Industry Europe – issue 31.4

Page 1

VOLUME 31/4 – 2021

POLWAX - PARAFFIN’S HIDDEN SECRETS AUTOMA.NET SOLUTIONS FOR INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION

HARNESSING HYDROGEN

FOR GREEN STEEL



EDITORIAL

STEVENGISLAM

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Cleaning up industry’s biggest emitters W

hile July’s news that the Amazon rainforest now emits more CO2 than it absorbs failed to make a big splash on the news agenda, it should have acted as a stark warning signal that we need to up our game if we are to mitigate the worst excesses of climate change. While there is only so much that we can do to influence Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government – the current custodians of the majority of what was once known as the “lungs of the world” – there have been developments here in Europe which provide cause for optimism. Indeed, two of the world’s biggest polluting industries, steel and construction, which were, and to some extents still are sluggish when it comes to emissions reduction, have started to show signs that that a change may be in the air. We first focus on one of Industry’s most notoriously hard-to-abate sectors - Steel. With its high strength-to-weight ratio and relatively low production costs, steel is an invaluable material for numerous sectors. However, with the sector accounting for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the pressure is on for the industry as a whole to green up and make itself fit for a carbon-neutral future. Based at the voestalpine steel plant in Donawitz, Austria, the HYFOR (HydrogenBased Fine-Ore Reduction) pilot project, operated by Primetals Technologies, slashes emissions by as much as 90%, partly through being powered by 100% hydrogen, but also thanks to its ability to directly feed in iron ore fines and concentrates, thus sidestepping the beneficiation phase. I spoke to Dr Alexander Fleischanderl, Head of Eco Solutions at Primetals and one of HYFOR’s architects, about the pioneering pilot and the future of the steel industry. Read the full interview on page 6. With the automotive and consumer electronics sectors looking to move away from

complicated and increasingly chaotic supply chains, and the European Commission keen to decrease its reliance on China for critical raw materials that are vital for the energy transition, many across the bloc watched with great enthusiasm when its first major lithium project entered the feasibility phase. Located close to Dresden, Germany, and operated by Zinnwald, the site is set to form an important stepping-stone for EU-sourced lithium for chips and batteries, testing the water for similar future projects. Ash Jones spoke to Zinnwald CEO Anton du Plessis in a wide-ranging interview on page 10. In 2018, only 20.7% of manufacturers rated themselves as being “highly prepared to address the emerging business models the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings”.

Construction is known to be a major source of air pollution, a problem that is closely linked to a number of health issues including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and respiratory problems. Our focus on Hybrid Electronics comes from Danish Sherwani, a SAP S/4HANA Solution Architect at Delaware UK in which he argues that despite Industry 4.0 being almost a decade old, plenty of manufacturing companies have been slow to adopt the emerging technologies and reap the benefits. If manufacturers wish to remain competitive in an ever-changing marketplace, says Sherwani, it will become increasingly important that they harness these burgeon-

ing technologies and forge a path forward. Read Danish’s full article on page 12. The Construction and Engineering section of the magazine also has a double focus this month - Both from our very own Ash Jones. With Covid-19 bringing issues of public hygiene into the front of public consciousness, and the climate crisis becoming ever-more critical as the race to 2050, quite literally, heats up, the construction industry has had to step up its game. Construction is known to be a major source of air pollution, a problem that is closely linked to a number of health issues including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and respiratory problems. The IEA argues that a 6% decrease in building emissions year-on-year is needed to meet global energy targets, and with the pandemic as a permanent backdrop, there has been an increased focus on ventilation and filtration. Read Ash’s interview with Don Donovan, the President of HVAC and air filtration company Camfil, on page 14. In his construction focus, Ash spoke to Liviu Tudor, founder of Genesis Property and President of the European Property Federation, about his “office of the future”. Located in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, and operated by Swedish telecoms company Ericsson, the office was awarded the maximum 5-star ‘IMMUNE Building Standard’ rating by Brussels-based Healthy by Design Building Institute for the building’s ability to deal with health crises. Through a series of sensors that measure the indoor environmental parameters such as air, humidity, temperature or CO2 levels, data on the building's performance is collected in real-time allowing operators to adjust the conditions of the building to a healthy performance level. Read the full interview with Liviu Tudor on n page 16. Industry Europe 3


CONTENTS

VOL 31/4

Comment 3

Editorial Cleaning up industry’s biggest emitters

Focus on Metals & Mining 6 10

Harnessing Hydrogen for Green Steel IE speaks to Primetals’ Dr Alexander Fleischanderl about the green project.

