Hewlett Packard Caribe BV

Outside the Employee Center at the Hewlett Packard Caribe BV site in Aguadilla, PR, a modest structure that resembles the front of a garage serves as a constant reminder. In 1939, Stanford University classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP and built the company's first product — an audio oscillator — in a Palo Alto, CA, garage.

By James Silvestri, Managing Editor, Plant Engineering magazine December 10, 2004
Energy conservation
Waste management
Waste ink evaporation system
Environmental awards and recognition
Noise control: friendly neighbor
Indoor air quality
Plant expansion with zero impact on productivity
Focus on preventive/predictive maintenance
Performance measurement
Plant infrastructure
Top Plant
Plant Engineering Top Plant 2004
Real Estate and Workplace Services Facilities

Outside the Employee Center at the Hewlett Packard Caribe BV site in Aguadilla, PR, a modest structure that resembles the front of a garage serves as a constant reminder. In 1939, Stanford University classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP and built the company’s first product — an audio oscillator — in a Palo Alto, CA, garage.

Today, the garage continues to symbolize how the HP founders transformed their business, from humble beginnings, into a global enterprise. To reinforce reverence for the past, the HP-Puerto Rico staff has dubbed a group of meeting rooms as the “garage” — a place to create, invent, and problem solve.

Hewlett Packard Caribe BV, one of two sites recognized with Top Plant honors by PLANT ENGINEERING magazine, has certainly embraced innovation.


Two operations groups are centered at the Caribe BV site (Fig. 1).

Puerto Rico Manufacturing Operations (PRMO) seeks “to provide HP Worldwide with competitive manufacturing while maximizing the financial benefits associated with doing business in Puerto Rico.”

Ink Jet Supplies (ISB) Operations seeks “to accelerate value creation within the ink-jet division of HP.”

The Real Estate and Workplace Services Facilities Maintenance & Operation Group (REWS) is responsible for the overall maintenance and operations of the site utilities, building maintenance, systems operations, predictive maintenance, calibration group, spare parts, manufacturing Chambers maintenance and overall site systems engineering. The REWS (Fig. 2.) is also in charge of the Energy Conservation Program and the implementation of the Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Management System.

Energy conservation

HP takes a broad approach to energy conservation from the standpoint of electrical, mechanical, water, equipment maintenance, and instrumentation. In all, the site was able to reduce the amount of electrical energy consumption by 15% in daily usage compared to May 2001, which allowed HP to achieve a reduction of 1,900,000 kWh and a savings of $2,270,000. The site growth vs. average kWh/yr is illustrated in Fig. 3.

To help produce these results, HP utilizes motion/occupancy sensors, energy-efficient motors, T8 lamps with electronic ballasts, power factor correcting capacitors, and weekends/afterhours power management.

Mechanically, energy savings are achieved through a centralized chilled plant, high efficiency chillers, variable frequency drives for chillers and process water pumps, and compressed air and vacuum systems effective sequencing and operating settings.

In terms of water, HP recirculates air handler condensate back to the cooling towers, uses motion sensors in bathroom sinks and toilets, and relies on an effective chemical injection to cooling towers makeup water system.

By increasing cooling tower concentration cycles and reusing condensate water from air handling units, waste ink evaporator, air compressors, dryers, and vacuum pumps, water consumption was reduced by 25,000 gal per day.

Equipment maintenance has bolstered the energy conservation efforts via the use of preventive maintenance software, several predictive maintenance technologies (including infrared, ultrasound, vibration analysis, and oil analysis) root-cause analysis of unscheduled downtimes, and measurement of equipment downtime.

Instrumentation includes a calibration program for all sensors and equipment settings, use of a system to monitor, control, and operate the site utilities, area temperature settings, and variable air volume boxes to supply air conditioning.

HP also uses a combination of biodiesel and diesel fuel to power the emergency generators, thus reducing by 6% the sulfur content of the combustion emissions.

Waste management

Also responsible for air emissions, ergonomics, and electrical safety, the Environmental, Health, and Safety Management System adheres to the notion that waste management doesn’t just create an expense; it should be a center of profitability.

HP earns $2.6 million annually from recycling alone, while reducing waste compactor disposal costs from $150,000 to $50,000.

In 2003, HP generated 6.6 million lb of waste, 80% of which was recuperated, reused, or recycled. The site recycled 719 tons of paper and cardboard in 2003, 571 tons in 2002, and 263 tons of metal and electronic equipment last year (Fig. 4). HP also recuperated 316 tons of wood/pallets.

An outsource company with 25 resources in place for management of waste and recyclables exists onsite, helping coordinate the shipment of more than 40 trailers of material for reuse and recycling.

