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Komatsu's Environmental and Social Activities Enhancing Quality of Life

Mitigating Climate Change (Initiatives to Mitigate Climate Change in Business Operations)  Halving Electricity Usage Project

Power-Saving Activities

Komatsu has continuously pursued both productivity improvements and energy-saving activities.

After experiencing electric power shortages in the service areas of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. and Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. several months after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, it was anticipated that electric power shortages would occur in 2012 or later.

By detailed analysis of the use situation of electric power, it has discerned that it is possible to reduce 50% or more of electric power finally. Our new goal is to cut summertime peak electric power needs by 50% compared to consumption levels in the summer of 2010 by FY2015. We plan to limit consumption to reduce the environmental impact.

Approach to Power-Saving

(1) Reducing waste by realizing lower energy requirements

We construct a system that will automatically tracks power consumption by domestic Komatsu plants, and send this information to the head office, to be made available for company-wide viewing.

In addition we are working on making it possible to visualize in even more detail the power usage of each Komatsu building and facility.

Visualizing where power usage occurs will enable us to discover where power is being wasted, which facilities have poor energy efficiency, and the correlation between power usage and production activity. This will help us move ahead with our power-saving activities more effectively.

In addition, we are promoting our activities to visitors and conducting awareness campaigns to general staff through digital signage in places like the office lobby.

Centralized Monitoring of Power and Facilities

Centralized Monitoring of Power
and Facilities

■Heating and Cooling Equipment
Improving Efficiency by Updating Facilities

Improving Efficiency by Updating Facilities

(2) Production Reform: Reduce power usage by improving processing equipment and manufacturing processes

About 60% of Komatsu production plants' power consumption by processing parts.

Komatsu has several manufacturing processes including machine processing and welding. In each area we are working to reduce power usage by improving equipment, as well as by increasing efficiency in the manufacturing process.

Power Reduction with Production Equipment
Power Reduction with Production Equipment

We can reduce power used during processing and idling with inverter control and fine-tuned stopping in auxiliary machinery such as pumps and motors.

We can also shorten both processing and idling times by improving processing speed and capacity utilization, machining time.

Improving the Manufacturing Process (Using CAE)

With the development of new production technology, we will reduce processing range and input energy. In addition, we will reduce power consumption by accelerating the updating of facilities with high-efficiency state-of-the-art equipment.

Improving the Manufacturing Process (Using CAE)
(3) Using alternative energy: Getting the most out of sunlight and groundwater

Komatsu has installed solar panels on the rooftop of buildings to generate solar power.

Awazu Development Center

Awazu Development Center

We are also working on finding ways of taking advantage of renewable energy, such as using the stabilized temperature of groundwater to help with air conditioning.

New energy-saving buildings

Updating the buildings using the latest energy-saving technology

While implementing power usage reduction activities company-wide, we found that if we incorporate energy-saving technology in structures being rebuilt, it would be possible to reduce power consumption by about 50% in places such as office buildings and assembly plants, where the primary power consumption is due to lighting and air conditioning. Because over 60% of Komatsu production buildings were built over 40 years ago, there have been cases where the narrow spacing between posts inhibits the construction of efficient production systems.

Therefore, we have decided to move forward with the integrated renewal of production buildings.

In addition to utilizing the latest energy-saving technologies, we are aiming for significant improvement in production efficiency by incorporating production reform (streamlining) and reducing power consumption by decreasing overall square footage of buildings.

Starting with completion of construction at the Awazu Plant in spring, 2014, we are expecting to invest 30-40 billion yen by 2020.