Zinnwald – Europe’s first lithium project

Focus on Hybrid electronics 12

Manufacturers must adopt Industry 4.0

Focus on Construction & Engineering 14 16

The Importance of Air Filtration An Office for a post-pandemic world

Aerospace & Defence 18

The latest developments in the sector

Revealing hidden secrets of paraffin Polwax Reliable partner Nuova Solmine Chemicals & Biochemicals news The latest developments in the sector

Construction & Engineering 30 34 38 42 46 50

52 56 60 64

At the forefront Pavan Making a positive impact Procter and Gambler Creating trustworthy packaging Supravis Consumer Goods news The latest developments in the sector

Energy & Utilities 66 70

Towards green horizons Rainpower Energy & Utilities news The latest developments in the sector

Healthcare

72 Healthcare news The latest developments in the sector

Metals & Mining

Aerospace & Defence news

Chemicals & Biochemicals 20 24 27

Consumer Goods

Harvesting the future CLAAS Filtration solutions for a cleaner tomorrow Mann Hummel Enhancing the view NorDan The right cover Wienerberger Growing in partnerships Sampierana Construction & Engineering news The latest developments in the sector

74 Commitment to innovation Oerlikon Balzers 78 Driving innovative change Poclain Hydraulics 82 Strong as steel Texor 86 Metals & Mining news The latest developments in the sector

Politics & Economics 88

Politics & Economics news The latest developments in Politics and Economics

Technology & Innovation 90 94

Inventory-sharing solutions for industrial automation Automa.Net Technology & Innovation news The latest developments in Tech and Innovation

Transportation

96 The green drive Scania 100 Transportation news The latest developments in the sector

Industry Europe PO Box 3750, Norwich NR7 7GZ, United Kingdom

Editorial Director Steve Gislam

Art Director Leon Esterhuizen

Editorial Manager Ash Jones

Managing Partner & Production Director Stephen Moore

Profile Writers Romana Moares Barbara Rossi Dariusz Balcerzyk Edina Beale Philip Yorke Emma-Jane Batey Eugenia Fiusco Piotr Sadowski

4 Industry Europe

Operations & Finance Director Tania Balderson Sector Managers Oliver Clements Michael Hudson Szidonia Hajdu Katarzyna Pozoga

Tel: +44 (0)1603 414444 Fax: +44 (0)1603 779850 Email: studio@industryeurope.net Web: www.industryeurope.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/IndustryEurope LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/industry-europe © Industry Europe 2021 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, without prior consent of the publisher.

FOCUS MEDIA GROUP LTD.


Industry Europe 5


FOCUS ON – METALS & MINING

STEELING THE FUTURE: USING

HYDROGEN TO MAKE GREEN STEEL IE Speaks To Primetals' Dr Alexander Fleischanderl About The Innovative HYFOR Green Steel Project In Austria.

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n 2020, the global steel industry produced a total of 1.86 billion metric tonnes and turned over hundreds of billions of dollars. Steel, with its high strength-to-weight ratio and relatively low production costs, is an invaluable material for many sectors such as construction and automotive. However, in the context of the climate crisis, the sector has come under increased scrutiny due to its reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, primarily coal. Global steel production accounts for around 8% of total global carbon emissions, and its hunger for coal continues to drive excavation. For every tonne of liquid steel produced using the traditional integrated process method, 6 Industry Europe

770kg of coal and coke is burned, releasing 1.8 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere – meaning the steel industry is actually a bigger producer of carbon dioxide than it is of steel. In recent years, governments across the world have been looking for ways to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and as such, the political pressure on the sector to decarbonise is also mounting. But it’s not only governments putting the pressure on. Increasing financial pressures like the price of carbon and the rise in the popularity and credibility of Environmental, Social and Governance scores amongst a younger, more environmentally conscious

Dr. Alexander Fleischanderl

generation of investors looking to put their money where their morals are, both increase that pressure and offer ever-stronger incentives to decarbonise the sector. Against this backdrop, several small-scale “green steel” projects have begun popping up in Europe and beyond. One of these is Primetals Technologies’ hydrogen-based fine-ore reduction (HYFOR) pilot project, at the voestalpine steelworks in Donawitz, Austria.


