Over the past year, Panasonic has also focused on its “Eco Ideas for Manufacturing.” The company has set targets to reduce its CO2 emissions in its production activities by 300,000 tons on a global basis by FY 2010, in comparison to the FY 2007 level.
The company already reduced total CO2 emissions by 510,000 tons by the end of FY 2009. Although production cuts due to demand contraction partly helped, the reduction was achieved mainly through its efforts in increasing production efficiency in the manufacturing process, according to the company.
Most recently, Panasonic has developed what it says is a unique simulation technology that lets each factory identify power-saving solutions to reduce CO2 emissions in manufacturing.
The technology allows users to evaluate factory processes that use energy-consuming manufacturing or power supply equipment and calculate efficient operating conditions for using air-conditioning equipment, high pressure air, typically used in clean rooms, and drying/baking furnaces. Power-saving solutions are tailored to each factory.
Panasonic says the simulator finds optimal operating conditions for the furnace by predicting drying conditions – based on estimated internal temperatures, humidity and air currents of the furnace that are invisible from outside – and also the final drying quality characteristics.
The company says that analysis by the conventional air-conditioning simulators had poor temperature accuracy of ±2°C, meaning they could not accurately assess power saving for clean rooms that require analytical accuracy of under ±0.5°C.
It also says that high pressure air is usually continuously supplied to the equipment used for various processes through a system of pipes linked to several compressors in the factory. The new simulator can model piping diameter and layout for the entire factory to find a piping layout that minimizes pressure loss. This simulator lets users review the piping network and operating conditions in the factory, resulting in reductions of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
By introducing the new energy-saving simulation technology, Panasonic’s Energy Company has reduced CO2 emissions at a rechargeable lithium-ion batter factory in central Japan. The new simulation technology, as well as other initiatives to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, saw CO2 emissions per basic unit reduced by as much as 46% from the previous fiscal year.
Another example of Panasonic’s efforts under the “Eco Ideas for Manufacturing” initiative is its Superior Clean Factory (Super CF) recognition. Panasonic certifies factories that have achieved top-class performance in the reduction of environmental impact in each country as Superior CFs. In FY 2009, the company certified a total of 17 factories, including the semiconductor company’s plant in Tonami City, Japan.