Competition from Asia seems to be a key driver for investing in higher energy efficiency in manufacturing processes.
This was at least one of the reasons which pushed Bossa, a Turkish textile giant operating three plants in Adana, in the south of the country, to take the issue very seriously.
With a staff of 2,000, the company produces between 30 and 34 million metres of fabric a year, over half of which goes towards manufacturing denim.
“Fierce competition from the Far East is forcing us to save more energy and resources, and now cost-cutting has become an investment priority,” explains Ozgur Demirel, a senior technical supervisor. "We have found that 15% of our product costs goes on energy. The remaining 85% is subject to global trading prices on chemicals or on materials like fibres, costs which are hard to compress. Therefore, focusing on the consumption of energy and resources has turned out to be the first step in reducing costs".
The firm started to record its energy data per technical unit, which helped identify the areas where energy consumption is more intense. Two major steps in the production of textiles, weaving and spinning, are the most demanding operations, and account for 75% of the total consumption.
Thanks to studies performed by the research project REEMAIN, different solutions are now being considered for lowering energy consumption and resource impact at the point of need.
"The machines used for weaving and spinning operate unjustifiably slowly – explains Demirel - and we are therefore considering a measure to increase speed. This would in turn reduce the amount of energy consumed per metre produced without comprising on quality. Furthermore, we will apply a measure to the use of CO2 in the wastewater pool, as a way to mitigate the effects of sulphuric acid on the environment."