Industry Europe 7


FOCUS ON – METALS & MINING

After years of development and two months of initial tests, HYFOR became operational in June and since then, has caught the attention of many in the industry for its innovative direct reduction process for iron ore concentrates – the first of its kind in the world. HYFOR is powered with 100% hydrogen, which slashes emissions by as much as 90% and the pilot is set to be operational for the next two years at least. “The energy for 75% of global steel production comes from carbon, with the rest coming from gas and electricity. The only thing that we can change is to get rid of coal,” Dr Alexander Fleischanderl, the Head of Eco Solutions at Primetals Technologies told Industry Europe. “However, we also need to remove the oxygen from the iron ore, which leaves us three options. We can burn carbon, which releases CO2. We can use hydrogen, which releases water. Or the third option is using electrons, to turn iron ore into steel with direct electrolysis, the technology for which is only in its infancy.” Energy efficiency, or process optimisation, Dr Fleischanderl believes is the first phase for decarbonisation of the sector. “There are many opportunities to decarbonise using existing assets. They should 8 Industry IndustryEurope Europe

be utilised otherwise they will end up as stranded assets. You can optimise sinter plants, pelletising plants, and blast furnaces. You can inject gas, starting with natural gas, but also hydrogen. You can implement other energy efficiency solutions like waste heat recovery, where the heat is recovered from slag. Most customers have still not implemented such solutions.” The reason for this, Dr Fleischanderl says, is usually about return on investment. “Most customers want a return in one or two years. These solutions take five or six years to pay off. Nonetheless, in the future, it will be mandatory.” Recycling scrap steel will also go some way towards cutting emissions. The problem there is availability, he added. “The issue is that the production rate is higher than the scrapable stocks. If we look to 2050, we estimate there will be around 900 million tonnes of scrap to be recycled, but we will produce more than two billion tonnes of steel. So, there is still a gap of more than one billion tonnes that we have to close with the virgin feed coming from iron ore.” While advances in energy efficiency and circular economy initiatives play an important role in the greening of steel, they can only do so much - around 30% in car-

bon footprint reductions at most. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) looks certain to also play an important part in the sector’s drive to cut emissions, allowing some of the carbon to be sequestered. However, with global demand rising, bringing steelmaking down to net-zero will require a fundamental shift in technology. Which is where HYFOR comes in. The focus of the pilot at Donawitz is the continued development of the HYFOR technology up to a point where it is ready to be scaled up into its first industrial prototype - a decision on which is expected at the end of the year. What separates HYFOR from its green steel peers, Dr Fleischanderl said, is what it feeds on. “We directly feed in iron ore fines and ultra-fines concentrate, and so on. We can avoid beneficiation – the pellet dicing step – and feed ore fines directly. It removes the requirement to invest in a pelletising plant which is a big burden asset. “The other thing is the operational costs. You avoid the fossil fuel requirement for heating up and cooling down of the pellets before feeding. By using iron ore fines and ultrafines, you can easily reduce these ore grains completely, much quicker, and staying at a


