We operate several manufacturing locations and it is in this area of our operations that we are able to most directly influence our environmental impact, improve working conditions for employees and create jobs for the local community.
Rawlplug principles for sustainable manufacturing
Across the business, we seek to implement the following principles in our manufacturing operations:
- Exercise due consideration for the use of natural resources, including initiatives to reduce water and energy consumption, and, where viable, identifying new sources of renewable energy
- To reduce waste at every stage of the production process
- To support and facilitate innovation wherever possible, especially in those areas that improve the efficiency of Rawlplug’s manufacturing operations
- To implement new, more-efficient technologies as and when they become viable
- Recycle (or send materials for recycling) wherever possible in order to ensure efficient and responsible use of natural resources
- Implementation of an ISO-certified Environment Management Systems (EMS)
- Rationalise our use of raw materials and adopt an environmentally responsible approach to waste management.
Commitment to efficient resource use
Technology and infrastructure are crucial assets for Rawlplug as we seek to make our operations more sustainable and environmentally responsible. Inefficient or outdated machinery or suboptimal production techniques can result in excessive quantities of natural resources being wasted. For this reason, we strive to ensure our manufacturing facilities adhere to industry best practices, thus enabling us to reduce resource consumption, operate more energy efficiently and reduce our reliance on manual labour and manual processes. This approach, combined with the rigorous monitoring of our manufacturing operations that we conduct today, is enabling Rawlplug to evolve our supply chain in a way that is making us more competitive, more environmentally responsible and more sustainable.
Rawlplug facilities – Koelner Łańcucka Fabryka Śrub
Location: Łańcut, Poland
Number of employees: 520
Core business: Production of screws, bolts and other fastening elements.
The Koelner Łańcucka Fabryka Śrub (Koelner Łańcucka Screw Factory), located in Łańcut, South-East Poland, is a division of Rawlplug that specialises in producing fastening elements for the construction, heavy machinery and automotive industries. Thanks to intensive efforts to improve our operations in the areas of steel processing and preparation, plastic mouldings, heat treatment and, above all, upgrades to production technology, this division of the company has been able to achieve the high standards set out for it by the quality and environment management systems that are in place.
To increase production efficiency, Rawlplug installed the state-of-the art 8 pieces of forging machines. This replacement equipment has had a measurable effect on efficiency and is part of a programme of machinery upgrades which will also reduce waste and improve working conditions.
Further modifications of the machine park followed during 2015 and into 2016. New machines were purchased to replace the older HPT6 machine type.
Taking care of the balance of the production chain, Łańcucka Fabryka Śrub has made a significant change to the process of preparing materials for forging processes. We installed a modern NB522 machine to a process for the cold forging of the M20 range up to 300 mm. Additionally, the introduction of state of the art compressors allows for the phasing out of the older HPT6 type machinery and an increase in efficiency in the production of the M12 range. This substantial technology upgrade has allowed us to increase efficiency, eliminate waste harmful to environment and achieve significant improvements in working conditions.
We have implemented a variety of measures that have helped to significantly improve the cost effectiveness of operations, bring stability to the production process and enable an all-new level of precision in how the heat treatment process is controlled, thereby enabling us to further reduce waste.
We also switched from electricity to gas as our primary energy source. By setting up two Can-Eng units, we were able to decommission several that had been powered using electricity. This change alone resulted in a 20% decrease in the volume of electricity consumed by the entire factory. In addition, we implemented a variety of heat recuperation solutions, enabling us to channel heat towards heating water for washing machinery and towards heating the production hall during the winter months. All of these measures resulted in a notable reduction in the factory’s utilities bill.
Started in 2014 and completed in 2015, the packing operations have been completely overhauled at the Koelner Łańcucka Screw Factory. The overhaul means that manual packing processes have been replaced with an automated system. This has helped us to improve the working conditions for employees, by reducing dependence on physical activity and has resulted in an improvement in operational efficiency.
In 2015 production began at a new surface treatment plant operating within the Łańcucka facility. The plant deals primarily with zinc flake coatings. The establishment of this new plant on site has allowed us to reduce the external transport of goods and cut the carbon footprint by 12 518.8kg of CO2 compared to 2014. In 2016 the production of 4,000 tons of coatings is planned, which will mean a minimum of 200 fewer road journeys to businesses in Germany and the Czech Republic, and an even greater reduction of the carbon footprint.