Basic Ideas

  • (1)Use the latest energy-saving technology to achieve 50% reduction in power usage
  • (2)Increase efficiency by production reform, and reduce size of facilities by 30%
  • (3)Construct new buildings that use natural energy (sunlight, groundwater, etc.) more effectively

Efforts at the Awazu Plant's New Assembly Plant

The Awazu Plant's new assembly plant completed in May 2014 is the realization of a next-generation assembly plant that foresees a future where superior environmental performance is combined with productivity through the restructuring of the assembly line by incorporating the latest energy conservation, ICT, and production technology. By relentlessly conserving energy and creating energy through renewable energy such as solar power, ground water, and biomass as well as combining this with Komatsu Group's proprietary technology, a 92% reduction in power consumption will be achieved.

New Awazu Assembly Plant

New Awazu Assembly Plant

■Reduction in power consumption
     at the newly rebuilt structure (Awazu Plant)

Reduction in power usage at the newly rebuilt structure (Awazu Plant)

The following will introduce energy-saving technology that was incorporated into the new assembly plant.

A wide space with a maximum pillar spacing of 32m and a "full underground pit structure" was adopted. Additional energy saving is realized while realizing high work efficiency and an improved working environment.

When the building was renewed, the wheel assembly line and crawler assembly line were consolidated into the new assembly plant and by improving production efficiency, the assembly line was made more compact and the area of the factory was made 30% smaller.

This also reduced the energy required for air conditioning and lighting.

■Length of assembly line
Length of assembly line
■Building area
Building area

A high-efficiency air-conditioning system was built using ground water with a constant temperature year-round and the earth thermal heat that is conducted into the underground pit.
The groundwater air conditioning, from an industry-academic partnership with Kanazawa University, was evaluated for its effectiveness and health safety through repeated small-scale demonstration experiments and then introduced into the development center, prototype plant, and other facilities before full adoption.

By housing all equipment in the underground pit, making the air conditioning blow from the floor, and only air conditioning (stratified air conditioning) the work area which is only 2-3m over the floor, comfort is improved along with saving energy.

Air Conditioning Equipment Installed in the Pit and Vents on the Floor

Air Conditioning Equipment Installed in the Pit and Vents on the Floor

At facilities that perform repetitive operations and frequent starts and stops such as overhead cranes and vehicle testing devices, power regeneration functions are added to allow for the effective utilization of energy.

Overhead crane

Overhead crane

Brake test equipment

Brake test equipment

Maintenance-free battery power storage system

Maintenance-free battery power storage system

Energy storage system that utilizes the forklift's maintenance-free battery. Energy generated by renewable energy power generation is stored during off-peak times and by discharging during the day when demand is high, electric power is effectively utilized as well as shifting the peak.

Power Generation with KELK's Thermoelectric Elements

Example of Thermoelectric Power Generation for Carburizing Furnace

Example of Thermoelectric Power Generation for Carburizing Furnace

Five years ago the Awazu Plant introduced KELK's thermoelectric element power generation for their carburizing furnace for the "improvement of durability and establishment of a safety system".

This time, KELK's newly developed power generation unit was introduced and we will continue working jointly with KELK to "confirm durability, develop heat recovery technology, and reduce costs".

Airtight high thermal insulation technology

Airtight high thermal insulation technology

The building itself adopted a double folded-plate roof containing insulation material, insulated wall panel, and Low-e glass with a heat-insulating layer. Improved air conditioning efficiency was realized through airtight high thermal insulation.

Ceiling lighting and modulated LEDs

Ceiling lighting and modulated LEDs

By deeply integrating ceiling lighting and making LED lighting modulated, fine-tuned control of lighting is possible. This allows for a reduction in lighting power during the day.

Wood Biomass Power Generation

Awazu Plant is jointly working with Ishikawa Prefecture's KAGA Forest Association to implement biomass power generation with wood chips.

Around 7,000 tons of wood chips are supplied by KAGA Forest Association every year and the steam generated by the boiler is used to power the compressor, generator and refrigerating machine to create compressed air, electricity, hot water, and cold water that is used within the plant. Savings amounting to approximately 1.4GWh of electric power and about 800kl of heavy oil are expected annually.

Wood Biomass Boiler System

Wood Biomass Boiler System