Eco Factory

ABOUT ECO FACTORY

Aiming to achieve the Mid-term Environmental Action Plan*, Brother has been focusing on taking measures to reduce energy consumed at manufacturing factories, as well as enhancing the environmental performance of each product. Having already acquired ISO14001* certification at all the factories in both Japan and overseas, we take constant measures to reduce CO2 emissions in accordance with the Environmental Management System. Therefore, our factories are more eco-friendly, creating Eco Factories. Some results are shown below of what we work on at eco factories and how we seek to reduce CO2 emissions.

* ISO14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is relevant to any organization seeking to improve and manage resources more effectively.

* Learn more about the Brother group’s 2015 Mid-term Environmental Action Plan.

ECO ACTION

Energy-saving Air Conditioning Facilities

Since air conditioning equipment consumes significant amounts of electricity, we have sought to improve efficiency in all kinds of ways: introducing highly efficient air-cooled inverter-run air conditioners, use of refrigerant with high cooling efficiency, using heat insulating materials to reduce solar radiation heat from ceilings, as well as setting roller shutters and air curtains in the openings of air conditioning areas. The last measure seeks to improve the efficiency of air conditioning equipment by keeping the conditioned cool air from leaking out.

Energy-saving Lighting Equipment

By utilizing natural energy sources and introducing modern facilities, we strive to further reduce CO2 emissions. For example, adjusting brightness automatically by illuminance sensor while letting in the natural light, and using automatic switch on/off with a motion detector in common spaces, such as toilets, corridors, and stairs. We have also promoted the introduction of LED lighting, which consume less electricity compared to fluorescent lights, slowly but steadily replacing fluorescent lights with LED lights and lamps.

Solar Panels

The introduction of the solar power system has progressed. The solar panels help to reduce electricity cost by generating a portion of the electricity for manufacturing factories. At the same time, the system contributes to cutting CO2 emissions by reducing the amount of electricity supply from power plants.

Air Compressors

Since a large amount of air is required to use air compressors (devices that produce compressed air), it is important to use air efficiently. For this purpose, a unit control system is introduced at some production factories to control the amount of air in response to the demand. We strive to minimize the power consumption through looping the main air piping to eliminate any pressure fluctuations, and by implementing measures to stop escape of air.

Total CO2 emissions from Brother plants outside Japan (By unit of sales)

Total CO2 emissions from Brother plants outside Japan (By unit of sales)

Total CO2 emissions from Brother plants outside Japan (By unit of sales)

One of the targets that the Brother Group raises in the 2015 Midterm Environmental Action Plan is to reduce CO2 emissions leading to global warming. That target is to reduce CO2 emissions at eight business sites in Japan by 30% (absolute value) compared with FY1990 and at manufacturing facilities outside Japan (USA excluded)* by 20% (per unit of sales) compared with FY2006, by FY2020. Efforts to achieve this midterm target, which include directing CO2 reductions and developing products that attain the top level of energy-saving performance in the industry, are positioned as milestones.In FY 2013, therefore, we focused on sales recovery efforts and energy-saving activities aimed primarily at air-conditioning, lighting and power usage at our overseas plants, and we were able to achieve a 26.9% reduction—an improvement over our 20% reduction in FY 2006 and 7 years ahead of our 2020 midterm target.

※Brother’s manufacturing facilities in the USA function as a sales base, therefore their CO2 emissions are managed as actual emissions in the sales base.

THE PROFESSIONAL STORY

Maintaining productivity and product quality, and thoroughly carrying out energy-saving measures, Brother is now expanding its environment-oriented production facilities worldwide. This article focuses on one of the dedicated engineers at Brother’s Environmental Management Department who takes on the challenge of aiming to create truly eco-friendly factories with modern equipment that reduce CO2 emissions while resolving cost problems. And Brother’s commitment to environmental conservation is apparent in his enthusiasm.

  • Our aim is to make where our eco-conscious products are created even more eco-wise.

    Environmental Management Dept.Shigeyuki Ota

  • We are committed to making our factories as well as products more eco-conscious.

    Brother has been tirelessly seeking to reduce environmental impact at every stage of production, from product design to disposal. At manufacturing factories, especially, those acquiring ISO14001* certification, we have been taking constant measures to protect the environment in accordance with the Environmental Management System. Specifically, we strive to reduce materials and energy usage, meet environmental standards for all discharges from factories, paying special attention to the facilities which consume large amounts of electricity, such as lighting, air conditioning, and power generation facilities. Furthermore, we are devoted to introducing further energy-efficient equipment, reducing unnecessary operating hours, cutting electricity consumed during manufacturing while reducing the number of production steps and achieving technological innovation.
    Through these tireless efforts, we continually aim to further lower CO2 emissions at our manufacturing factories.

    * ISO14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is relevant to any organization seeking to improve and manage resources more effectively.

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  • Utilizing natural energy sources and modern equipment will minimize energy consumption.

    Let’s take a look at the overseas production sites. At the Xian factory in China, for example, skylights in the ceiling of the factory were installed. The natural light from the skylights reduces the lighting hours, resulting in lower electricity consumption. The automatic switch on/off system will turn off the lights when the inside factory is bright enough with natural light. Illuminance sensors can optimize each light’s brightness. In addition, by adopting a centralized control system for air conditioning and lighting (first case in Brother), the Xian factory can remotely control the switches of air conditioning and lighting. This equipment and these systems help prevent wasteful operation, such as forgetting to turn off lighting.

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  • Unprecedented levels of challenge will create a new standard.

    At the latest Philippine factory, Brother has stepped forward into a new challenge: fitting the factory with 100% LED lights. This was our first attempt, and of course we made tireless efforts through trial and error. As LED lights, especially, were rarely distributed in the Philippines at that time, we conducted market research repeatedly from a profit point of view. High-power LED lights that came to the market just before the factory launch eventually saved us. Their power successfully reduced the number of lights to be installed by approximately 30%. This achievement drastically cut introduction cost, which enabled us to install LEDs into the new factory. As a result, the Philippine factory is recognized as one of the highest energy-saving production factories because of the reduction of energy consumption by 40% more than before. We also confirmed that the shift to LEDs never affects product quality, which drives us to introduce LED lights into currently-projected factories.

    * started running on April, 2013.

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  • We are dedicated to endless pursuit of energy-saving effort.

    Each Brother’s factory worldwide has enhanced each factory’s capacity to reduce environmental impact year after year. We are eager to expand the range of our effort to achieve further reduction. Meanwhile, we are currently facing the issue of reducing CO2 emissions at specially-equipped facilities in factories. Since the most specialized facilities are directly concerned with manufacturing quality, it is not easy to put energy efficiency first. However, we promise to encourage the reduction of electricity usage in such specialized facilities, with the aid of on-site engineers. We will seek to take a significant step toward the achievement of the mid-term goal that Brother has already set.

    The energy-saving effort never ends. There is no standard for judging whether our effort reaches completion or not. That is why it is a worthy challenge. Our attempts will continually go on to the next stage.

    * Learn more about the Brother group’s 2015 Mid-term Environmental Action Plan.

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