Around 70% of world’s steel is produced from iron ore reduced in blast furnaces. Most of the remaining 30% is produced by minimills, which recycle scrap steel using electric arc furnaces – a proportion set to grow as companies seek to decarbonise their operations. Work is underway at New Zealand Steel to install an electric arc furnace: a move which will shrink the carbon footprint of its Glenbrook steel mill and place the company at the leading edge of low emissions steelmaking worldwide. As the company gears up to celebrate 60 years since it was founded, this crucial upgrade will secure steelmaking – and the corresponding jobs it supports – in New Zealand for the long term. Announced in May 2023, New Zealand Steel’s electric arc furnace (EAF) project will reduce Glenbrook’s carbon footprint by 800,000 tonnes each year and the country’s total annual emissions by 1% from day one. The carbon reductions – equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road permanently – will come from replacing the steel mill’s existing oxygen steelmaking furnace and two of the four coal fuelled kilns. Chief Executive New Zealand and Pacific Islands Robin Davies described the project as “a pragmatic response that not only sustains our critical domestic steel supply, but also provides a collaborative approach with public and private sector players to be world leaders in lower emissions steel.” The company is on track to be producing lower carbon steel as soon as 2026, having continued to hit project milestones such as the completion of a feasibility study, beginning to prepare the site for installation and the signing of new project partnerships since the May 2023 announcement. Already users of technologies such as robotics, automation, wireless sensors to collect real-time data and computer-aided engineering and design, Mr Davies says his teams […]
Net zero is an ideal state where the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) released into the earth’s atmosphere is balanced by the amount of GHGs removed. Decarbonisation efforts are needed to reach net zero. If you follow sustainability and climate topics, you have probably heard the term net zero thrown around. Still puzzled? A net-zero gain of GHG in the atmosphere is achieved when the level of GHG emissions released into the atmosphere is equal to the amount removed. This is also referred to as carbon neutrality. CO2 is a gas found in the Earth’s atmosphere—and it’s part of the planet’s air, along with nitrogen, oxygen, methane, and other gases. CO2 helps to trap heat, but too much of it can cause problems, such as heat waves or flooding. It occurs both naturally and as a byproduct of human activities such as burning fossil fuels. All industries—not just the energy sector—must achieve net zero to avoid a permanently warmer planet. Read on to learn more about what net zero means, and how it can be achieved. What is decarbonisation? Decarbonisation is the mitigation, cessation, or reduction of carbon in the atmosphere. It is achieved by switching to energy sources or materials that emit less carbon, often from high carbon-emitting fossil fuels and by counteracting any carbon that is emitted. Keeping global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels by limiting the buildup of atmospheric GHGs will be necessary to prevent permanent warming of the planet and catastrophic consequences. Those efforts are referred to as decarbonisation. Many companies, countries, and organisations have pledged to decarbonise, or to make the net-zero transition, in the coming years. The power, oil and gas, and transport industries are frequently cited as the biggest emitters, but all industries need to work toward decarbonisation to achieve net zero. Getting to net zero is most significant […]
-By Insa Errey In advanced manufacturing, the concepts of energy intensity and energy efficiency play crucial roles in influencing both operational costs and emissions profile. While both terms are interconnected, they represent distinct parts of energy management. Understanding these dynamics is crucial as businesses seek to balance production demands with the imperative of sustainable energy use. Energy Intensity in Manufacturing: A Measure of Production Impact Energy intensity is a measure of the energy consumed per unit of output, such as the energy required to produce a certain quantity of goods. Typically expressed in terms of energy units per unit of physical output. Energy intensity provides insight into the overall energy consumption patterns within a manufacturing facility. High energy intensity in manufacturing suggests that significant energy resources are being used to manufacture a product. High energy intensive processes may use a disproportionate amount of energy to achieve their production goals, signalling inefficiencies that can impact both costs and emissions. On the other hand, low energy intensity indicates a more efficient use of energy resources. Trending this even monthly will enable visibility of process operations, signalling if processes are running differently and have shifted. Energy Efficiency: Improving Manufacturing Practices Energy efficiency, on the other hand, focuses on optimising the utilisation of energy inputs to maximise output. It is the ratio of useful energy out to the total energy in. In manufacturing, energy efficiency measures the effectiveness of processes in converting energy resources into final products, emphasizing the opportunities to reduce loss and waste. Energy efficiency in manufacturing involves optimising processes and technologies to minimise energy consumption while maintaining or enhancing productivity. Improving energy efficiency in this context includes adopting advanced machinery, implementing effective energy management systems, and embracing best practices. Often invest is required such as conducting energy audits, energy transition plans […]
