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show preview | Sustainability

Right: Reduced waste in

materials handling

contributes to improved

sustainability, says AZO

of tools as well. We see that as a major contribution to the efficient use of resources.” In common with many partners in the Blue Compe-

tence initiative, Aust sees the pressure for more sustainable operation coming from the top. “The big firms among our customers, like Bosch or Nestlé for example, are increasingly insisting on evidence of sustainability. There is also a growing trend for certification. Small and medium-sized enterprises are not yet making such demands, but sustainability is gaining in importance among them too,” he explains. “Not all materials and designs are suitable for

ultrasonic welding. There are quite simply physical limits. Another point is that this technology costs more to buy than other welding machines. But ultrasonic welding makes economic sense once you are in the middle and especially the upper quality range,” says Aust.

pass on the cost savings quickly to the customer. For those of our customers who buy electric drives, we aim for a return on investment of three years,” he says. Looking ahead 10 to 20 years, Brettnich says

Centre: Thomas Brettnich,

Sumitomo SHI Demag

– Plastics

manufacturers are under

enormous cost pressure

Lower right: Volker Aust, Hermann

Ultraschall - Big firms are insisting on evidence of


all-electric drive technology will become the standard for injection moulding machines. However, the rate of conversion will not be the same in every global market. “The pace of change will not be the same in all parts of the world: it will be faster in Asia and the US but slower in Europe. That is because we have a long tradition of hydraulic drives in Europe,” he says. The ultrasonic welding technology

marketed by Hermann Ultraschall already places it at a considerable advantage over other thermal welding techniques in terms of energy use, says Volker Aust, head of product management at the company. However, the company aims to further improve its effectiveness. “We are, for example, currently

working on optimising the welding tools. These are made mainly of titanium. It is a material with out- standing vibrational properties, but it is also very expensive. We are, therefore, designing blanks that leave less waste when machined. The material savings can be as much as 35%,” he says. “We have already produced this level of improvement for one of our tool types. Our aim is to achieve savings with other types

46 INJECTION WORLD | September 2013

Engaged with the environment Concerns over sustainability have not arrived on the scene suddenly but are in fact part of a longstanding but developing trend, says Rainer Zimmermann, director of automated bulk handling plant manufacturer AZO. “For quite some time now, we have been engaging with environmental protection issues, rising raw material and energy prices, the problem of dwindling resources and regulatory requirements. They have become an established part of our company’s philosophy. This has two consequences for us: we develop and build energy- efficient systems for our customers. At the same time, we seek sustainability in our own production facilities,” he says. In the first of these categories

– products – Zimmermann points to the company’s ShuttleDos system, which doses and weighs ingredients auto- matically in a contained system to

provide improved safety and reduced energy consumption. “The energy saving can be as much as 60%. There are other advantages apart from energy efficiency and absence of dust: we have

less waste, less effort is required for cleaning and there is less packaging to dispose of,” he says. Meanwhile, the company has also

targeted energy usage in its manufactur- ing operations. “Our new assembly centre opened in 2010. When deciding to make the investment, we set ourselves the target of cutting energy costs by 50%. We

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