Bendix Treasure Hunt Yields Energy Rewards

AVON, Ohio – Team members from the North American facilities of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC gathered recently for a treasure hunt at the company’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, manufacturing operation. The treasure? Energy. Specifically, sources of wasted energy in the plant.

In May, Bendix hosted the three-day, in-plant training event – known as an Energy Treasure Hunt – in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge. Seventeen Bendix employees joined, along with one each from two fellow Better Plants partner companies. Participants formed four teams, organized around major plant areas, that walked through the 432,000-square-foot Bowling Green facility searching for opportunities to reduce energy use.

A pair of DOE energy experts facilitated the hunt, training employees on how to conduct assessments, use DOE tools, develop energy management systems, and implement and replicate energy projects. The DOE’s goal is to empower plant personnel to discover energy-saving opportunities while simultaneously building a culture of continuous improvement.

“Our core sustainability goals at Bendix include reducing energy use and improving energy efficiency,” said Bill Schubert, Bendix director, environmental and sustainability. “The Energy Treasure Hunt gave us a unique opportunity to make further progress toward those goals – in this case by rolling up our sleeves and tackling issues at the plant level. This investment in time, people, and resources was made all the more successful by the participation of team members from all Bendix locations, and it helps position us for even more success in the future.”

Luis Quiñones, Bendix corporate sustainability engineer, helped secure the opportunity by leading the DOE application process. Bendix is among a small number of select companies to be awarded the training.

On the Hunt

The Bowling Green manufacturing operation, opened in 2007, employs more than 450 people. The team produces the full lineup of commercially available Bendix® brand foundation drum and air disc brake solutions.

Activities unfolded Sunday through Tuesday, May 21-23. Participants toured the facility; gathered data; identified, evaluated, and quantified energy-saving opportunities; interviewed plant personnel; and, on the last day, reported key findings to Bowling Green plant management.

“By design, the hunt started on a Sunday, when plants typically are not operating,” Quiñones said. “You can start questioning things you hear: Does this piece of equipment need to run? Should that unit have air going to it? The hunt revealed a large air leak up in the ceiling – during any other time, you wouldn’t know that was a problem because the sounds of a plant under production mask the noise of the leak.”

Among other findings were two rooftop units that had no working compressors but blower fans that were still running, and compressed air that was being directed to inactive machines.

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.

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