CHENNAI, India —Ford India’s green and sustainable manufacturing practices seem to be resulting in more than just a better world. Recognizing the efforts by Ford India to install solar water heaters at its canteen, the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Authority (TEDA) recently handed over a cheque for Rs 13.61 lakh (approximately US$25,680) to the company as a government subsidy.
The Solar Water Heater installation project, approved and carried out in 2011, involved setting up 240 solar panels on the rooftop of the canteen at Ford’s manufacturing facility in Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai. A cross-functional team of employees from various functions such as Plant engineering, HR and administration, Finance and Purchasing worked together as part of a broader strategy of using more renewable energy.
“At Ford, we are constantly looking at new methods and sources of renewable energy to reduce our impact on the environment through green manufacturing practices. Thanks to our great teamwork in execution and effective showcasing of the project, TEDA was convinced to pay off the subsidy,” said E. Kumar, manager for Plant Engineering, Ford India.
Prior to the installation, water was supplied to the canteen at ambient temperatures, but the water heaters now go to the canteen at a temperature of 65 to 80 degree Celsius and help in reducing cooking time.
“This in turn helps us save diesel to the tune of as much as 60 litres per day, with the canteen consuming about 15 kilolitres of water per day. In future, we see a scope of saving up to 100 litres of diesel per day,” Kumar said. “Before the subsidy, the time adjusted rate of return was estimated at 28 percent. After the pay-off, it is now 38 percent.”
The team helped the company submit all relevant certificates and documents to process the subsidy from TEDA. A TEDA inspection team visited the plant to ascertain the system’s effectiveness before deciding to hand over the subsidy.
“This is indeed great recognition of our sustainable and environmental-friendly practices at Ford India. We are further encouraged to install a solar-based system to power our lighting in the Corporate Office here at the plant in the near future,” said Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, Ford India, who received the Tamil Nadu Government’s first-ever green award from Chief Minister Jayalalitha in recognition of Ford’s green manufacturing practices, late last year.
The cross-functional team was recognized by Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India, who lauded it as “a great instance of going further and reinforcing our commitment for a better, greener environment. Kudos for the achievement.”
Chackalackal handed over a certificate to the team members in the presence of the plant leadership.
The Solar panels array on the FIPL canteen rooftop.