As part of our current focus on the drive to improve energy efficiency at tire plants, ERJ asked Jeroen Wilbers, unit head Enschede at Apollo Vredestein, for his views on current trends within the EU sector:
ERJ: What are the main factors now driving energy efficiency improvements in the EU tire industry?
JW: Across the industry, the effort is centered around reducing energy and raw materials wastage, lowering CO2 emission and conversion costs, either due to government regulations or companies moving towards sustainable production.
ERJ: What are the main challenges for EU tire industry in reducing energy costs?
JW: The challenges are different for the different categories of tires. For instance, in the passenger car tire segment, the main challenge for Apollo Vredestein and others is to continue reducing the weight of a tire for lower energy costs per tire during production.
However, the challenges for the agricultural tires are at the other end of the spectrum. Customers are asking for heavier tires which increase the energy consumption per produced tire. Going forward, it will be a challenge to produce products as per the market requirements and at the same time work on reducing energy and energy efficiency.
ERJ: Which technologies are proving most effective in helping your company to achieve its energy goals today?
JW: Apollo Vredestein has deployed multiple technologies and processes to have a real-time measurement of energy consumed, stratification into fixed and variable consumption and actions like usage of latest electronic gadgets for measurement of power quality.
Thermography and software for load management systems help in controlling the wastages and optimising the usage of available resources.
ERJ: How else has Apollo Vredestein adapted to meet its energy goals?
JW: Our rigorous processes of ‘plant utility systems audit’, inter-plant sharing of innovations and six-sigma belt projects in key consumption areas have led to systemic reduction [in energy consumption]. We have also looked at different energy-saving projects like isolating process piping, detecting leaks and repairing it, preventing idle operation of machines if there is no product production.
ERJ: Thank you