Better Plants, Better Buildings group assembles at Volvo powertrain line

Volvo Group North America’s Hagerstown, Md. powertrain facility hosted a tour as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings, Better Plants 2019 Summit. The early-July event highlighted the production line with special emphasis on advanced crankshaft grinding machines that help reduce energy consumption.

Work with the Energy Department dovetails Volvo Group North America’s pursuit of International Organization for Standardization certification.

Five-plus years of energy efficiency benchmarking made the Hagerstown powertrain operation an appropriate venue for a Better Buildings, Better Plants 2019 Summit tour.

Volvo Group upgraded crankshaft production with Computer Numerically Controlled technology, replacing 13 grinders with three. The new energy-efficient machines process more crankshafts per day, while reducing electricity consumption by 56 percent, water consumption by 53 percent, and coolant chemicals by 60 percent. They likewise generate less waste, enabling the operation to divert 68 tons from the landfill.

The Hagerstown plant upgrade was completed as part of Volvo Group’s ISO 50001 Energy management system certification. The manufacturer met its first Better Buildings, Better Plants goal—a 25 percent reduction in energy consumption at U.S. facilities—five years ahead of schedule and set a new target of 25 percent more in savings by 2024. In the first four years of the new challenge, Volvo Group is more than halfway to its goal, reducing energy consumption by 17.5 percent against a 2014 baseline.

The Better Buildings, Better Plants program is among ways in which the company has worked with the Energy Department to optimize power consumption: Hagerstown, along with sister New River Valley and Lehigh Valley Operations are platinum-level partners in the Superior Energy Performance program, the Department’s highest certification.