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Optimized production planning lowers carbon footprints and saves costs

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on August 9th, 2021 about the “unprecedented” and “irreversible” changes set in motion by climate change. The evidence cannot be ignored: human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are driving us to a point of no return.

Keeping global warming within the limit of 1.5°C increase is imperative to preserve the wellbeing of both people and the planet. As a tech startup in manufacturing, Kinta AI is deeply aware of its unique position to help reduce the effects of climate change. Through our work with a cement manufacturer, we have shown that our AI-enabled production planning solution can improve the efficiency of our clients’s facilities, while reducing their energy consumption.

Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete and “has shaped much of our built environment,” but it also leaves a massive carbon footprint: cement production is the most energy intensive of all manufacturing industries due the extreme heat required to produce it. Large amounts of fuel is consumed to heat quarried limestone to 1400°C to form an intermediate substance called clinker, which is then mixed with gypsum and milled into cement, a process which liberates additional CO2 from the rock itself.

Resource consumption is also a huge cost driver for cement manufacturers. Kinta’s client sought to reduce both their operating costs and carbon footprint by prioritizing energy-efficient assets, but needed help in determining which devices were most efficient, how much more efficient those assets were, and how to schedule their customers’ orders best. 

Kinta’s facility analysis showed that some mills consumed significantly less electricity than others: the variance in kWh was over 25 percent. With this knowledge, we created new production schedules using AI with an objective of minimizing electricity consumption. 

We were ultimately able to maintain on-time delivery by directing the most efficient mills to take on the majority of orders, while allowing the facility to shut down certain less-efficient mills.  Kinta’s AI-driven schedules decreased the client’s average energy consumption by 9 percent, resulting in both a reduced carbon footprint and cost savings for the client.

Driving both cost savings and energy efficiency improvements is precisely the win-win that can help slow down greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing. At Kinta, we see a strong potential to continue conserving energy through improved production schedules, and we look forward to helping our other clients achieve similar goals. Innovation can lead the way to a more sustainable future.