Environmental and energy management in the Schlemmer Group
11 Jul 2018
Interview with Josef Minster, CEO & President of the Schlemmer Group
Mr. Minster, what does environmental and energy management mean for the Schlemmer Group?
We take the issue of environmental and energy management very seriously and see ourselves as a technology company committed to a particularly conscientious approach to nature. Environmental protection is anchored in all our corporate activities, beginning with material selection and product development. Specifically, this means that we rely on environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, recycling aspects and energy-saving technologies - at every one of our production sites worldwide.
How important is environmental awareness in the Schlemmer Group?
Sustainability is an integral part of our corporate culture. This is also reflected in our certifications: since 2002, we have been certified to the international standard ISO 14001, and since 2014 to ISO 50001 as well as various energy audits. Through our certifications and the successful introduction and maintenance of the Schlemmer Process Management (SPM) and our certified environmental management system according to DIN EN ISO 14001, we underline the importance of environmental protection at Schlemmer.
Our actions and our corporate culture are also characterised by responsible cooperation and mutual respect, which are the primary pillars in every regard - also in our dealings with our environment.
What environmentally friendly activities does the Schlemmer Group implement?
We attach particular importance to the fact that sustainability is already taken into account when selecting materials. That is why we use regranulates in production. These are recyclable plastics that are produced in the production process. These regranulates are developed together with customers, according to the requirement, and the supplier. Compared to new material, the quality, processing, packaging and logistics of regranulates are equivalent. Moreover, they contribute to a more positive life cycle assessment of the end products. In 2017, the proportion of regranulates totalled 17 per cent, and the trend is rising. In 2018, we will save 15,000 tonnes of CO2 due to the use of regranulates. This means that we neutralise the output of 7,500 cars travelling 15,000 km a year.
We also pay special attention to sustainable technologies in production, one example being the MuCell® process. This is an established injection moulding process for producing precisely fitting plastic components based on microcellular foam structures. Special advantages of this method include a reduction in material use and component weight by up to ten percent with constant or improved material properties. The high dimensional stability of the components ultimately leads to an increased life of the products.
Our Luma-Tec joint venture focuses on energy optimisation in the development of proprietary machines and plants. For example, energy savings of 60 per cent have been achieved in the development of thermal ovens from the first to the third generation.
In addition, we consistently pursue process optimisation of the materials used (for example, a reduction in scrap) and implement energy-optimised equipment for manufacturing our products.
Measures to achieve the most environmentally friendly production are a matter of course, but our aim is to raise the environmental awareness of all employees. For example, practical environmental tips for the office are published on the intranet, and employees are encouraged to be environmentally conscious in everyday life.
We are convinced that sustainable business will secure the future of our company. Therefore, it is only logical that sustainability is a core belief of the Schlemmer Group.
How are the environmental goals pursued and implemented by management?
In order to achieve the defined environmental goals and the implementation of environmental protection measures, a core environmental management team was formed directly below the decision-making level of the management. This core team consists of specialists from different fields. They deal with all tasks of the management system and are responsible for monitoring and tracking the measures.
This ensures that our environmental goals are continuously pursued and that our operational environmental protection is improved.