Connecting SMEs for a green economy

Plant restructuring decreases waste and energy consumption

Andreas Bauer's picture

The restructuring of a metal processing plant leads to an increase in resource productivity and resource efficiency.

A detailed process analysis led to the restructuring of a plant from the metal industry. This resulted in a reorganization of production based on the interdependencies between working systems. These measures led to an increase of resource productivity and resource efficiency.

Initial situation
Maschinen- und Apparatebau Hagen GmbH (m+a) specializes in the production of pipes and other metal pieces for aeration systems, hall heating systems and ventilation systems. This small business has only 5 employees but over 50 years of experience in the field. In the last years, the number of requirements for production processes has steadily increased. Moreover, an ever-growing proportion of clients demand individual and personalized solutions from m+a. The business faced organizational challenges due to the continuously expanding production structure. m+a decided to undergo a “PIUS-Check” (developed by the Efficiency-Agency North Rhine-Westphalia) in order to improve the efficiency of their production process and reduce their material and energy consumption. m+a was paired with an advising consultancy, Habich Unternehmensberaturng GmbH, who analysed m+a’s process chain and its value creation in detail.

Measures and benefits
m+a’s production process consists in the processing of slit strip into tubes and of metal sheets into pieces of other shapes through bending and welding processes. Until 2014, this took place in two distinct production buildings. Because of this expanded production structure, there were long transport ways between different parts of the production process. The restructuring had four main objectives: shortening turnaround times, increasing transparency and therefore decreasing delivery time, and cutting production costs.
Following the results of their “PIUS-Check”, m+a gathered all production in one building and structured the production process by types of products and interdependent production systems. The small business started using “U-shaped production lines”. This facilitates communication and cooperation between employees and shortens production and transportation times. It also removes the need to pack things in and out of boxes and the associated manipulation and searching processes. Overall, the new structure increases the transparency and resource efficiency of the production process.
Following the restructuring, the small business observed shorter production times and their waste generation sank to 6.5 tonnes of material per year. The in-process stock was reduced by approximately 50%, which represents savings of 69 tonnes of material per year and a value of 50,000 Euros. In total, resource productivity increased by 13.2% in the production chain. Another effect of the new structure was a reduction by 50% of production surface that needs to be heated, due to the separation of work in logistic and production areas. This allows m+a to save 30% of their annual heating costs; 70,000kWh of natural gas and 40,000 liters of oil fuel, for a total saved value of 28,000 Euros. The newly emptied surfaces no longer need to be heated and help optimize the logistic process.
m+a invested a total of 200,000 Euros in this set of measures. Thanks to these changes, the small business will save 80,000 Euros every year.
The PIUS-Check was subsidized by the “Resource efficiency consulting in North Rhine-Westphalia” program.

Overview of savings
Material: 6.5 tonnes/year
Energy (natural gas): 70,000 kWh/year
Energy (oil fuel): 40,000 liters/year

Project theme:
The restructuring of a metal processing plant leads to an increase in resource productivity and resource efficiency.

Project implementation:
Maschinen und Apparatebau Hagen GmbH
Langscheider Straße 41
58339 Breckerfeld


c/o Effizienz-Agentur NRW
Henning H. Sittel
Tel. 0203 378 79 51

Green Eco Net
c/o Ecologic-Institut gGmbH
Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers
Tel. 030 86880 272

Source in german: Effizienz Agentur NRW

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
High capital intensive investment (i.e. above €30,000)