By Jane Finlayson; Head of Advanced Manufacturing; EMA A lot has changed in recent months. Not only have we had a change of government, and with it a change in policy direction, but we have also seen the establishment of Advanced Manufacturing Aotearoa (AMA). Led by Catherine Lye, AMA is tasked with working with key sector partners - including unions, researchers, educational institutions, industry organisations, and Māori and Pacific manufacturers – to gather information and supply feedback on the practical steps that can be taken to further develop the manufacturing sector. The AMA is an important initiative that we hope will be supported by the new government. It is industry-driven and independent, representing manufacturers across Aotearoa New Zealand. This positions it to deliver enormous benefit to the manufacturing sector at a scale not realised previously. The EMA is proud to support the AMA, alongside our other partners across the country. As the newly appointed Head of Advanced Manufacturing at the EMA I am looking forward to working closely with Catherine and the AMA to advance the interests of the manufacturing sector. Since taking up my new role, I have enjoyed the opportunity to attend regional manufacturing action group meetings, in Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty and Auckland and I’ve met with a wide range of innovative manufacturers who have adopted technology to enhance their businesses and improve productivity. Clearly the past year has been challenging for many manufacturers. The global economic slowdown, rising costs, supply chain constraints and critical skills shortages have all combined to create a difficult environment for the sector. This has been reflected in the steady decline of the BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI), which has sat below 50 since March. This indicates manufacturing activity in New Zealand has been contracting throughout much of […]
Remember the moment your flatpack furniture finally took shape (with no pieces missing and your relationships intact)? The last piece slotted in because you got the ‘system’ right. Assorted pieces came together, in the right way, to make a useful item of furniture that was ‘more than the sum of its parts’. Sustainability is about systems too. Understanding the relationships between a strong bottom line, a flourishing environment and thriving people and communities will help you make your manufacturing business more sustainable. In fact, you can’t have a healthy business if you don’t attend to all parts of the system. In this article, we look at systems in your manufacturing business. Drawing on examples from our 2023 articles, we show the opportunities these systems offer to become more sustainable. But first, some background. Systems in sustainability The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a good place to start. They highlight the social, economic and environmental systems that make up our world, plus the links between them. These systems reinforce one another. Some systems are virtuous. Get one thing right and we fix others too. For example, if we consume and produce responsibly (SDG12), we reduce carbon emissions (SDG 13) and modern slavery (positive impacts on social SDGs 1, 5 and 8). Vicious cycles are possible too. If we plant soybeans to create renewable bio-diesel (SDG 7), we risk crowding out native plants (SDG15). Systems in manufacturing As a manufacturer you’re familiar with ‘systems thinking’, even if you don’t call it this. That’s because your business is a system. For example, when raw materials are unavailable, your production line slows down. You have to re-plan your team’s rosters, your production run, marketing schedule, deliveries and cashflow. Everything’s linked. Here are some other examples of systems in your business and what […]
-Adam Sharman, Senior Partner, Dsifer For many New Zealand organisations, 2023 has been a year of navigating multiple headwinds, including increased cost of materials driven by exchange rate pressure and high levels of inflation, weakening demand from China as their domestic economy slows, and weakening consumer demand in some sectors. All of which has seen the NZ manufacturing sector contract across 2023. These challenges appear to have been particularly acute across the food processing sectors. Staffing continues to be a challenge for New Zealand manufacturers, particularly in the operational workforce. However, we are starting to see an easing in the market and, as the number of jobs being advertised drops and the number of applicants per job advert increase organisations are finding it easier to attract talent. There is a paradox to this however, as our clients frequently report that staff absenteeism is one of their biggest challenges and has a major impact on their ability to achieve potential performance. It is not all doom and gloom, however, and 2023 has been another standout year for New Zealand organisations in terms of innovation, creativity, and growth. In particular, developments in aerospace, agritech and health tech have seen Kiwi companies make significant impacts on the world stage as New Zealand continues to be recognised for its innovation in these areas. Increasingly, we are working with organisations who have recognised that security is a strategic asset for New Zealand and our organisation, and we have seen multiple examples of New Zealand based organisations winning work away from Asia, due to their ability to provide products that are trusted as secure. This is particularly true in the electrical component manufacturing sector, as for example, European car producers are willing to pay a premium for data security in the manufacture of their components. New […]