Voestalpine Donawitz steel plant Image credit: voestalpine AG / voestalpine.com

lower reduction temperature and process pressure means more energy efficiency.” This is part of what Dr Fleischanderl describes as the ‘transformation phase’ the next step in steel’s decarbonisation after process optimisation. He expects to see more electric arc furnaces and fewer blast furnaces in the future, with those electric arc furnaces being fed with scrap and direct reduced iron. “The important thing is now to enable plants that can gradually switch from natural gas to hydrogen in the future,” he said, pointing to a recent project in Russia with which Primetals became involved in February. Based in Zheleznogorsk, in Russia’s Kursk region, and run by Mikhailovsky HBI, it is the world’s largest Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) plant. Production there will start by using natural gas but will switch over to hydrogen “whenever it's feasible”. Despite the many promising signs that one of the biggest industrial emitters is starting to rein itself in, there is, however, still a long way to go globally, he warned. In the EU, the Commission is looking at ways of using carbon pricing as a tool to drive down emissions in the sector. Also backing from the European Investment Fund

and recovery fund can play a role in the European part of the story. However, Europe only produces around 8% of global steel and this figure is more likely to decrease than to increase. Some major steelproducing countries still have a long way to go, he said, pointing to India as one such example. “In 2019, India produced 111 million tonnes of steel, and they are predicting 300 million tonnes in 2030.” The problem, he says, is that “India has no policy. It has no carbon taxing and no intention to go for that over the next years. India is still commissioning new blast furnaces, knowing that they last for 50 or 60 years or so. A mid-term solution for India might be Carbon Capture and Storage.” China, which does have a net-zero goal - in 2060 - is also likely to keep increasing its carbon footprint until at least 2030 and is still building coal plants.

Nonetheless, says Dr Fleischanderl, HYFOR will keep moving forward. “The long-term view is that we must utilise low-grade iron ore. At present, direct reduction plants only take high-grade ores. But in the future, we will see the gains of using lower-grade iron ore in direct reduction plants. “Seeing a direct reduction plant using low-quality iron ore feed, going on to produce hot metal and slag in an electric-powered smelter, which would then be industry certified for use in the cement industry to get a circular economy going. “This will help us go forward, gradually step-by-step. We need to use green hydrogen and carbon capture storage and utilisation, and we need to power the electric arc furnaces with renewable energy. “This will get us close to a zero-carbon footprint in the future, as we look towards 2050.” n Industry Europe 9


FOCUS ON – METALS & MINING

ZINNWALD: EUROPE'S FIRST MAJOR LITHIUM PROJECT ENTERS FEASIBILITY PHASE Europe's first major lithium project has entered the feasibility stage as EU industry leaders and officials look to eventually move the bloc's automotive and electronics sectors away from chaotic supply chains and reliance on East Asian suppliers. Zinnwald Lithium's site is located on the German-Czech border in the state of Saxony.

10 Industry Europe

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ocated about 35 km outside of Dresden on the German-Czech border, Zinnwald Lithium acquired the site at the end of 2020 for around €8.8 million. The project has received funding from several sources as EU industry continues to suffer under the ongoing semiconductor shortage. With an estimated net present value (NPV) of around €428 million, the site should provide a stepping stone for EU-sourced lithium for chips and batteries and test the waters for future projects located within the EU. Originally specialising in the production of lithium fluoride for use in electrolytes for

lithium-ion batteries, the project was driven by similar end-market drivers as the rest of the lithium space but with a slightly more specialised product. The company is set to conduct a new feasibility study on the back of a similar one conducted in 2019 by the site's original owners. Mining has long been a major sector in this part of Germany, which means that much of the infrastructure, including local support schemes, is already in place. Chemicals are also a big part of German industry, which can help in the refinement of lithium by-products.


Lithium mining projects are currently non-existent in Europe and Zinnwald represents the first major step towards locally-sourced lithium. Credit: Cavan-Images / Shutterstock

"We are currently doing some test work to see if we can expand the capabilities of the project to include lithium hydroxide - a more conventional product but still orientated towards the battery space," Anton du Plessis, Zinnwald Lithium's CEO told Industry Europe. "We are hoping to take the opportunity to plug a market gap as demand for lithium has exploded on the back of electric vehicles and stationary storage." Along with cobalt, lithium is one of the main materials required in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, which are an essential component of electric vehicles. Australia is by far the world's largest supplier of lithium, followed by Chile. There are several issues, from child labour to environmental destruction, associated with the lithium and cobalt mining that is necessary for battery production. Production within the European Union, which has far stricter labour laws, could stand to decrease the ethical concerns arising from the mining sector. Securing a European lithium source, along with the increased push for a European chip manufacturing sector may also help mitigate any future supply chain issues or offer a buffer against future chip shortages. "Europe is really starting to accelerate on these types of projects, driven both politically and by the automakers who are finally seeing the writing on the wall in that the industry is making this shift. There has been a lot of noise around making the supply chains more local and sustainable owing to the dangers of a global attenuated supply that's been devastated by the pandemic and people are nervous about relying on suppliers from East Asia," Du Plessis said. "Currently there is around 30 GWh of battery manufacturing capacity in Europe and current expectations are for that to

