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Nissan’s Air-Leak Squad Saves Energy, Money, and Cuts CO2

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Nov. 2- Smyrna, Tenn. –  Nissan’s manufacturing facilities in North America are making major changes to reduce energy use, committed to cut their overall consumption by 25% in ten years to help the environment.

So how is the company reducing their carbon footprint? They have deployed an air-leak detection squad – employees at each plant whose job is to find and fix wasted compressed air, one of the greatest forms of wasted energy at plants, even above electricity.

“In fact, it is one of our most costly utilities.  We have nine large compressors that supply us with compressed air here at our plant in Smyrna,” said Jason Watkins, Nissan safety coordinator.

Compressed air keeps the presses running in stamping, used to apply paint and power various tools used in the manufacturing process. There literally are miles of hose throughout the plant that carry compressed air to thousands of devices. Along the way, air leaks often occur that can result in as much as 20 to 30% of leaked compressed air.

The team’s key weapon in this fight is an air-leak detection tool.  The device is essentially a high-powered microphone that senses and transforms inaudible sounds from compressed air leaks into ones an operator can hear with headphones, and read in decibel levels. Smyrna just expanded their air leak detection program to their Trim and Chassis department, and will keep expanding for further energy efficiency.

“When this tool is used effectively it could help us achieve that 25% reduction within 10 years,” said Watkins. “Now we are looking at communicating with our truck system and getting it used there as well.”

Since starting this compressed air leak repair program in North America  last year, plants have located and repaired more than 3,500 air leaks, saving compressed air equivalent to about  8,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

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