The German family business C&C Bark Metalldruckguss und Formenbau GmbH produces magnesium die casts for various purposes. With the help of ifu Hamburg GmbH, Member of iPoint Group, they used material flow cost accounting (MFCA) as a tool to identify how production processes can be made more efficient and cost-effective.
At the Resource Efficiency Meeting 2018, CEO Dr. Cyrus Bark and Thomas Tauporn, Technical Assistant, reported on the efficiency gains they had already achieved with MFCA. The event, organized by ifu Hamburg, brought together more than 80 participants from industry, consulting and research to discuss various topics related to resource efficiency. According to Dr. Cyrus Bark, resource efficiency also plays an essential role at C&C Bark: “Why do we consider material and resource efficiency? Of course we are concerned about the environment, but it is also a cost issue – 40% of our costs depend on resource efficiency. We could not survive as a foundry if we were not resource efficient! ”
Material flow cost accounting enables the allocation of specific costs to waste production. Classical cost accounting focuses only on the costs that come along with waste disposal. In contrast, MFCA also allows a more accurate estimate of the hidden costs for waste, such as material, production and logistics costs. This way, the most important levers to increase energy and resource efficiency can be determined.
Already during data acquisition, the company identified crucial hotspots for more energy efficiency. Bark: “No one in the company would have thought that the temperature control units require more energy than our furnaces, and that they consume even more energy during standstill than during production!”
Using ifu Hamburg’s Umberto Efficiency+ software, C&C Bark was able to carry out an MFCA and calculate the costs associated with recycling magnesium. At first we did not detect any losses, because magnesium is fully recycled in our production pathway. But that was deceptive! After all, the recycled material does not really add any value – it leads to inefficient additional expenditure if it goes through the same production process twice or more times “, said Thomas Tauporn. Thus, the company realized that it is crucial to reduce the amount of recycled material in order to optimize efficiency.
Based on these MFCA results, C&C Bark GmbH then analyzed various optimization scenarios to determine the most effective measures to increase energy efficiency and thus cost efficiency. Their analysis revealed that, in addition to the adjustment of downtimes and the amount of recycling material, the optimization of the sprue also represents a considerable lever for reducing costs. As the next step, they now want to extend MFCA calculations to their entire production process in order to identify further optimization potentials.
Presentations and videos of the Resource Efficiency Meeting are available at https://www.ifu.com/events/ressourceneffizienz-treff/ (sorry, in German only).