The landscape of the Ore Mountains, that straddles the border between Germany and Czechia; the Zinnwald Lithium site is located here. Credit: scimmery / Shutterstock

ramp up to around 700 GWh by the end of the decade. "To put that in perspective, per kWh, you use about half a kilo of lithium carbonate equivalent. Current estimates suggest in order to meet these goals Europe will have to have the equivalent of the entire world's current lithium production," he added. The European Union is currently focused on delivering the EU Green Deal, which will see it aim to become completely carbonneutral by 2050. The decarbonisation of most industry sectors, as well as a push towards green engines, is considered a major part of these plans. It also recently announced the "Fit for 55" goals which will tackle carbon emissions more directly. This will also mean Brussels will wish to ensure all mining projects are undertaken in an "environmentally friendly or sociallyconscious way." "It's far easier to sign-off on these projects when you can guarantee from the off that it will be conducted in an ethical manner," Du Plessis said. "Keeping it local," as he puts it should also do something to alleviate carbon emissions from transport. Logistics and volumes play a large role in lithium mining. Du Plessis expects Zinnwald to produce roughly 8,000-10,000 tonnes of end-product lithium annually and with the likelihood of everything being kept relatively local, the overall volumes decrease significantly. Contrasting this with an Australian miner shipping to China, who would then export globally, the overall emissions will be significantly lower, he revealed. "Even though this is hard-rock mining, the process involves creating a material called Zinnwaldite - named after the area it comes from - is less energy-intensive than other lithium processes, such as spo-

dumene, as it requires one less pyrometallurgical step than other processes," he said. "Other ways of saving on emissions is the use of natural gases in kilns as opposed to the coal-firing used in a majority of lithium plants," he added. "While we may not be as environmentally friendly as brine producers in the Atacama - who often use solar energy for evaporation - we have the advantage of not also not having water supply or pollution issues." "There are aspects of our operation were looking into to see where we can improve those numbers again, such as electric mining fleets as greener projects will be more attractive to the EU and its member states." Zinnwald Lithium's current estimates should mean the project commenced operations at some point in the mid-2020s, which should put it in line to meet the EU's ban on "unsustainable" batteries, set to come into effect in 2027. Part of the postBrexit trade deal with the UK also indicates automakers should source all their batteries from within the EU or UK by 2027 or face heavy fines. Once all the permit stage is completed, the actual construction is relatively quick, with an estimated 24-months before operations can commence. Total construction costs are expected to be around €159 million, with €2 million in additional capital expenditure required for the production of lithium carbonate. "I would be very surprised, given our location for anyone outside of Europe to invest heavily into the site and our expectations are that it will be primarily shipped and used locally. "With lithium in its final form, a lot of the volume has gone, so it is relatively easy to ship around should it come to that. However, I think being a local supplier just n makes sense." Industry Europe 11


FOCUS ON – HYBRID ELECTRONICS

WHY SLOW ADOPTION OF INDUSTRY 4.0 IS PUTTING MANUFACTURERS AT RISK Despite the term Industry 4.0 having been in circulation for nearly a decade now, many manufacturers are yet to tap into the much-vaunted benefits. In 2018, just 20.7% of manufacturers rated themselves as “highly prepared to address the emerging business models the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings”. Even now, many manufacturers still remain slow to adopt the emerging technologies - from additive manufacturing to AI and machine learning – that are associated with Industry 4.0.

