Resource efficiency is something that most of us already perfected as schoolchildren, trainees or students: the MiniMax system. The goal is to get the maximum benefit from minimum input. But as mundane as this idea may sound, it becomes all the more complicated when it comes to realizing it in production operations. The different production processes have to be studied meticulously to gauge their efficiency. All material and energy flows must be determined so as to derive potential for optimization. The goal is to improve resource productivity – that is to produce as much as possible from the input of a certain quantity of raw materials and energy. This improvement process usually starts with internal, low-investment measures that can be quickly implemented. All the available potential can usually only be exploited with the introduction of technological innovations coupled with long-term investments. To give companies an incentive to realize these usually cost-intensive projects, the German government makes available a range of attractive funding programmes on both national and regional state levels. The funding can mostly be claimed in the form of a grant. It is usually essential to call in an external consultant to facilitate application for a grant, this can make the search for appropriate funding in the funding maze much easier.
Dipl.-Ing. Silke Sabath, Brick and Tile Research Institute Regd, Essen