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Using Resources Carefully: Comprehensive environmental protection at Pilz
At Pilz, looking after the environment is a core part of the corporate philosophy. . With the solar-powered building climate control system recently put into operation, the company now also has sustainable ways to use energy.
At Pilz, sparing use of natural resources starts in the Central Purchasing department. Here, right at the start of the logistics chain, the company lays the foundations for active environmental protection. Purchasing guidelines designed to comply with the environmental requirements laid out in REACH (the future European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use) and RoHS (European Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) and evaluation of suppliers also on the basis of their environmental performance ensure that components and parts satisfy the relevant environmental standards.
Concern for the environment is also very much to the fore in the development of products. Already during development, issues are addressed such as whether a product can be designed more compactly so that, ultimately, energy and materials can be saved.
It is easy to think that this should be a simple matter, but once components start to get very compact they must not consume large amounts of energy. Otherwise they would get too hot. The PNOZsigma, for example, has been designed according to these criteria. The relay only uses increased amounts of energy during start-up, but during operation the energy saving circuitry comes into play. This ensures that overheating is impossible, and the desired energy saving effect is achieved.
Environmentally friendly manufacturing
Designing products to be environmentally friendly is just one side of the coin. The other is to manufacture them in a way which is environmentally sound. At Pilz, the implementation of environmentally aware production guidelines starts in the Production Engineering area: auxiliary materials are carefully selected according to their environmental compatibility. The use of unleaded solder for example is implemented on a voluntary basis in accordance with the RoHS guidelines. The alcohol-free, water-based flux materials for cleaning the circuit boards also contribute to this. In terms of environmental protection, this also means that fewer hazardous substances are stored in the company. Overflow troughs safeguard this storage so that potential risk of ground contamination is eliminated from the start.
Production itself is designed to be environmentally friendly, with sparing use of resources. For example, waste heat is used to operate the ventilation and air conditioning system. With the aid of heat exchangers, large amounts of energy can be saved in this case.
CO2 under control
Pilz is doing a number of things to reduce the company's carbon footprint: focusing lighting is one way to reduce CO2 emissions – without compromising the minimum brightness requirements stipulated for the workplace. Presence monitors ensure that the light is only switched on when it is actually needed. However, the biggest savings in terms of CO2 emissions have been made with the climate control technology which was taken into operation in 2008 and features state-of-the art engineering. The entire Peter Pilz Technology Centre is both heated and cooled via a solar heat plant. Energy efficiency has been significantly improved with the new system. Another measure is the gas heating which has been optimized with a new condensing boiler, which is now capable of heating two buildings at the same time.
Protecting the environment means taking responsibility
Today, every company also has a responsibility to other people and to the environment. Pilz understands this responsibility. This is why Pilz employees are sensitized for environmental concerns with the aid of various media, including for example the Intranet and special training sessions. This is because efficient environmental protection measures must be comprehensive.