Car industry face the sustainability challenges
The car market is quickly changing. The electric engine revolution, the scandals on emissions in recent years and the research on more recyclable materials, push the manufacturers to change their production processes and to create effective programs for the “end of life” management of its cars and the recovery of damaged or worn components.
Already in 2003, Ford had launched the Ford Core Recovery Program (FCRP) concerning the recycling or regeneration of damaged and worn out parts returned by aftermarket operators. Headlights, engine components and metal parts in general, these are the most affected parts. The company estimated in 2016 that it recovered 149 million pounds (more than 67 thousand tons) of car components. In the five-year period 2011/2016 it recycled more than 272 thousand lights and 379 thousand bumper bands.
BMW has a similar approach: the first official recycling and dismantling center has been active since 1994 and, thanks to recent agreements, it also deals with Renault, Fiat and Rover MG. Cars are emptied of fluids, the plates dismantled and even the airbags burst. The recycling process in the foundry is simple for aluminum and steel, but becomes considerably complicated for new materials such as the carbon fibers used in i3 and i8 models. These cars are stripped of their batteries while the carbon fiber components are ground into small pieces. After other treatments, thin sheets of material are obtained which, reinforced with new fibers, becomes a very resistant fabric ready to be used in the future cars. The i3 recycling figure is significant, the Bavarian company attests that 95% is recyclable.
In this challenge, Volkswagen can’t stay outside, heavily hit by the Diesel-gate about able to quickly recover its position and market share. The firm claims to have designed its cars to be easily recyclable and more. MAN trucks and buses also use a dedicated line of remanufactured spare parts called Ecoline. The buyer saves an average of 30 percent of costs and the energy used to produce the piece is reduced by 80%. Volkswagen cars have long been using sustainable and renewable plant fiber coatings. Even the soundproofing material is made of recovered plastic.
Audi has recently unveiled Aluminum Closed Loop, a pilot project to identify the most efficient way to recycle aluminum. The waste out of the presses is transferred directly to the supplier for re-use and the following step will be to melt the aluminum waste at the Kassel plant, where engines, gearboxes and bodywork elements are made. It’s estimated a saving of 1,050 tons of aluminum, 3,250 MWh of electricity and 800,000 kilometers less per year moved around by logistics trucks. Even lithium batteries have been recycled for some years, reusing the cells in home devices.
We could not miss Renault, another car brand very committed to sustainability that claims a true Eco-conception of vehicles. This approach includes the replacement of raw materials with “second handed” obtained from recycling. Vehicles themselves are extremely easy to dismantle in the end-life and inside they are full of recyclable and reusable materials. In the European production of Renault there is about 36 percent of recycled materials: an Espace, for example, has 50 kg of recycled plastic. Furthermore, the parts deriving from demolitions and aftermarket activities are regenerated and resold at advantageous prices. The Choisy-le-Roi plant regenerates 15,000 engines, 20,000 transmissions and 16,000 injection systems in one year. In this comforting framework of recycling and reuse, we also mention the Renault ‘loop’ which recovers copper, aluminum, cast iron, plastics, fabrics and platinum from catalysts.
In the first hand, therefore, car manufacturers are making concrete efforts to reduce their environmental impact. On the other hand, less significant issues risk nullifying or compromising the result of such effort. Among these, mainly the massive use of packaging materials for spare parts, if badly managed, may invalidate the effort and the results achieved.
We must not only consider the primal packaging of sold service part but also the intermediate packaging, used inside the assembly lines. For bumper storages, as example, kilometers of plastic film, foam or bubble wrap are still used to protect the pieces.
Thousands of huge plastic pieces, difficult or impossible to recycle, stitched with adhesive tape and for single use. Sustainability is a continuous circular path which must be designed at every stage, otherwise the risk is to nullify all the good practices, losing money and damaging environment
To make spare parts packaging more affordable and sustainable, Eceplast offer a multilayer Paper sacks to the car manufacturers, made out of 70% of recycled paper. Paper Sacks protect spare parts from scratches, bumps, stains and fingerprints on the painted and chrome surfaces, ensuring maximum efficiency in terms of storage space and means of use.
Totally recyclable, Paper sacks ensure maximum environmental protection and represent a better solution for car manufacturers, spare parts OEM in order to replace expensive and bulky cardboard boxes or worse, bubble wrap and PE foam.
For more info, please visit the webpage: http://www.eceplast.com/category/paper-sacks/
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