About OP Chocolate
OP Chocolate is a leading manufacturer of chocolate and wafer products supplying major retail chains across the UK and overseas.
Founded in 1938, the company now operates from a 16,000m² site in Merthyr Tydfil and is owned by the French Groupe Cemoi. Some 320 core staff are employed at OP Chocolate, along with approximately 40 seasonal workers to cover busy periods. Production takes place 16 hours a day, six days a week and processes include the production of wafers in ovens, chocolate coating of wafers, caramel manufacture, moulding of chocolate bars and end off line finished product packing.
IEC was originally appointed by the Carbon Trust to help OP Chocolate to reduce energy use. The company is subject to the Climate Change Levy and had a target to reduce on-site energy consumption by 13.3%. This was achieved by 2010, and energy consumption has continued to fall against production since then.
One of our first steps was to develop an energy action plan which motivated staff to reduce energy consumption, as well as making small investments to improve existing machinery. This approach meant results were noticeable almost immediately.
In the months that followed, detailed analysis was undertaken to explore what energy reduction measures would be most effective. Sub-metering systems were introduced on all major equipment and the subsequent analysis of data led to decisions to improvement air conditioning controls, heating, compressed air systems and pipe work insulation.
Key programmes have included:
- monthly energy team meetings which keep the issue of energy efficiency on the agenda for the entire workforce
- a more proactive approach among staff to highlight efficiency issues. For example, leaks on the compressed air system are fixed at an earlier stage thanks to a new reporting system and staff now adhere to new shutdown procedures
- unused pipe work has been isolated and removed
- improved insulation plus new heating and lighting controls have been introduced throughout the site.
When Carbon Trust funding came to an end, the company had saved a significant sum but recognised that more could be done so decided to continue to work with IEC to reduce energy use further still.
IEC continues to undertake monthly site visits to monitor energy use and implement efficiency programmes. In addition, IEC purchases OP Chocolate’s gas and electricity, validates the energy invoices and ensures the company meets its targets under the Climate Change Levy Agreement Scheme. This enables a rebate to be claimed on the tax element of energy bills in return for achieving energy reduction targets.
What the client says:
Alan Barker of OP Chocolate said:
We’ve worked with IEC for a number of years now so they really do understand our business and continually help us to find ways to reduce energy consumption.
Their work has made an enormous difference to our business. The monthly report and graphs produced against targets set at the beginning of each year enables the energy team to target projects that will deliver the necessary savings. The formation and management of the energy team keeps the issue on our agenda and ensures everyone in the company knows they have a part to play.
Most initiatives have involved process improvements at relatively little cost. Where investment has been required it has been backed up by a detailed business case which tells us what cost saving we’ll achieve over what period of time. This has enabled us to make good decisions for the long-term, reducing our cost and our impact on the environment.