Eighty-one percent of waste was diverted from industrial landfills in 2003 (Fig. 5.). This represents a monthly average of 219 tons in 2003 and 179 tons in 2002.

On a broader scale, a product-take-back program is being implemented in retail stores to help customers recycle and avoid landfill contamination.

The site has focused on reducing hazardous waste, as well. HP generates less than 2200 lb per month — an important fact considering there are no hazardous waste treatment facilities in Puerto Rico, and therefore, everything must be delivered to the U.S. for final disposition.

Waste ink evaporation system

The waste ink evaporation system was implemented in February 2001 at an initial cost of $140,000 for equipment and supporting systems, including tanks, pumps, and a control system. The payback occurred in less than one and a half years.

Cold Flash Evaporator System removes 450 gal of water per day, utilizing emission-free equipment that achieves 90% reduction in volume. (Fig. 6.).

HP sent 60,000 gal of ink concentrate back to the states last year for use. Concentrated waste ink doesn’t exhibit hazardous characteristics and is delivered to fuel blending for energy recovery. In 2002, HP recuperated 142,600 gal of water that was reused in cooling towers and processed 158,400 gal of waste ink.

Before 2001, 100% of waste ink was turned into a solid and placed into a landfill. HP disposed of 350,000 gal of ink to industrial landfill in 1999.

Environmental awards and recognition

HP has garnered recognition for its environmental efforts. In 2004, the site received the NAEP National Environmental Excellence Award for Best Available Environmental Technology (substitution of lead use in high-complexity electronic component manufacturing) and was accepted in the U.S. EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track Program. The EPA also recognized HP in 2003 with an Environmental Quality Award for energy conservation and waste management and ushered the site into the Waste Minimization Partnership Program.

Noise control: friendly neighbor

For emergency power generation, HP relies on 14 backup generators: 11-1600 kW, 1-500 kW at 480 V, and 2-1350 kW at 4160 V. Given the site’s close proximity to neighboring residents, noise control became a critical issue. HP’s solution to the problem was the installation of acoustic materials in the walls and duct attenuators, and hospital-grade mufflers for the generators. Acoustic louvers were also used to reduce noise levels. Total cost of the project was $400,000. HP obtains a reduction of 16 dBA in the environmental noise levels.

Indoor air quality

For indoor air quality, the plant employs a building automated system (BAS) to monitor and control the temperature and relative humidity parameters. All requirements and chemicals are evaluated by the Environmental, Health, and Safety Group and facilities engineer to identify and control associated risks, including IAQ imports.

Plant expansion with zero impact on productivity

A capital project that required plant engineering support and innovation was the expansion of Print Head Manufacturing (Fig. 7.), which creates the thermal head assembly component that receives the electrical input and controls the ink jet. The PHM new manufacturing rooms expansion and utilities infrastructure installation involved tie-ins and shutdowns for the new utilities systems, design, review, and capacity planning engineering, clean spaces rooms validation and certification, construction of daily support and supervision, and REWS personnel training and certification on new systems and room protocols.

The goal — to undergo expansion without any disruption to the existing processes — was realized during the two-phase project that was completed in two years. Cleanroom space for Phase 1 was 30,602 sq ft, and 23,472 sq ft for Phase 2. Between cleanroom spaces, drill room space, and support spaces and circulation, Phase I totaled 49,459 sq ft. Phase 2 was comprised of chemical storage, cleanroom spaces, and support spaces and circulation that totaled 36,365 sq ft.

Focus on preventive/predictive maintenance

HP’s commitment to preventive/predictive maintenance is evident by the percentage of manhours attributed to work processes.

More than 99% of maintenance work was planned and scheduled in 2003, compared to 48.55% in 2002. Schedule compliance for planned and scheduled work for predictive/preventive maintenance rose from 54% in 2002 to 88% in 2003, while work orders for emergency repairs dropped from 2% in 2002 to 0.15% in 2003. Work orders for predictive/preventive maintenance jumped from 42% in 2002 to 97% in 2003.

To assist in its preventive maintenance initiative, HP utilizes computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) that contains equipments technical information and maintenance job plans. This same CMMS is employed at all HP sites and allows for more effective work planning and scheduling processes. Standardization provides a valuable opportunity to access equipment history and maintenance information from one database, and HP Caribe BV has taken advantage of it. For example, when new air compressors were breaking down at several HP sites, news of the failure was shared across plants. The manufacturer was contacted, and after some deliberation, the issue was resolved.

Performance measurement

HP judges plant engineering organization performance on several criteria: operational budget compliance, equipment uptime compliance, timely and on-bud-get projects completion, CMMS performance metrics, EHS audit results, performance reports by internal and external parties, quality metrics attainable, and audit results.