-Ian Walsh, Partner, Argon & Co I was reflecting, as you do at this time of year, on what were the highlights and key achievements of 2023. The key highlight is primarily that supply chains are starting to settle down, business is starting to return to normal, and we are starting to see some positivity. This has been a slow hard grind, and the job is not done. The recovery has been slower than expected, exacerbated by extreme weather events, a cost-of-living crisis, a labour shortfall as we ramped up and the gates were not open, and Kiwis leaving on their OE. Net a myriad of never-ending obstacles to overcome. In addition, many businesses learned in 2022 and 2023 just how fragile their supply chains were and how dependent NZ is on shipping lines. Many have and are investing in additional warehousing to buffer their supply chains and many products that have been offshored are suddenly viable, in this new light, to be manufactured locally. The research continues to reflect our slide down the OECD with the grim reality that we are 30-40% less productive than our nearest neighbours and key trading partners and significantly worse versus the Irish and Scandinavian countries. While this may seem remote, it is a key indicator of our future economic prosperity and ability to keep pace, retain talent, and provide the lifestyles and outcomes we desire for our children and future generations. So, given all this, here are my top 5 drivers for 2024: The labour crunch will continue, and many businesses are leveraged so capital options may not be as attractive or possible. This will drive a few key initiatives. Supply chain fragility will continue to drive boards to look at business continuity planning and risk mitigation strategies. Procurement and strategic sourcing will […]
From NZ Manufacturer, December issue, focussing on ‘The Year in Review’ Catherine Lye – CEO, Advanced Manufacturing Aotearoa If you hate the phrase ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and lead your business/team with ‘we’re going to try different, we’re going to try this, we think this will be a better way to improve quality & efficiency’, then you may identify more readily with advanced manufacturing. After all, manufacturers are all about advancing their business every day and trying to find the next thing that will make them better, faster, more competitive. It is, however, important to recognise that not all small medium sized businesses (“SMB”) in New Zealand’s manufacturing sector may readily identify with the term “Advanced Manufacturing”. The majority of New Zealand’s SMB’s may be operating with traditional methods and technologies that have been effective for their specific needs. Factors such as limited budgets, resistance to change, distractions with a global pandemic or not knowing where to start with integrating Advanced Manufacturing tools and techniques can contribute to this reluctance to adopt – after all there is a lot that you could do but what should you do? In the context of a small to medium sized business (SMB), advanced manufacturing embodies a transformative approach that simply translates to “Smarter, Modern, Better” operations. “Smarter Manufacturing” entails harnessing data analytics and automation to make informed decisions in real-time, optimising resource allocation, and reducing waste. The higher value of thinking is around the integration of tools, knowledge, and data. The challenge is finding easier ways to manage and extract data in an easy-to-understand report for everyone. It can make your eyes bleed figuring out what’s going on with 10,000 rows of daily data – you can chart it one way and it is meaningless, chart it another way that […]
As a business owner, you’re constantly on the lookout for marketing strategies and platforms that can elevate your brand and generate more opportunities, right? What if we told you LinkedIn is one of the most underutilised tools for businesses like yours? Following feedback from many business owners like you, I’m pleased to introduce and invite you to participate in a complimentary Maximize Your Impact: The 5-Day LinkedIn Mastery Challenge for Entrepreneurs If you are not yet sure if LinkedIn is for you there is only one question you need to answer to gain certainty: “Can my business benefit from networking and word of mouth?” If the answer is YES then you know that building a strong network takes time and you’d better start right now. Curious to find out more? Book HERE to receive a special invitation to a private LinkedIn Group where this 5-day Challenge starts on Monday 11th of Dec 2023 Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – it’s time to make LinkedIn work for your business!
Our annual ‘The Year in Review’ December issue will be out soon. It includes stand-out commentary on achievements from some of our manufacturing companies, reflections on the year winding down and the new one ahead. Challenges that face us and suggestions for achieving success. There were a lot of articles competing for inclusion that could not be accommodated within the pages. Meaning the stories of many achievers – you know who you are – need to be re-read by revisiting monthly issues of the magazine. If you or your company are not receiving the magazine, nor on the subscriber database and want to receive December issue, email email@example.com and we will get a copy to you.