Allit AG Kunststofftechnik in Bad Kreuznach ensures climate-neutral production and material cycle
Depending on how you look at it, plastic does not always have the best reputation in the public perception. But without it, many things of daily use could hardly be produced and manufactured. The plastics processing industry in particular has made great efforts and investments in recent years to produce in a more sustainable, energy-saving and resource-saving way. We visited Allit AG Kunststofftechnik in Bad Kreuznach to find out how to ensure sustainability in this industry.
An essential point is the consumption of energy. For the power supply, the company is increasingly relying on photovoltaic systems. Elements with a total output of 1,600 kWp* have already been installed on the roofs of the production halls. By the end of 2023, these will be increased by a further 1,500 kWp* (*kWp=the abbreviation kWp used in photovoltaics stands for kilowatt-peak). It indicates the maximum output in kilowatts (kW) that a photovoltaic system can produce). The heat supply for all buildings is mainly provided by air heat and water heat pumps. Only in extremely cold periods does their output have to be supplemented by other heating systems. In addition, the waste heat generated in the production process by the necessary cooling of machines and tool moulds is used. The water heat pumps distribute this heat energy to the buildings.
For the operation of the injection moulding machines used in production, hydraulic drives were mainly used in earlier years, which permanently maintained the necessary pressure for the machines in continuous operation. The energy requirement was correspondingly high. In the meantime, much more efficient systems with switchable electrical units are available, which produce in a much more energy-saving way while maintaining the high quality. This also includes the use of the latest developments in control technology. These measures make it possible to steadily reduce energy consumption per tonne of granulate raw material from year to year, despite continued growth and increased output in production. Another contribution to sustainability is that parts that are still qualitatively impaired when the machines are started up, or that are not yet in the correct colour, are increasingly reintroduced into the production process through re-granulation, if product properties and customer specifications allow. These processes, which can be regarded as recycling, can save a considerable amount of primary raw materials. Post-consumer recycling (PCR) materials are also increasingly used, again where product or market specifications allow.
Packaging is a key issue when it comes to waste prevention. At Allit, FSC-certified cardboard packaging is being used to an increasing extent and attention is being paid to reducing the use of stretch film. This also includes the increased use of recycled packaging material to support the cycle of materials, which is part of sustainability. For some customers, there is also a take-back offer for e.g. reusable transport containers or for plastic material to be regranulated and reused in new articles of daily use.
The measures listed so far represent only part of the spectrum with which Allit AG Kunststofftechnik ensures sustainability and climate protection in its production. And these measures do not end inside the factory halls. The employees also use emission-free means of transport on the company's outdoor premises and in the immediate vicinity, mostly by bicycle or electric car. Along an approximately 1.5 km long stretch on the banks of the Nahe River, Allit regularly maintains about six hectares of meadows. About 10,000 square metres of flower meadows have been created and more than 100 trees with a trunk circumference of already about 15cm have been planted.
Allit is particularly proud to have achieved the silver medal in the EcoVadis (ecovadis.com) sustainability rating in June 2023. The sustainability topics of environment, labour & human rights, ethics/corporate governance and sustainable procurement are assessed.
Sustainability in industry thus takes many forms. It is not only about saving energy, but also about many other ideas and projects, in which not least the employees are involved, in order to strengthen the awareness for environmental and climate protection as a whole.
© abo-media, Rhein-Zeitung
More about the implementation of the Allit sustainability concept can be found on the web at www.allit.de/unternehmen/nachhaltigkeit.