Material and resource management
- One of the Schaeffler Group’s central aims is to use resources sparingly
- Material and energy requirements are taken into account at an early stage when designing production processes
Part of GNFK StartAt all locations that generate more than 25 tons of nonhazardous waste or two tons of hazardous waste per year, one waste representative must be appointed regardless of legal provisions. In addition to monitoring waste generation, collection and disposal, this representative’s responsibilities also include the development and introduction of low-waste, eco-friendly processes. Providers of disposal services are assessed in accordance with the requirements of the EnEHS manual. The type and frequency of assessment are dependent on whether the service provider disposes of hazardous waste, scrap, or nonhazardous waste.
locations have so far achieved 100 % Recycling
The main priority, however, should be to avoid waste wherever possible. If waste cannot be further reduced, it should be sent for approved recycling. Four locations have so far achieved “100 % Recycling” status by sending waste to be recycled in accordance with applicable law.
Another goal is to increase the recycling rate to such a degree that no more production-related waste needs to be disposed of. The aim is to achieve a recycling rate of 95 % across all waste categories. Each production site works with the same waste database for global reporting, and to document nearly all waste operations.Part of GNFK End
Using state-of-the-art technologies
Repairing and processing used components can save valuable resources and reduce costs, which is why the Schaeffler Group offers its customers tailored products and services. The company 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 and it also expects to save materials and conserve resources through additive manufacturing (AM). Also known as 3D printing, the manufacturing process includes many technologies that simplify manufacturing processes with metal and plastic. AM speeds up the designing of manufacturing processes and is particularly suitable for the flexible production of small batches. Flakes, which are the usual waste produced by traditional processes such as machining, are almost entirely avoided. The company manufactures more than 5,000 parts annually with AM in Herzogenaurach.
Rethinking proven processes
The Schaeffler Group is also working on new solutions for tool technologies. The high-energy forging process previously used was replaced with cold forming for several semifinished products. This production method eliminates the need for various follow-up processes, reduces CO2 emissions, and increases material efficiency.
Saving water in production
Part of GNFK StartThe scarcity of global water resources is steadily progressing. The issue of water was integrated into Schaeffler’s risk management in order to respond to potential water shortages in certain regions. The manufacturing sites that are located in areas with severe water shortages were identified based on the results of the World Research Institute (WRI). A variety of projects were planned for these sites to reduce water withdrawal and recycle withdrawn water using suitable circulatory systems and treatment plants.
Also developers make sure to use appropriate installations when it comes to planning new water-intensive production facilities. Existing locations are also being upgraded in accordance with technical and economic assessments. The plants treat the industrial wastewater in such a way that it can be reused or discharged into the public sewer system. The minimum standards for water recirculation are defined by local authorities. Independent laboratories regularly monitor compliance with the discharge limits.
In an effort to minimize water-related production risks by systematically reducing water dependence, a long-term goal for reducing the freshwater withdrawal by 20 % by 2030 was adopted in the reporting year. The water withdrawal1) fell significantly by around 16 %, from 5,783,781 m3 to 4,957,818 m3, partly due to effects of the coronavirus pandemic. One successful example is the plant in Taicang, China. The electroplating process associated with the coating systems generates a great deal of wastewater. For the purpose of reusing this wastewater, vacuum evaporation systems with membrane filters filtering out harmful substances from the water were installed in an electroplating system, thus achieving a recycling rate of nearly 90 %.
20 % reduction of freshwater supply by 2030SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
Locations that pose a risk to natural bodies of water must be operated in such a way that there is no fear of contamination of water or soil. However, if there is a leakage of fluids or unintended contamination, these are to be rectified immediately. Depending on the scope of damage, investigation measures are implemented under expert supervision and in coordination with local authorities. Additional measures are defined based on the assessment results.Part of GNFK End
1) Water withdrawal includes municipal and internal company water.