A key milestone of the E2DRIVER project has been reached! The participation of 12 pilot firms has been confirmed, setting the cornerstone for the creation of the E2DRIVER training methodology during the later stages of the project. This development comes after a period of diligent search and negotiations with potential companies by our E2DRIVER cluster partners SERNAUTO, MOV’EO, AEN and MESAP. A key prerequisite for participation in E2DRIVER was that companies’ energy consumption expenses constitute a substantial share of their total costs. While smaller and medium-sized enterprises are the focus of the project, the companies also had to be sufficiently large to continuously provide resources and personnel for the duration of the project.

While the topic of energy efficiency had been contemplated within several pilot companies before, getting the twelve firms on board was not a self-evident task, despite E2DRIVER’s four cluster partners’ close relationships to their member enterprises. Time constraints on the one hand and reaching out to the right contact person on the other initially hindered some of the cluster partners from elaborating the goals, approach and benefits of E2DRIVER to the SMEs in a short time. But the fantastic engagement work by SERNAUTO, MOV’EO, AEN and MESAP eventually convinced pilot firms about the chances E2DRIVER has to offer, so the project was met with enthusiasm. Finding the appropriate staff – especially in smaller firms – was seen as a further challenge, one that our partners convinced the pilot companies would be overcome thanks to detailed project planning.

Overall, the number of employees in E2DRIVER pilot companies is very diverse, ranging anywhere from 6 employees to well over 200. While larger companies have greater capacity to contribute resources and commit to the long-term goals of the project, it was ensured that small enterprises, too, are capable of full engagement in the training process.

The areas of auto parts production processes of the individual companies vary greatly as well. Fabrication of engine parts, nanotechnologies, electrical products as well as metalworks and plastic injection are some of the more frequent activities that pilot firms engage in. Detailed production activities are displayed in the Table below.

Metals Materials Plastics Parts production Other
Surface treatments on metals Aluminium casting Surface treatments on plastics Production of shocks absorbers and its components New sol-gel materials for nanoceramic coatings
Metalworks such as distribution and protective cabinets and punched parts Trim solutions for high-quality materials: aluminium, wood, carbon, plastic and leather Plastic transformation Fabrication of engine parts Silicon and silicon carbide
Milling of metals Production of small and large pieces of magnesium Plastic injection Producing turned parts Foundry, machining, painting, chroming and assembling
Production of polymers Design and production of electrical and electronic products CAD-services

Table 1. Area of activity of E2DRIVER pilot companies

The involvement of pilot firms paves the way for performing many of the tasks set to be carried out in the coming months. Their contribution will help assess the types of roles of employees and managers in each company, their objective skills and knowledge on energy audits and energy efficiency measures, as well as their energy consumption data. The companies are also expected to provide inputs for the development of the training material, assisting with the design of courses. Efforts to engage pilot companies and involving them early in the project has been important to obtain necessary data on schedule.

In time, initial results and feedback from pilot companies will be used as a foundation for updating the training methodology and implementing it in replication companies. While the training methodology in replication companies will be employed during later project stages, E2DRIVER will start looking for 28 SMEs as early as possible, using its available channels to engage them in the process.

The landmark achievement of involving pilot companies gave the project the necessary impulse to keep moving forward and start devoting resources to upcoming assignments. Further news and updates on future progress and pilot firms’ involvement will be posted on the E2DRIVER website. Stay tuned!

The E2DRIVER project has launched!