million kWh of electricity reduction, 11.5 million kWh equivalent of natural gas savings, and $559,000 in incentives were achieved across five manufacturing plants and one non-manufacturing facility (Figure 3).

Measuring Success

The goal of implementing the new Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure was to maximize plant energy curtailment during all nonproduction intervals, including those when a shutdown was not anticipated. Interim shutdown targets were based on duration periods and included: a 30% shutdown target for 4-12 hours, a 50% shutdown target for 12-24 hours, and 82/85% shutdown for >24 hours.

The Excellent Plant Shutdown strategy was initially deployed across five SEM program plants in July 2021. The short-term (2 Month) initial results were based on the shutdown measures that were implemented and the curtailment results that were achieved during the September 2021 Labor Day Holiday shutdown as compared to the shutdown levels achieved during the May 2021 Memorial Day Holiday. The procedures were further developed and refined over six months. Additionally, results were obtained during the December 2021 Holiday shutdown and compared to the shutdown levels during the May 2021 Memorial Day Holiday across the five SEM program plants in the US.

Outcomes

Initial results compared energy demand reductions across the five plants between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend holiday shutdown periods. The plants were able to shed load during shutdowns by 4 MW and 6.4%. The Excellent Plant Shutdown procedures were refined over the following six months, and the plants reported additional load shed of 17 MW and 28%. This demonstrates the opportunity for improvement as plants follow consistent procedures and implement SEM best practices over time. This level of improvement also pushed the plants closer to the 82% Curtailment target for Assembly plants and 85% for Stamping/Powertrain plants.

Overall, the non-production shutdown curtailment goals for the North American region, which were established in 2021, achieved the following initial results:

  • 10% average curtailment improvement across all U.S. manufacturing plants (2021 vs 2019/2020; not including the extended Covid-19 shutdown period of March 16 through May 31, 2020).
  • 75-81% holiday curtailment was achieved by 8 U.S. plants.
  • >88% holiday curtailment achieved by 2 Mexican Assembly and 2 Mexican Powertrain plants.
  • 90% curtailment was achieved by one global plant during an extended (i.e., monthly) shutdown.

Another significant impact of the Excellent Plant Shutdown procedure implementation is increased awareness of equipment energy use during varying production modes. Promoting daily energy curtailment and increasing plant floor knowledge of energy loads has improved overall awareness of consumption during production periods as well as during shutdowns. In the past, plants relied on static measurements of energy to indicate energy use impacts at the equipment level. Evaluating real-time data has led many plants to analyze production level energy loads and find opportunities to optimize these loads. The program has elevated the capabilities of the plants to better understand their energy consumption patterns and to develop the specialized skills to manage and utilize their energy resources in ways that reduce consumption, eliminate waste, and save money. These efforts will also contribute to achieving Stellantis’ corporate GHG reduction targets.