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new McKinsey survey, ‘COVID-19: An inflection point for Industry 4.0’, which polled leaders at global manufacturing companies worldwide, found that just 26% were prepared to say they had scaled some or many Industry 4.0 use cases. One of the reasons for this is that many manufacturers are being driven by a desire to keep up with industry trends or the latest competitor actions. CIOs and CFOs at these manufacturers are focused above all on getting a return on their investment or at 12 Industry Europe

the longest medium term and that tends to mitigate against making longer term investments in the latest advanced technologies.

The risk of not investing For these manufacturers, there is a significant downside to keeping their powder dry over new investment over the longer term though. Manufacturers will find that they increasingly lose out on contracts where they are outbid by smaller, more agile specialists who are focused on bringing in

technologies like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or robotic process automation (RPA) to enhance their specialism. Customers will increasingly look to these companies to meet their more specific needs and get better value for their money. The semiconductor industry is a good example. The number of players has shrunk significantly to the point where there are arguably just three in play that manufacture advanced semiconductors on a global scale down from around 20 in total. As of 2021,


there are believed to be only three firms able to manufacture the most advanced semiconductors: TSMC of Taiwan, Samsung of South Korea, and Intel of the United States. The reason for the success of these firms has largely been their capability in the specialisation and optimisation of manufacturing technologies. Customers have increasingly realised that it is much cheaper to have their product made somewhere where manufacturing is more optimised. So, a failure to invest in technology to optimise processes and reduce the cost of manufacturing can be a big risk factor. Relying too much on people to carry out processes will also increasingly bring risk. If manual processes are prevalent and there is no digital analytics capability in place to be able to predict the impact of a sudden change, like the advent of the pandemic on manufacturing processes and the supply chain in general, they will almost certainly struggle to keep up with smaller more specialised competitors that can rapidly adapt to the shifting market trends. So how can manufacturers begin to break down the barriers to adoption and position themselves more strongly to accelerate this in the future? There has to be a sense of urgency brought into the equation and an understanding that the timing of investment is crucial. Visualisation is key and it is important that

decision-makers within these organisations can see first-hand how the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies will actually impact their supply chain processes in practical terms. Manufacturers should be encouraged to bring their specific problems to the table so that solutions can be discussed and provided.

Finding a solution There are a raft of technologies out there that can help organisations to address the challenges that they have. Some examples from Industry 4.0 are cloud computing to scale technology infrastructure based on shifting business needs (e.g. to support acquisitions or divestitures). Looking at business processes where technology-enabled, desktop-based process automation would be a good starting point. Additionally, looking at business cases for implementing RPA is one area that could be useful. Another that would bring value within many manufacturers would be the physical implementation of machine-based manufacturing – where organisations can achieve a virtualised view of a project, through 3D modelling of factories, the visualisation of different scenarios and the impact of certain modifications etc, which can be analysed before significant changes are made. While many manufacturers at the current time have restrained budgets, it makes

sense for many to go back to the basics of automation and make sure these are being effectively implemented. It may be more cost-efficient and operationally effective to focus on improving processes where they may have a capability that they are not making optimum use of – the application of predictive analytics to supply chain processes may be a case in point, or the use of analytics to scrutinise large volumes of supply chain data and draw conclusions about patterns and trends.

Forging ahead Ultimately, it is clear today that the slow adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies is putting many manufacturers at risk. If manufacturers want to be competitive moving forwards, it will be increasingly important that they look at the benefits of advanced manufacturing technologies and of implementing those to optimise processes and reduce the cost of doing business. In today’s increasingly competitive manufacturing environment, retaining a predominantly manual approach is no longer a viable option for organisations. It is time for manufacturers to take action and start moving positively n forward on the road to industry 4.0. The author, Danish Sherwani, is a SAP S/4HANA Solution Architect at Delaware UK. 13 Industry Europe


FOCUS ON – CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING

CLEAN AIR FILTRATION "VITAL FOR INDUSTRY", CAMFIL PRESIDENT WARNS Industry Europe Speaks With Don Donovan Of Camfil About How Industry Can Best Use Filtration To Tackle Air Pollution.

