Environmental protection in our products and production processes
As an industrial business, the quality of our products and production processes is a top priority. But it is equally important that the products reflect our responsibility for the environment. We steadily reduce energy consumption, waste, emissions and water contamination. It goes without saying that the environmental policy at Lenze also requires adherence to ecological regulations, or environmental compliance.
We assess the status quo as part of our environmental and energy management system, analyse opportunities and risks and give due consideration to the increasingly vital issue of energy. The implementation of the European Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27 is just one example of this, and it radiates outward to our production sites outside the European Union as well. Each year, we launch environmental programmes and define clear environmental goals, which include energy efficiency as one of the integral components worldwide. We conduct internal environmental assessments on an annual basis to analyse adherence to our own standards and the Lenze environmental policy as a whole. Our environmental and energy management system is audited on a regular basis around the world. Six of our eight plants are already certified according to the international environment standard ISO 14001.
We take care to ensure maximum energy and resource efficiency in the development of our products. And we do so not just because ecological design for electrical drive systems is now required by law. It’s also because we save materials, produce more efficiently and allow our customers to benefit from reduced energy consumption and lower costs. For example, we managed to introduce massive reductions in the wall thickness of our gearboxes. We also eliminated from our portfolio products like worm gearboxes that no longer satisfy modern standards of efficiency. Our products also adhere to the relevant regulations on harmful substances (including REACH and RoHS). We do not use solder with lead contents for electronic components or manufacturing processes, and we have managed to significantly reduce solvent consumption and drying temperatures through the application of high-solid lacquer in the coating process. Our gearboxes are now delivered to customers unpainted by default. This makes a considerable contribution to the careful use of resources at our locations and in the products themselves. In doing so, we raise awareness for environmental protection among our customers as well.
We also use smart drive dimensioning as a means of achieving the climate protection targets enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Selecting the most suitable drive system enables considerable savings. An Energy Performance Certificate is integrated within our Drive Solution Designer dimensioning software to provide a clear overview of the energy consumption and potential savings. The software can be used to calculate the precise amortisation period for investments in drive solutions.
We are glad to pass on our knowledge and experience in the field of environmental protection. This is why Lenze is involved in a number of technical committees and initiatives. We work on standards for the dimensioning of drive units in the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association VDMA, as well as on the current EU “Circular Economy Package” within ZVEI, the German electrical and electronics manufacturers’ association. We are also members of the Sustainability Alliance in Lower Saxony and the industrial initiative KlimaExpo in North Rhine-Westphalia. Moreover, we received an award for the findings of a joint project with Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, which involved the development and testing of energy-efficient drive and control technologies for logistics centres.
We are aiming to reduce our energy costs by 20% by 2020. These measures shall be implemented as part of the Lenze energy efficiency offensive (LEO). It is now within reach thanks to many individual projects.
Among them is Lenze’s involvement in an initiative by the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Chamber of Industry and Commerce to educate apprentices in issues of energy and resource efficiency. Following special training within the company, the energy scouts look for potential ways to save energy and then assist with their implementation.
Pupils of schools in the region visit the Lenze headquarters in Hamelin during the annual Future Day, where one of the things they learn is how old electronic devices are dismantled. This raises awareness of important issues such as the sustainable use of resources and the prevention of electronic scrap.
We also ensure that our employees are regularly updated on the topic of environmental protection and energy saving. Environment boards, for example, are firmly embedded as part of the LEAN management, providing relevant information on how each department protects the environment. Reports on environmental protection also regularly appear on the intranet and in the employee magazine “transmission”.
Our bee project took our environmental protection efforts to a new level in May 2018. Three colonies of 50,000 bees were set up on the company grounds at our location in Hamelin. So Lenze has expanded its environment programme to include species protection as well. At the same time, the bees contribute to maintaining the ecological balance, namely by pollinating wild flowers and helping them to flourish. This measure is just a first step, as there are plans to introduce increasing numbers of sustainable infrastructures and company procedures that reflect the national sustainability strategies as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The bee project will be gradually expand in other locations in a variety of countries.