Material and resource management

  • One of Schaeffler’s central aims is to use resources sparingly
  • Material and energy requirements are taken into account at an early stage when designing production processes

Avoiding waste

Part of GNFK StartWaste should be avoided above all. If the waste cannot be reduced beyond a certain level, it should be sent for approved recycling. The aim is to achieve a recycling rate of 95% across all waste categories at all production sites. A waste database has been in use since 2019 and forms the basis for worldwide waste reporting. All Schaeffler Group manufacturing sites are required to use this database to document all waste operations.Part of GNFK End

“Zero Waste to Landfill” factory successfully piloted

Schaeffler Brazil has already achieved this in its own project. Before its launch in March 2018, 62 tons of waste had to be disposed of in a landfill every month. An interdisciplinary team explored possible alternatives, introduced a separate waste treatment system, and instructed employees on how to use it. As a result, no more waste had to be disposed of at the landfill (Zero Waste to Landfill) by February 2019.

Repairing, processing, and testing with virtual components

Repairing and processing used components can save valuable resources and reduce costs. Schaeffler offers its customers tailor-made products and services for this purpose. These include, for example, reprocessed components in original part quality and a digital system for predictive maintenance of technical equipment.

Schaeffler also contributes to material efficiency through the use of simulation technology and virtual engineering. Many test series for product adjustments are now being carried out virtually by the company. This saves material as test series with actual components are no longer needed.

Schaeffler also expects to save materials and conserve resources through (AM). Also known as 3D printing, the manufacturing process includes many technologies that simplify manufacturing processes. AM speeds up the designing of manufacturing processes and is particularly suitable for the flexible production of small batches. It avoids the usual waste from traditional processes like machining. Every year, Schaeffler produces around 5,000 parts in Herzogenaurach via additive manufacturing.

Saving water in production

Schaeffler strives to further reduce water consumption at all locations worldwide year after year. Despite its recent growth, the company’s water consumption decreased slightly by 5.0%. In the course of the revision and new formulation of the environmental goals, various water initiatives were included to reduce the consumption of fresh water and reuse treated wastewater. The design of the production facilities plays an important role in reducing water consumption. In planning new plants with a high need for water, for example, the developers generally anticipate the construction of reprocessing facilities. Existing plants are being upgraded in accordance with technical and economic assessments. For example, the electroplating (electrochemical surface coating) production area requires large quantities of water. In order to reduce water consumption in this area, the used rinse water is processed by means of ion exchangers and returned to the operating process.

Part of GNFK startWater consumption, waste, and recycling rate









Water consumption includes municipal and internal company water.


Recycled or recovered amount of total waste, excluding metals and scrap.

Part of GNFK end

Water consumption in m³1)







Recycling rate2), Germany, in %







Amount of waste, Germany, in t







“Factory for Tomorrow”

Part of GNFK StartWhen designing production processes, relevant environmental issues such as material and energy demands are taken into account comprehensively and at an early stage. In order to combine and further intensify the sustainability activities in the production environment, Schaeffler defined the additional work focus “Sustainable Factory” in August 2018 as part of the program for the future for the “Factory for Tomorrow” (F4T) initiative. This workstream includes 21 subprojects on the topics of energy generation and consumption reduction, resource efficiency, production systems, employee mobility, and material transport. Auditing and certification systems for buildings were also included. In addition, the projects in the workstream include the creation of worldwide standards within the topics mentioned. In the subproject “Alternative Drive Concepts”, benchmarks are carried out in order to determine the most viable drive concept for Schaeffler intralogistics vehicles. The division has been responsible for the “Sustainable Factory” workstream since 2019.

One-time subprojects of the “Sustainable Factory”, such as “Wastewater-free Factory” and “Zero Waste to Landfill” were reassessed and continued in an adapted forms (see the chapter on avoiding waste above). Those projects aim to make plants independent in terms of waste and wastewater in the future. Also noteworthy is the “On Campus Transportation” project. The company wants to use its own solutions such as the E-Board, , or Schaeffler Mover in the operating areas of its locations to transport passengers and materials for this purpose. Another project is dedicated to the sustainable manufacturing machine of the future.Part of GNFK End

In a first phase, the project team looked at existing sustainability activities in the manufacturing sector from energy supply and use to maintenance and tool changes to material and passenger transportation. The goal is to be able to network and monitor relevant machines in a single system. In addition, uniform standards for the interface to the hall infrastructure are to be developed, both for internally and externally produced machines. On the one hand, this is achieved through a uniform standard for the pipe systems. On the other hand, the various teams are working on a connection solution so that all machines can be connected to the hall infrastructure in a uniform manner. Schaeffler has set itself the concrete goal of realizing the “digital, semiautonomous, and sustainable factory” by 2021 at a production site as part of a pilot project.

At individual locations, solutions for the sustainable “production of the future” are taking shape more and more. For example, a pilot project for holistic energy management was started at the Austrian plant in Berndorf. In 2018, together with the project managers from the central energy management, the responsible site managers developed a concept for a condition monitoring system to digitally monitor the condition of the machines and to control the resources, for example, the coolant supply, as required.

They also defined for energy consumption, vibration values, and other metrics. The employees concerned will be trained to operate the new technology. The intermediate results include KPI monitoring – for example, kWh per part produced, visualizations, and solutions for a needs-based media supply. The will be used directly to control the processes in the production area. The current and future results in the areas of energy management, predictive maintenance, and data analytics will also be used to make the condition monitoring system usable for greenfield and brownfield projects (new factory builds and renovations).

More information on the “Factory for Tomorrow” is available at:

Additive manufacturing
Process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material, for instance in the form of fine powder.
Agenda 4 plus One
The Schaeffler Group’s program for the future to help execute the strategy “Mobility for tomorrow”. It includes the five categories Customer focus, Operational excellence, Financial flexibility, Leadership and talent management, as well as Securing long-term competitiveness and value creation. A total of 20 strategic initiatives that have significance worldwide and have been selected from a variety of initiatives are in turn assigned to these categories.
Abbreviation of “Sustainability, Environment, Health and Safety”: This department is part of the Human Resources function and is, among other things, responsible for sustainability management at Schaeffler.
Abbreviation of “electric mobility”: mobility that is powered by electricity. This includes electric and hybrid vehicles. Ranging from high-voltage hybrid modules and electric axles through to wheel hub motors – the Schaeffler Group offers a broad range of products for the age of electrified powertrain architectures
The Bio-Hybrid is a further developed e-bike with weather protection as well as luggage compartment. It is designed to cope with the increasing traffic volume in urban conurbations.
Abbreviation of “Key Performance Indicator”: performance indicator that measures the progress or the degree of achievement of key objectives.
Abbreviation of “Key Performance Indicator”: performance indicator that measures the progress or the degree of achievement of key objectives.