“E3: Economy — Energy — Environment”

Founded in 1972, Northwire, Inc.  (NWI) is a woman-owned small business with locations in Nevada, Wisconsin and New Mexico.  The Santa Teresa, NM facility is strategically situated near the Mexico and El Paso, TX border.  Northwire has built a solid reputation as one of the leading specialty cable manufacturers in the USA and abroad.


The New Mexico facility manufactures custom technical wire and cable and provides contract manufacturing for diverse applications in life sciences, energy, industrial, aerospace and defense industries.


An ISO 9001:2008 certified company, Northwire ships to customers worldwide. NWI Team members are committed to excellence by empowering people to think and communicate ideas that benefit both the customer and the company. Northwire is also certified to AS 9100C:2009, ISO 13485:2003 and compliant to ISO 17025.


The Situation

NWI has a long history of environmental responsibility to preserve and protect the planet’s resources. NWI continuously explores new ways to implement strong environmental commitments in each of its facilities. Reducing their environmental footprint is a key corporate goal.  NWI is currently researching  the ISO 14000 environmental standard as part of its continuous improvement efforts.


The Solution

NWI was contacted by Christopher Campbell from the New Mexico State University Institute for Energy & Environment Resources Center to see if they would be interested in participating in an E3 site assessment.  E3 is a technical assistance framework that works with communities, manufacturers, and manufacturing supply chains to adapt and thrive in today’s green economy.


E3 addresses Economy, Energy and the Environment by conducting technical assessments and offering practical, sustainable approaches that manufacturers can incorporate into their operations.


The E3 team was formed by technical staff from New Mexico and Texas, both affiliates of the NIST/Manufacturing Extension Partnership. This group of trainers conducted   a customized technical assessment to reduce energy consumption, minimize carbon footprints, prevent pollution, increase productivity, and drive innovation throughout the facility.


The E3 training included classroom training followed by due diligence on the production floor. A cross-functional team including quality, maintenance, managers and production staff identified various wastes as they followed the product throughout its flow in the facility.


Lights Out!

One of many initiatives the team discussed was the cost effectiveness of turning off a portion of the overhead lights. The team surmised they could reduce energy consumption in the production areas. Sky lights were already in place throughout the facility but; could they provide enough lighting?  Unexpectedly, power went off in the building.  The team observed the skylights provided more than adequate day lighting to the impacted area and concluded that on sunny days Northwire could keep overhead lights off, saving around $5000 per year!


During the power outage, the team was also able to locate and tag over 13 compressed air leaks to save an additional $4500 per year. The electrical savings were also converted into CO2 reductions.


The team also noticed large amounts of water usage for landscaping. Analysis identified significant reduction of this precious resource would be in the best interest of the company, the community and its bottom line.


An innovative solution was implemented when the team analyzed ways to reduce the usage of rags in the production process. Disposed rags now serve as fuel for a local brick manufacturing facility further reducing environmental impacts!


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