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Tracking Energy Use One Step at a Time

Challenged to find energy-saving ideas, teams of Magna China employees scoured the Exteriors Wuhu plant in June during an “energy walk” and quickly came up with 16 suggestions for improvements.

Armed with a detailed checklist, the three teams, made up of 15 members of the Environmental Health and Safety team from four Magna divisions, put their findings into a sustainability action plan. The top three areas for improvement included: addressing oil leakage from an injection machine, correcting adhesive waste and reducing air compressor usage to clean parts.

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This simple act of walking through a plant, with an eye toward conserving resources from an operations perspective, is a practice they encourage other divisions to emulate.

“We hope the energy walk will become a best practice throughout Magna as we all work toward a sustainable future,” said Shunwei Kang, Magna Exteriors China operational improvement manager.

He added: “Everything must start with an awareness of sustainable practices. Even at home, my 5-year-old daughter, Ru Yi, is helping to separate the trash into recycling or waste. Like all of us, she’s learning about what she can do to help the environment.”

When they return to their divisions, the energy walk participants plan to do similar excursions, studying the facilities from the lighting to the door seals and the floors.

The initial walk was a highlight of Magna China’s first sustainability awareness event, and part of a broader corporate effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Beyond the energy walks, Magna Exteriors China has launched several other initiatives, including building a prototype energy-management system at the Hangzhou plant to better understand how energy is consumed at the divisions. The project adopts a best practice from Magna divisions in Europe, including deploying a computerized dashboard to track energy usage. The plan is to roll out the system to other divisions in the near future.

Shunwei Kang and his daughter standing in front of recycling containers

In addition, a new Magna China carbon neutral committee meets regularly to discuss other energy-saving ideas that could be applied throughout every division.

“We were inspired by the Magna operational principles of MAFACT to find ways to save energy,” explained Kang. “The energy walk is a dramatic way of showing that we’re moving toward a sustainable future. We are not just saving resources, we are protecting human beings and taking care of future generations.”

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