Workers in a factory

Opportunities exist for manufacturers to reduce operating costs by up to 50 per cent by taking actions to reduce materials and energy use.

Top tips for improving materials efficiency

  1. Process optimisation. Wastage from production lines can cost manufacturers tens of thousands of dollars per year, especially when the ‘real cost of waste’ is considered, i.e. purchase price plus handling and energy costs. However, implementing process improvements can reduce material costs by up to 40 per cent, while also boosting productivity and improving product quality. Carefully review your business processes to identify the waste ‘hot spots’, then investigate remedial actions to improve efficiency. Learn more about process optimisation, how it's done, and how it has helped many businesses improve operations and significantly cut costs.

  2. Batching. Improving the way materials are inputted into processes including better measuring, loading and spillage recovery for reuse, can reduce material cost by up to 25 per cent.

  3. Machinery. Better maintenance of equipment and machines as well re-tooling and upgrading can achieve material savings of up to 20 per cent, often through investments with a short payback of one to three years. Find out how to reduce wastage and boost your business productivity through machinery improvements.

  4. Waste. The recovery of waste materials for reuse onsite in the manufacturing process can reduce materials inputs by more than 50 per cent, potentially saving business hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Top tips for improving energy efficiency

  1. Lighting. Replacing high bay and metal halide lights with LEDs, and installing motion sensors, will reduce energy used for lighting by up to 80 per cent. While also reducing maximum demand. Lighting upgrades can also improve employee safety through increased illumination.

  2. Variable speed drives. The installation of VSDs on machinery with motors such as compressors, pumps and fans can significantly reduce energy use in your business. Evaporative fans for cold storage for example, are often necessarily large to ensure maximum cooling, however, when max optimum temperatures are achieved fans remain running at the same speed. Reducing motor speed by 20 per cent reduces the operating cost by up to 50 per cent.

  3. Controls. In many businesses, machinery and other equipment such as lighting, coolers, ovens and fans can run continuously, sometimes even out of hours. The installation of timing, sensors and operational controls will reduce wasted energy and can save around 10 per cent on energy bills.

  4. Boilers. For many manufacturers boilers can account for an average of 34 per cent of their energy bills. Good maintenance, especially repairing leaks, and replacing inefficient boilers can reduce this energy cost by 10 per cent.

  5. Insulation. For many manufacturers, heating equipment such as boilers and ovens are the biggest energy users in their business. Upgrading insulation can reduce energy use by 5 per cent in many manufacturing businesses.

  6. Housekeeping. Simple measures are often overlooked by many companies but can save energy at no or very low cost. 'Good housekeeping' actions such as ensuring that machines and lighting are switched off overnight and weekends is an easy, quick and no cost way to improve energy efficiency.

Case studies

Read how many Victorian businesses have significantly reduced their materials and energy use, providing cost savings and many additional benefits, in our case studies.

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