Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project "E³-Production"

Efficient – emissions-neutral – ergonomic

© Fraunhofer IGB

For manufacturing companies it is becoming ever more important to use alternative and regenerative energy sources efficiently and to recycle materials. In an increasingly digitalized and networked production environment the part played by people also needs to be reconsidered. Against this background the aim of the Fraunhofer lighthouse Project “E³-Production” is to research how material, energy and information flows in emission-neutral E³ factories with energy- and resource-efficient production can in future be better planned, implemented, evaluated and controlled in an integrated approach that takes into account the way people are involved.

The Fraunhofer IGB is involved in two subprojects. An efficient high-performance biotechnological process for the separation and concentration of metals from diluted technical process media is being developed in the subproject “Integrated Process Chain Engineering”. The synergetic examination of social and ecological criteria in an efficient production sequence is the focus of the subproject “Sustainability and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Production Processes for German Industry – SUSPROFIT”.

Sustainability and cost-benefit analysis

In the subproject SUSPROFIT a practical, industry-specific evaluation system is being developed that identifies the sustainability risks and indicates options for action. For this purpose existing standards, norms and tools for life cycle assessment, for technology assessment, for energy, environmental and quality management as well as social standards and guidelines for CSR management of Corporate Social Responsibility were reexamined regarding their transferability and industry-branch specificity.

The concept of SUSPROFIT is based on these analyses and the principles of sustainable production. Industry-specific sensitive areas of the company are identified using a generic approach comprising a questionnaire. Besides the environmental aspects such as the use of energy and materials, social criteria such as the working conditions are determined and further developed. In each particular case a target-performance comparison shows the company’s need for action. Developers or process designers initiate a process of improvement which is reinforced by specific recommendations for action. A label concept assists them in the optimization of the production system. This label concept additionally permits a clear positioning with regard to customers and suppliers.

SUSPROFIT is aimed at manufacturing companies, especially small and medium-sized, and focuses on the production process. The interfaces with supply chains and product life cycles are taken into consideration. During the further course of the project the concept will be elaborated and validated in cooperation with possible users.