Issue 51, June 2014
bulletGreen Manufacturing
bulletInnovation: Volkswagen Chattanooga - World's First LEED® Platinum Certified Automotive Manufacturing Plant
bulletprosolve370e: Smog-eating Façade Installed on Mexico City Hospital
bulletInterview with Volkswagen's Peter Bosch - Heading Towards Sustainable Auto Manufacturing
bulletEffizienzfabrik: Innovation Platform for Resource Efficiency Solutions in Industrial Production
bulletHarnessing the Power of Carbon in Medical Technology
Green Manufacturing 

To accelerate the development of new, globally competitive products and cutting-edge technologies, the Obama administration recently requested $1 billion from Congress earlier this June to fund a nationwide network of manufacturing technology research institutes. This U.S. initiative, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), is using Germany's highly successful Fraunhofer public-private sector research institutes as a model. 

 

Industrial manufacturing has long been integral to Germany's economic prosperity. It accounts for a quarter of the country's GDP and provides one third of its jobs. Over the past decade, exports have contributed to two-thirds of the country's fiscal growth, driving German GDP per capita to increase more rapidly than that of any other major industrialized nation.

 

Despite high energy and resource costs, Germany has achieved great international success as a manufacturing powerhouse. A world export leader in machine and equipment trade, Germany has attained this position by concentrating on specialized manufacturing and marquee brands. By producing high-value technologies and niche manufactured goods, German companies continue to maintain a competitive advantage over those in emerging markets, such as China and India, which offer vastly lower labor costs and mounting productivity.

 

Scarce and expensive raw materials, rising energy prices, demographic shifts, and climate change woes are driving manufacturing companies to redesign production processes. These sustainability measures extend beyond green building retrofits to new efficiency benchmarks for production machinery itself. The Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg, Germany, for example, is researching the optimization of energy consumption in manufacturing across a product's entire life cycle. This June 24-26, the institute will host an international research conference focusing on efficient and sustainable manufacturing and logistics, technologies for digital factories, and smart energy management. 

 

 


Volkswagen's Chattanooga manufacturing plant is the first and only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification program. As Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO, and Founding Chair of USGBC explained, "Building operations are nearly 40% of the solution to the global climate change challenge...innovative companies like Volkswagen Chattanooga are addressing it through local solutions."
 
These local solutions include the collection and reuse of rainwater to flush toilets and cool the facility's welding machines, a highly-reflective membrane used on 1.8 million square feet of roof surface to minimize the heat island effect by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and superior building insulation provided by six inches of mineral rock wool, which results in 720,000 Kilowatts per year of savings.  
 
Unlike traditional shops that use water to collect paint overspray, the Chattanooga paint shop is the world's first to utilize a dry-scrubber system. The paint shop then collects the powder and sends it to a local company where it is used to make concrete. As a result, the ultra-clean paint shop will save 50 million gallons of water over a ten-year period. In addition, the dry-scrubber system makes it possible to recycle 85% of the air in the spray booths. Due to this air recycling, 42% power and 85% heating energy are conserved. 
 
Skylights are generously used throughout the building to provide natural lighting, reducing energy demand from light fixtures. Green power is supplied by the local hydroelectric dam. The use of LED lighting on the building's exterior results in a 68% reduction in energy consumption, which accounts for up to 262,500 kWh savings per year as well as a reduction in light pollution. Volkswagen Chattanooga features the state's largest solar array, which provides up to 12% of the plant's energy during peak production and 100% during non-production times.

There are dedicated carpool and vanpool parking spaces in the main lot in addition to preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. The automobile manufacturing facility was built on a 1,350 acre brownfield site with no destruction of untouched nature.  
 
For a video of the VW Chattanooga plant, click here
 
Source & Image: © Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC

  

  

 

prosolve370e is a decorative architectural module that can effectively reduce air pollution in cities. The lightweight modules are coated with superfine titanium dioxide (TiO2), a pollution-fighting technology that is activated by naturally occurring ambient UV light. When positioned near pollution hotspots, the modules' photocatalytic technology breaks down and neutralizes NOx (nitrogen oxides) and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into harmless substances through a series of redox reactions.  

 

Derived from a quasicrystal grid, modules assemble into patterns that appear irregular, yet are made of few constituent pieces. The resulting complex surfaces bear strong semblance to sponges or corals to achieve new levels of surface area, creating surfaces uniquely suited for capturing omni-directional light and pollution. Additionally, they create favorable turbulence to increase the circulation of polluted air, with the effect of greatly enhancing the activity of the photocatalytic surfaces. 


The product was developed by elegant embellishments, a Berlin-based company founded by architects with an entrepreneurial approach to architecture. The company specializes in the research and development of innovative off-the-shelf architectural systems that help buildings perform environmentally and aesthetically.

