Helping to reduce our plant's footprint

In Japan and around the world, with the environment in mind, Sony has launched initiatives that address both the way our products perform, and the many ways they are produced.

Factory operations that keep the environment in mind

Sony is focused on reducing our environmental footprint starting where our products are born. For example, CMOS image sensor production requires extreme clean room air conditioning. We have taken steps to ensure that the rooms are energy efficient while maintaining work space quality levels required to produce one of our highly technical products.

New CMOS image sensors made in new energy efficient clean rooms

New CMOS image sensors made in new energy efficient clean rooms

Powering precision manufacturing clean rooms with energy efficiency

CMOS image sensors are the electronic eyes of smartphones and digital cameras. Every Xperia™ and countless other devices from cameras to cars have one. Today's latest semiconductors, such as CMOS image sensors, cannot be made without a clean room, and it takes a lot of energy to maintain the required temperatures, humidity and cleanliness.

All hands contribute to the environment

Empowering factory employees to innovate environmental workplace solutions

To maintain the high-level clean room conditions necessary for the fine processing of semiconductors, it is essential to leverage the experience and knowledge of internal stakeholders. They are key to improvement efforts that can reduce impacts on the environment while maintaining the clean room standards required for product quality and high production yields.

All hands contribute to the environment

Case 1: Nagasaki Plant

Using waste heat more effectively

Doing more with the energy we already have

Recycling excess heat to reduce total energy consumption

We focused on the air-conditioning system at the Nagasaki Technology Centre to cut energy use. In semiconductor manufacturing, it is important to keep the clean room within a certain range of temperature and humidity. To do that, the temperature of the air taken in from outside is adjusted by either cooling or heating.

Energy for the steam heating of this plant previously came from burning fossil fuels. By replacing this with heat given off by the equipment operating in the plant, we have increased our energy efficiency by approximately 2.1 times.

[1] Airflow from air conditioning plant [2] Cooling equipment [3] Boiler [4] Semiconductor fabrication plant

Before

In the previous system, a boiler supplied air to mix with chilled air for precise temperature control of the clean room air. To keep the room temperature consistent, it was necessary to cool the clean room machinery with chilled air that was exhausted out of the clean room as waste heat. Heat energy released by machinery operation was not being put to productive use.

After

In the new system, the clean room machinery's waste heat replaced the steam generated by the boiler for clean room temperature control. By closing an energy loop, waste heat has been successfully recycled to do productive work inside the plant and reduce both the consumption of fossil fuel and CO2 emissions.

Helping energy efficiency and CO2 emissions

[1] per year

Helping energy efficiency and CO2 emissions

The new system realised two key environmental benefits: Increasing overall energy efficiency by repurposing waste heat; and helping to reduce our CO2 emissions by lowering fossil fuel consumption. The new system has reduced CO2 emissions by about 52% from the previous configuration’s approximately 9,300 tons to approximately 4,400 tons.

Our energy saving measures could not impact production

Shinnosuke Baba

Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation
Facility Div.

Shinnosuke Baba

Nagasaki Technology Centre mainly manufactures semiconductor CMOS image sensors for cameras contained in smartphones. To deliver high-quality products to customers across the world, the Facility Division works around the clock to ensure that energy for the entire production infrastructure is stable and used efficiently.

We challenged ourselves with the question, "How much factory waste heat can we reuse?". The new system captures and reuses substantial waste heat from our production equipment and utility facilities. Using experience and data analysis, we are devising improved heat balance control to implement energy-saving measures without affecting production. We want people to be able to say what we are doing is "great in a quiet way"!

Case 2: SDT Thailand

Creatively reducing air conditioning demand

Smarter, more targeted, air conditioning

Sony Device Technology (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (SDT) handles semiconductor assembly and shipping. By remapping air flows using "partial air conditioning" and raising refrigerated water temperatures, they have been able to run clean rooms with far less energy.

[1] Air conditioning plant [2] Cooled air [3] Heated air [4] Fabrication plant

Before

Powerful fans force chilled air from the ceiling to cool the entire room and the machinery, with waste heat being sucked through vents in the floor.

After

The new system uses natural convection, with chilled air entering at the floor level, where heat-producing machinery is. Warm air then naturally rises to the ceiling to be recycled, carrying dust particles with it away from the work surfaces.

Good for energy efficiency, and for Sony

Optimising airflows for improved efficiency

The new system has reduced CO2 emissions by about 67% compared with the previous system, from approximately 4,000 tons to approximately 1,300 tons. Newly introduced HVAC units control airflow more efficiently by directing air at production machines. The new airflow strategies also shift unwanted dust to the ceiling and away from production areas.

Good for energy efficiency, and for Sony

[1] per year

Hirotoshi Kikuchi

Simulating an ideal energy-performance balance

Hirotoshi Kikuchi

Sony Technology (Thailand) Co., Ltd
CWS-Asia Pacific OFFICE

Energy management at the factory is a constant search for ways to maintain manufacturing quality, using less energy and with reduced impact on the environment. Our aim to introduce an air conditioning system based on natural air convection required repeated rounds of simulations and data analyses. Because this system is very different from conventional AC systems, we also needed the support of the men and women in manufacturing to verify there were no adverse effects on their workplace environment.

This system is also installed in the Xperia™ assembly factory in Thailand (Sony Technology (Thailand) Co., Ltd). Other Asian factories are scheduled to renew their utility equipment in the near future, and we hope to advance our energy-saving measures in step with this renewal. Our hope is to achieve even greater energy savings, and continue to increase the supply of Sony products worldwide from factories that keep the environment in mind.

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