Rawlplug facilities – Rawlplug SA
Location: Wrocław, Poland
Number of employees: 416
Core business: Production of fastening devices and bonded and metal anchors. Positive changes to both the infrastructure and the production processes at the facility means that significant contributions have been made towards Rawlplug’s overall efficiency and sustainability.
One of our major investments in this area has been the Agiecharmilles Mikron VCE 1600 Pro machining centre. This investment has enabled us to improve the accuracy and precision of our production operations, without sacrificing efficiency or slowing down processes. What’s more, its modern features and ergonomic design have improved user safety and satisfaction.
Switching to synthetic oil in compressors
Perhaps the biggest recent change in production has been the exchange of mineral oil for synthetic compressor oil.
Mineral oil had a short life which led to the compressor running at a high temperature and an oil change being required every 4000 hours. This lowered machine efficiency and increased energy consumption; air under pressure was of a lower quality due to evaporating oil mixing with it. Frequent oil changes meant large amounts of waste oil. During production the application of mineral oil caused a higher consumption of oil separators, which had an impact on the frequency of failure. The switch to synthetic oil resulted in compressors working at lower temperatures, and with greater efficiency. This has reduced power consumption by 30%. In addition, the synthetic oil needs to be changed three times less than mineral oil. As a result less oil waste is produced. Synthetic oils can also be filtered, thus prolonging their life even more.
The use of thermoplastic cleaner for plastics industry
Another change we have implemented in the Injection Processing Department relates to production preparation. We now use a non-abrasive and chemical-free thermoplastic cleaner specially developed for the injection industry for use in the process of changing colors during changeovers.
The use of a cleaning agent which is safe, non-toxic and does not contain chemicals is in accordance with the FDA’s requirements and recommendations.
The use of this measure has allowed us to increase machine productivity and reduce the cost of changeovers. This has had huge influence on the average changeover time, reducing it from 16 hours to 4 hours. This is a clear and measurable increase in efficiency.
Expansion slot production NAP-01
We have modified the process of filling the resin in the production cell during manufacture. This has allowed us to introduce mass production of the new capacity cartridges side-by-side (3: 1 ratio) in a volume of 600ml with a new, innovative locking system. The modern design of the piston affects the provision of adequate tightness and the durability of the closing system. Modification of the process has reduced the time required for fixing and venting the system in the cartridge chamber by 30%, which directly results in an increased process efficiency and waste reduction.
Construction of the mold and spare parts warehouse
This investment enables us to store molds securely, ensuring full traceability with the ability to define on-line location, status and history.
Additionally, development of the spare parts warehouse has a positive impact on their availability, significantly increasing the transparency of their location.
Rawlplug facilities – FPiN Wapienica
Location: Bielsko-Biała, Poland
Number of employees: 200
Core business: Production of high-quality, professional-grade tools for wood and metal work.
Rawlplug has carried out activities at the Wapienica facility aimed at increasing the efficiency of production processes, improving safety and working conditions, protecting the environment and reducing the consumption of materials. In line with the approach we take at each of our sites, all aspects of production and operation are examined through the lens of sustainability.
For several years we have been carrying out the thermomodernisation of buildings at the facility. In 2014 another 700m2 were insulated and 20 windows replaced reducing heat loss and improving insulation. Similar work to increase the energy efficiency of our buildings continued in 2015. Also, in the interests of our employees’ welfare, we renovated the dining area making it possible to enjoy breaks and meals in a comfortable and restful atmosphere.
Rawlplug is constantly researching ways to upgrade its production processes. It is not surprising then that a number of new processes and ideas have recently been implemented which aim to improve safety, increase efficiency and production, and reduce waste and environmental impact.
An important aspect of our research and development has been in adapting products to the specific requirements of the customer. Matching their high professional standards with our own requires diligence and creativity. We know better than most the importance of quality in industrial applications. This is why we have rigorous testing procedures in place and we see the modification of tools and equipment to suit specific purposes as the best route to achieving greater and greater productivity and product quality. The creation and implementation of new solutions in technological processes is the kind of approach Rawlplug was founded on and we continue to lead the way.
Investment in the modernisation of our machine-cooling systems has resulted in a reduction in water consumption of over 60%. Additional upgrades to the reactive power compensation equipment and the installation of a variety of new machines has dramatically reduced energy consumption and improved production efficiency.
