What is ‘factor 4’?
An ideology suggested by Amory B. Lovins and others. Aims to increase productivity of resources by 4 times
by doubling wealth and halving resource use. This eventually leads to the recovery of balance between wealth and our environment.
Matsui agrees deeply with the idea of ‘factor 4’to double wealth and halve resource use. We hope to fulfill the following mission in molding factories where most of our customers are.
The main problems of molding factories are ‘Wastage of Energy’, ‘Wastage of Resins’ and ‘Wastage of Water’. In order to eliminate such wastages,
on top of R&D of machineries to enhance productivity, Matsui would also diagnose factories to give proposal on how to increase productivity.
Matsui’s job does not stop at manufacturing and selling of auxiliary equipments. We would also like to make enhancement of resource productivity in molding factories as one of our main responsibilities.
Matsui hopes to maintain a balance between our environment and the wealth of our users.
Besides achieving ‘rapport’ with our users, we also hope to build a relationship of ‘rapport’ with our environment.
'factor 4' refers to the ideology of doubling wealth and halving resource use to increase the productivity of use of resources
(the merits and service that a particular amount of resource can produce) by 4 times. Amory B. Lovins and others officially proposed this ideology in the Club of Rome in 1995.
According to the Club of Rome's 'The First Global Revolution' in 1992, global poverty and anxiety of global politics cannot be overcome
if global wealth is not doubled. On the hand, according to 'The Limits To Growth' in 1972, if use of natural resources is not brought down by halve,
the balance of ecology cannot be recovered and the survival of human in the long run cannot be guaranteed.
Amory B. Lovins and others then proposed a report called 'factor 4' which suggest on the followings.
In order for global poverty to be overcome and the balance between wealth and environment to be maintained, resource productivity has to be increased by at least 4 times (factor 4).
Upon increasing resource productivity by 4 times, balance between wealth of humans in the long run and the environment can be maintained.
The increasing of resource productivity by 4 times is already possible in many fields by technology improvements and brings many economic benefits.
In the report, 50 actual examples of 'factor 4' were explained, proving that 'factor 4' can be achieved and has great economic value.
The fact that resource productivity level can be increased by 4 times suggests that our current resource productivity level is very low and that more than 75% of resources are being wasted.
Many would doubt the reality of such a fact.
I would like to take automobile, which has dramatically changed the lives of people as an example.
In a scenario that 100 liters of gasoline is used to carry one person by car, 80% (80 liters) of energy released by gasoline becomes exhaust heat and gas.
Thus, only 20% (20 liters) of the energy was used to drive the wheels. Human weight takes up about 5% of the total weight of the car. Hence,
only 95% (19 liters) of the energy used to drive the wheels is actually used to move the vehicle itself. Therefore, actual energy used to carry the driver is merely 5% of 20 liters, in other words, only 1 liter.
Even the automobile, which is suppose to be the highest and latest technology wastes 99 liters of the 100 liters used. If 99 liters of wastage can be reduced to 96 liters (which is still very unproductive), resource productivity can be increased by 4 times.
In a nutshell, we have been wasting resources usage in many other ways and are often not aware of it.
In majority of the molding factories, improvements to enhance efficiency are consistently being carried out. However, are such molding factories inefficient in energy usage?
Taking the injection molding process of resins as an example, what are the necessary energies required? Critically speaking, only 'energy to heat resins to appropriate temperature' and 'energy to inject melted resins into molds' are required. Any other energy used considered wasted. However,
in the case that molded resins are cooled and heat is released in the form of water or other medium out of the factory, energy is required to circulate and cool the water.
However so, energy of volume many times of that of minimum energy required is being wasted in reality.
The high temperature in molding factories is the evidence of excessive heat release and wastage of energy.
Even when sprue runners are being recycled, energy is consumed to heat and melt the runners. More wastage occurs when these sprue runners are not even being recycled.
The vaporization of water from cooling tower during winter or when the weather is cool is also another evidence of wastage. Water cools automatically during winter and should not need to be cooled by the cooling tower. In addition, chiller tends to cool more water than required and cooled water are being heated again due to demand at times.
Despite consistent efforts to eliminate wastage thoroughly, many forms of wastage still remain from the point of view of resource productivity.
When talking about increasing efficiency in factories, many aim at enhancement of labor productivity
(using the least labor to achieve maximum production).
However, I think that it has become important to improve resource productivity (using the least resource to achieve maximum productivity).