From apprentice to energy scout in Germany

At all our mills worldwide, we’re on a continuous journey to reduce waste and maximise the use of materials and resources. These ‘eco-effective’ operations are essential to accelerate the transition to the biobased, circular economy our planet demands.  

At Ehingen mill, four apprentices took this eco-effective mission to heart. They set out to determine how much compressed air was leaking inside the mill and offer solutions that would promote efficiency and consequently, reduce the mill’s energy use. They conducted this research while social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, no easy feat.   

Understanding the value of compressed air  

The mill uses compressed air for various purposes from moving products and operating pneumatic tools to pumping liquids. Compressed air is a clean, reliable, accessible resource which is often undervalued per unit compared to its other utility counterparts such as water, gas and electricity. 

Understanding not only the financial value per unit of wasted air but the financial impact of a less efficient system requires a step-change in the perception of compressed air from being ‘free’ to just as valuable as other utilities.  

More eco-effective use

Using "sound" cameras, the apprentices were able to identify areas to optimise the compressed air and calculated potential energy savings of as much as €83,600 a year. Even more, this optimisation would further reduce Ehingen mill’s carbon footprint.  

With this analysis in hand, management is working on solutions to implement their recommendations and make Ehingen even more eco-effective.  

This initiative shows the important contributions that apprentices make to our business and affirms their value in our global operations.

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