2022 Press Releases

August 05, 2022

Western Digital Given the Honor of being Asia’s First World Economic Forum Sustainability Lighthouse

Western Digital’s Malaysian-based Batu Kawan plant in Penang has been dubbed as a Sustainability Lighthouse by the World Economic Forum. A vertically integrated smart factory model and 4IR technologies such as loT sensors, digital twin modelling, analytics-powered plant management systems and lights-out automation with machine learning have allowed the site to reduce energy consumption by 41%, water consumption by 45% and waste by 16% while growing at a CAGR of 43% over the last four years.

One of the 103 manufacturing facilities and value chains adopting the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology to improve operational performance and environmental sustainability has been designated as a “Sustainability Lighthouse” by the World Economic Forum, the first of its kind in Asia.

“Seeing how Lighthouses are achieving both sustainability and business goals, or eco-efficiency is awe-inspiring while the globe faces numerous issues. In Order to continue illuminating the path forward for the global manufacturing community, we need them to continue shaping a responsible future of manufacturing that works for people, society and the environment,” Head of Shaping Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains, Francisco Betti spoke about this at the World Economic Forum.

Enno de Boer, Partner, McKinsey & Company and Global Lead of its manufacturing work added: It’s more important than ever before to have a resilient supply chain and to produce products responsibly in the face of global political issues. It is clear from the 103 sustainable Lighthouses on the map that digital technologies have a significant impact on the sustainability of the value chain, as well as the environment and people. It used to be the case that efficiency was sacrificed in the name of sustainability and resilience, but that is no longer the case. Companies today have digital playbooks and tech tools at their fingertips that can improve their operations in terms of flexibility, agility and long-term viability and sustainability. The formula for smart manufacturing may be achieved with the use of these technologies, which enhance human capabilities, create sustainability breakthroughs, and accelerate technology revolution.

"Western Digital understands the growing urgency of a coordinated and collaborative effort to tackle climate change, and we are dedicated to leading sustainability efforts wherever we operate. The fact that we have been named the first Asian Sustainability Lighthouse by the World Economic Forum is a testament to the ESG initiatives we have implemented at our Batu Kawan Penang site through the adoption of 4IR technologies, and we intend to maintain our focus and momentum in this area,” stated the Senior Vice President of Western Digital’s Global Flash Back-End Operations, Mr. KL Bock.

Western Digital’s Batu Kawan site has implemented numerous techniques in keeping with the company’s sustainability aims such as the Lights-Out production idea, which transforms entire manufacturing systems through the use of modern 4IR technologies. This notion allows the site to lower the amount of energy it consumes per unit produced by creating an atmosphere where production operations may run more efficiently without the lights on. Using an innovative Building Monitoring System (BMS) and a proprietary optimizing model, the facility can successfully regulate its energy use.

In addition, Western Digital Batu Kawan deployed algorithm-based control models to conserve water and recycle wastewater created by its operations through a multi-layer recycling system. Real-time testing and conversion to re-usable water for operations reduce the amount of water used per unit produced.

The Batu Kawan site focuses on renewable energy as well. One MW/hour of solar energy is generated on the rooftop of the second building that was designed and built to provide all the site’s power needs. The Malaysia Green Building Index (GBI) certification was made possible as a result of these coordinated efforts.