There is an increasing industrial will to create a circular and sustainable production. Some companies have already gotten quite far at it, often by using optimization as an important tool. Collaborating with Stena Recycling in Sweden, Electrolux Professional AB has secured an overall take on sustainability, from guiding documents to refined work procedures on the production floor.
Creating a lean production is important from several different viewpoints, not the least when you want to make sure there are no unnecessary rejects or production spill. That approach is becoming vital out of a sustainability perspective. Saving material, reusing it and in the end recycling it is essential when creating a circular economy.
The business approach
Electrolux has globally set out to be part of the journey towards a sustainable future, setting global goals for the company’s general approach. After going through possible ways to handle and reach the goals. One conclusion was to change the general viewpoint from just handling waste into the prevention of waste, reusing and sustainable recycling of the residuals.
To achieve the goals Electrolux Professional AB put together a team from different parts of the organization (productions, purchasing and environment), to work together with specialists from Stena Recycling. Since then, the team have worked to raise awareness and understanding in the area of sustainability. Training staff, scrutinizing production lines and looking into material handling are just a few of the projects underhand.
Helping Electrolux Professional succeed
A holistic point of view of things is crucial for professional optimization within the industry. Avoid one project at a time. See the whole picture and try to have a whole set of solutions. This can help you achieve much better optimization results, than each project by their own.
So, the main key to the Electrolux Professional AB’s success so far is that there are many different projects, covering most of the value chain of materials. Below you can read a bit more on some of them.
Laser cutting is a big part in the production of industrial washing machines. The team did a study on how to reduce the leftovers of metal plating after cutting, accomplishing a decrease with about 45-52 tons annually of highly expensive metals. This also means a lower material cost as there is a lesser need of raw material.
Stena Recycling worked with the Electrolux staff to reduce their time transporting bins and containers through the factory. As many other companies, Electrolux Professional had one central point for waste disposal. This can easily be done in a more efficient way. Analyzing the work flow of ten of the staff, we saw that an employee in general would save about 20 minutes per shift/day. Having three shifts in every department, with about 35-40 people in every production shift, this would significantly increase production rates. It also improves the work place staff health, as it means less heavy lifting and more ergonomic solutions for transporting the waste.
Refining recycling materials
With a possibility to analyze every waste flow, Stena Recycling refined and sorted out recyclable materials from the mixed waste bins. After that Electrolux received a recommendation of which materials to sort out and how to do so. Now different kinds of paper and metals are not put in mixed material containers.
Stena Recycling analyzed the total weight of material transported in each container and came up with an improved transportation plan. This optimizes the overall amount of transports. At the same time the size of containers for some materials are reduced.
Apart from the above, Electrolux Professional (with the support from Stena Recycling) also holds a company Environmental day, continuously train staff, reuse certain materials, work with design for recycling and much more.