The quality of plant engineering/maintenance work is measured through monthly preventive maintenance compliance, preventive/corrective manhours, calibration compliance, and downtime.


HP allocates 6.8% of the plant’s annual operating budget to training/education. Workforce Development Area strives to match business needs with training solutions in order to improve performance and skills. One recent training initiative was predictive maintenance, specifically an infrared training program that was offered to help technicians identify problems before a failure occurred. A few weeks after the training, technicians were called to check an electrical panel. Using the infrared camera, workers found damaged breakers, which were changed immediately after consulting and coordinating a small tools shutdown with the end user.

The site also provides Workwell ergonomic evaluation and training, a move that has helped reduce the number of ergonomics Occupational Safety and Health Administration cases from five to less than one in the last six years. Software is used to perform an ergonomic evaluation for all employees, and ergonomic OHSA cases have plummeted by 60% in comparison to 2000.

Plant infrastructure

A single 38-kV overhead line feeds two 10-MVA 38-kV/13-kV transformers. Power is delivered to each building through 13-kV/480-V step-down transformers. The chiller plant is fed by two 4160-V transformers. Site load is between 8200 and 9400 kVA.

Monthly kilowatthours consumption is between 4,750,000 and 5,200,000. Site power factor is 96.5%. The cost of energy in Puerto Rico is $0.11/kWh — one of the highest in the nation. All projects and savings initiatives are funded by HP using the &2 year payback ROI criteria.

Each building is equipped with full emergency backup power capable of producing 480 V using generators rated at 1600 kW each. Each of the critical office and manufacturing loads are backed up by uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) rating from 150 kVA to 500 kVA. There are a total of +2200 valve regulated lead acid (vrla) sealed batteries providing 10-15 minutes of backup time to each of the systems. Performance is being monitored by a battery diagnostic system that tracks each battery’s voltage cell, internal resistance, and temperature.

The chiller plant consists of two 1250-ton, two 1500-ton, and one 400-ton chillers; four 1500-ton cooling towers; and variable frequency drive (VFD) operated primary and secondary chiller and condenser pumps.

The rooftop contains 50 HVAC units ranging from 200 to 50,000 scfm, with peak HVAC load at 3600 tons.

To provide compressed dry air to manufacturing, there are 10 compressor units ranging from 700-1500 cfm. Several 700-scfm units and three 500-scfm high-pressure units generate a vacuum.

Water is stored in one 150,000-gal underground tank and one 300,000-gal aboveground tank, in addition to two well water systems. The fire sprinkler tank consists of one 150,000-gal underground distribution and two diesel pumps. Diesel fuel is stored in several aboveground steel tanks totaling 125,000 gal.

Infrastructure is set up to operate the site at full backup for at least seven days in the event of major utility outages (water or power), hurricanes, or other acts of God. The facility is designed and constructed to withstand winds up to 150 mph in case of severe conditions created by tropical storms or hurricanes.

Top Plant

For its demonstrated outstanding performance in the support of corporate business objectives, the Hewlett Packard Caribe BV site is being recognized as a PLANT ENGINEERING Top Plant for 2004.

Plant Engineering Top Plant 2004

Name : Hewlett Packard Caribe BV

Location : Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Founded : 1980

Employees : 2300

Plant size : 827,000 sq ft facility

Total plant site : 68 acres

Products : Puerto Rico Manufacturing Operations (PMRO) – printed circuit assemblies, Laser Jets, network servers, and CD/DVD.

Ink Jet Supplies (ISB) Operations – inkjet cartridges for DeskJet and JetCopy products.

Facilities organization


Mechanical/electrical/other engineers

Project engineers/manager

Maintenance planners

First-line supervisors

Materials management/stores

Administrative support

Direct maintenance (leads, crafts)

Plant managers : PMRO – Lucy Crespo

ISB – Chiqui Santos

Real Estate and Workplace Services Facilities

Maintenance & Operation Group is divided into several groups:

Maintenance & Operation Group is responsible for the overall maintenance and operations of the site utilities and manufacturing equipment.

Calibration Group is responsible for the calibration and validation of equipment and systems needing to be calibrated due to process requirements, codes and regulations, and energy efficiency requirement.

Building Maintenance Group is responsible for the overall site buildings housekeeping in terms of painting, floor repairs, wall conditions, and ceiling tiles.

Spare Parts Group is responsible for storing and maintaining the required identified spare parts for all equipment, systems, and building items.

System Engineers Group is responsible for the overall site capacity planning strategy, reviewing maintenance job plans, ensuring site operations are effectively managed, designing and supporting the implementation of projects impacting the site utilities or special manufacturing tools installations. The organization is subdivided into four major divisions: Mechanical, Instrumentation and Calibration, Electrical, and Water.