Similarly, the acquisition of a wide-belt grinder allowed us to decommission three less-efficient machines. User safety has improved along with the effectiveness and end results of our belt-grinding operations. Safety has also been enhanced by the elimination of machining equipment with open slots or panels. Investment in two modern high-performance machines for the processing of circular saw blades has further enabled the decommissioning of five low productivity and energy-intensive machines.
We have replaced our high-frequency generators to reduce electricity consumption and minimize exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
The production of saws involves the movement and lifting of heavy weights. Working conditions have improved after new automatic feeders to lift the heavy weights were fitted. There are currently four automatic feeders operational; future expansion will triple this number.
The performance of our tool-sharpening centre has measurably increased following the installation of a fully-automated machining slot, equipped with automatic measuring systems, self-diagnosis capabilities, automatic error notifications and automated, robotic warehousing functions. The use of resources has also been improved by this. In addition, the company has established a special unit, whose purpose is to examine and undertake tool maintenance. The team works independently of production, so as not to disturb production processes.
Innovation is something which Rawlplug prides itself on, and it feeds into everything we do and why we do it. We innovate to improve our industry, our environment, and the working experiences of both our employees and our customers. This is why we do not rest on our laurels but continue to strive for better products and processes. Sustainability is about people and places, and so is Rawlplug. Our innovations reflect this idea.
One of these innovations is in the use of the dynamic balancing machine, which we utilise in the production of saw blades to create a product suitable for its industrial application. Any rotating machinery can be subject to excessive vibration; using the machine ensures the chances of this occurring in the finished product diminish.
As we progress in applying levels of automation to our logistics and production processes we aim to be innovative in their use. An example of this is the introduction of building automation systems for control of technological processes and robotics.
In the field of product innovation the company has been very active. A number of new items have been launched on to the market, such as the MITER series saw blades with carbide, the new Multix TWIN series saw blades for the timber industry, and a series of LL CUT saw blades designed for use by the furniture industry.
We have also added new types of machines – equipment for hardening and oscillating metal tools which are designed and manufactured in the plant. We introduced a patented solution for oscillating power tools and circular saws employed in the cutting of materials used to thermally insulate buildings. New centres of dedicated machinery for cutting, sharpening and grinding have opened as well.
The company has a safety mark B for circular saws with carbide, taking into account work at high speed to a peripheral speed of 150m / sec. The safety certificate B far exceeds the standard used for the speed of 80-100m / sec.
Addressing environmental concerns
We fully understand the importance of looking after the environment throughout each stage of our operations. As such we are constantly examining each stage to identify any potential improvements and opportunities to create new and ecologically beneficial solutions. For example, part of the plant’s strategy is to replace harsh chemicals with less dangerous types. With this in mind, we have changed those used in emulsion for lubrication and cooling for steel.
Intensive work goes on to reduce greenhouse gases and dust. To this end, production machinery has been equipped with modern HEPA class filtration systems which arrest dust and mists, removing close to 100% of airborne particles. An additional benefit of this investment is a clear increase in the safety and comfort of employees.
Like our other facilities, the factory is dedicated to minimizing its impact on the environment. We are always working to reduce the amount of lubricants and oils we use and we have achieved success in this endeavour through a number of measures. We have changed the type of oil used in various machines to improve efficiency and to reduce both energy consumption and the amount of waste generated. We also introduced a dedicated service providing receptacles for the recovery of waste oil, and initiated the collection and exchange of oils used in specific process sequences.
The purchase of three oil product separators and their installation in existing sewer, rainwater and snowmelt areas is designed to prevent any cases of damage to the surrounding environment or pollution of the river close to the Wapienica facility.
Similarly, we have installed modern internal extraction systems close to any machinery that emits substances which might be harmful to human health or the environment.
Environmental Impact of changes - Fabryka Pił i Narzędzi “WAPIENICA” Sp. z o.o.
This work is ongoing but so far has resulted in an estimated annual saving of 63,000 kWh/m2. That’s annual savings of 12.66 Co2/m2.
Attention given to the organisational and technical needs of relevant workers has reduced the number of people at risk from noise production exceeding the NDN from 10 to 0.
A reduction in the emissions of gases and dust into the air continues through the ongoing development and methodical implementation of an action plan which aims to systematically reduce the amount of pollutant gas and dust emitters in our production facilities. As an indicator of our progress, 7 emitters were eliminated in the year 2014. The introduction of the new filtration and extraction systems will move this action plan forwards and see this figure increase in coming years.