 

prosolve370e was installed as a depolluting façade on the Torre de Especialidades, Hospital Manuel Gea González, along 100 meters of a busy thoroughfare in the southern contingent of Mexico City. The 2,500 square meter façade screen has the potential to eliminate the pollution of approximately 1,000 cars on the road in Mexico City per day, possibly constituting the world's largest man-made urban air purifier. Funded by the Mexican Ministry of Health, the project was part of a three-year, $20 billion investment into Mexico's health infrastructure. 

 

Image: prosolve370e at Torre des Especialidades, Hospital Manuel Gea González, Tlalpan, Mexico City, © Alejandro Cartagena

 

 


 

Germany-based Volkswagen Group is working to become the world's greenest carmaker and a global leader in e-mobility. Peter Bosch, Head of Strategy, Processes, and Structures for the Production and Logistics Division at the Group's main brand, Volkswagen, is leading the way with company-wide sustainability measures to achieve this goal.  
 
In his interview with GCRI, Mr. Bosch describes Volkswagen's "Think Blue. Factory." initiative as well as the newest inventions and current projects underway at the VW assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In addition to sharing what makes the plant so unique, he also discusses the impact the new factory has had on the city and its surrounding area since its launch in 2011. To read the full interview, click here
 
Peter Bosch's strategic management approach is based on creating holistic, sustainable business designs. In addition to spearheading the "Think Blue. Factory." campaign at Volkswagen, Mr. Bosch has also been responsible for the "Mach 18. Factory." global strategy for increasing efficiency in production and logistics.  


Mr. Bosch holds a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the Technische Universität München (TUM) and a Diploma in Business Administration from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU).   

 

Image: © Volkswagen AG 

 

Source: Fraunhofer ISI

 

As a means of promoting the development of innovative, resource-efficient production technologies, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) introduced an initiative that has funded 31 joint research projects with more than 65 million euros since 2009. These projects aim to develop new, holistic solutions for industrial production, which can substantially improve resource efficiency. The purpose of these solutions is to foster and ensure the future competitiveness and technological prowess of German industry.  

 

In order to reap the benefits of these solutions, it is imperative that they are adopted by industry. Therefore, it is not only important to publicly fund research, but also to support the transfer of these results to industry. The Effizienzfabrik - Innovation Platform for Resource Efficiency in Production - was launched as a supporting measure to these research projects. A joint initiative of the BMBF and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the Effizienzfabrik is supported by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. The initiative communicates the projects' latest research results and upcoming events as well as information about recent trends and developments in resource-efficient production technologies, making it an important point of contact for companies. 


As a scientific partner of the Effizienzfabrik, the Competence Center Industrial and Service Innovations (CC I) of the Fraunhofer ISI provides input with multi-disciplinary analyses, targeted studies, and environmental monitoring. The CC I analyzes and evaluates how to use innovations to design industrial value-added processes in a way that ensures and develops industrial production in Germany and Europe for the long term, not only economically in terms of global competitiveness, but also ecologically and socially.

 

Image: © Effizienzfabrik

 

Source: inno-focus businessconsulting GmbH


Carbon is used in concrete, cars, and the universe - why not the health care sector? This was the topic of a recent joint competition with the cutting-edge clusters MAI Carbon and Medical Valley. The competition was conducted through the crowdsourcing platform Innovationskraftwerk ("innovation powerhouse"). The Innovationskraftwerk was founded in 2011 by inno-focus businessconsulting and the initiative Germany - Land of Ideas 

 

Participants developed almost 250 ideas for utilizing carbon in medical technologies. Ideas that crystalized during the competition included the replacement of arthritic joints with flexible carbon fiber structures, carbon reinforced plastics for the support of damaged spinal columns, artificial blood vessels using carbon for cardiac bypass surgery, and carbon gloves for surgery. The winners presented their ideas at an award ceremony as part of the Medical Valley Summit on February 18, 2014, in Erlangen, Germany in front of an expert audience of trade professionals.

The potential benefits of carbon to the health care industry became apparent during the competition. Carbon has also played an important role in other industries, such as aerospace and machine engineering. In automotive manufacturing, carbon has helped reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, thereby increasing operating efficiency. Due to the lightweight nature of fiber composites, carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are being used more frequently in industry products.

 

Julien Denis, Head of Cluster Marketing and Development at Medical Valley EMN, remarked: "I can imagine fields of application along the entire health care chain: starting with prevention to diagnosis and treatment all the way until rehabilitation. The challenges of our health care system, which include the growth of an aging population and the increase of chronic illnesses, provide us the direction to all kinds of possible fields of application." 

 

Image: © Germany - Land of Ideas / Jim Albright

   

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