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he coronavirus pandemic has brought several issues into the public consciousness, but none may be as important as the battle against air pollution in industry's perpetual struggle to lower CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN's Environment Programme, the construction sector alone saw a 2% increase in carbon emissions from 2017 to 2018 and reached its peak in 2019, accounting for 38% of total global CO2 emissions. The sector offers many ways, such as the production of cement, the construction or demolition of buildings and the operation of heavy machinery, to emit pollutants into the atmosphere. Air pollution has been linked with numerous health effects, such as respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that direct building carbon emissions need to decrease by 50% by 2030 - 6% per year - to have a chance of meeting global energy targets. According to the report, most countries have yet to submit their Nationally Determined Contribution targets (NDCs), with the building sector lacking any specific mitigation policies, despite its huge contribution to CO2 emissions. However, the social distancing guidelines, the increased focus on ventilation and filtra14 Industry Europe

tion alongside an environment for infection brought on by the pandemic seems to have had a knock-on effect. "Before the pandemic, air filtration was not on everyone's lips," Don Donovan, the European President of Camfil said in an interview with Industry Europe. "Now, with the rise of an airborne virus, everyone wants good air filtration and good systems in place to minimise the spread and I can see this trend continuing as the world leaves the pandemic behind it." "With Covid, governments have been pushed to ensure cleaner air for the public, whereas before much of the legislation towards air issues primarily tackled pollution or emissions." Air pollution comes in two major flavours: gases and particulate matter, and they can be present in both man-made and environmental emitters. Donovan points to pollen as a classic example of an environmental form of air pollution that can affect people. However, "man-made" air pollution generally comes in the form of dust or greenhouse gases, or even odours, he added. Heavy industry, in particular, has become notorious for the volumes of particulate matter and gases it releases into the atmosphere. Particulate matter can come in various forms. One common example is the spore aspergillus, which can be present when knocking down old buildings.

While normally harmless, those with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory problems may suffer from lung infections, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some strains may even spread into the bloodstream. Aspergillus spores can be found in various climates worldwide and many people breathe in the spores daily without falling ill. "The processes by which the construction sector runs can release gases, odours and heavy dust or any other kind of matter into the atmosphere," Donovan said. "The way this can be controlled from an air filtration point-of-view is by either filtering and collecting the particles, or, in the case of gases and odours, by running it through an abatement system - a carbon air filter - which absorbs it." "However, in a lot of cases, such as with the fumes released by the combustion engines in vehicles, we simply cannot control it," he added. "In cases such as this, reducing the emissions of these fumes, either through electrification or investment in carbon sequestering technology is key. "A key part of dealing with air pollution is tackling the issue at its source." Donovan has noted several manufacturers, from factories to farmers - particularly in his native Ireland - have started generating their own wind power in a bid to cut emissions. Air filtration is often put in place to protect the people and the environment or even to


Air purifiers are one method of ensuring clean air within a working environment, which can also have a number of added health benefits. Credit: Yuttana Jaowattana / Shutterstock

help filter out dirty air from processes, however, the Camfil President points out that attempting to harness air filtration isn't a major factor regarding residential construction outside of personal investments into air purifiers. He notes that proper filtration systems whether talking about cycling air in factories or office blocs or hospitals - are "the most important part" of the heating and ventilation (HVAC) measures needed for indoor spaces owing to the need for local environments to be cleaned or to create conditions suitable for manufacturing. Depending on the need, workplaces will cycle the air at different intervals to ensure it is clean enough for consumption while cycling out particulate matter to maximise both employee health and to prevent the matter from sticking to surfaces or affecting manufactured goods. Manufacturers of particularly sensitive goods such as semiconductors or electronics may recycle the air several hundred times an hour to prevent particulate matter from sticking to, or damaging, the end product. Donovan estimates manufacturing lines and cleanrooms for the pharmaceutical industry may recycle air "around 40-50 times per hour" to prevent too much of a build-up of dirty air. A recent Harvard study indicated four to six air changes per hour in an indoor setting could reduce the airborne transmission rate of Covid-19, which could see wider applications outside of a pandemic scenario. The research suggests filtration systems may only be effective for long-range (6 feet and over) transmission of aerosols (saliva and mucus) and may not significantly affect close contact. To conserve energy, companies may choose to only recycle the air when people are present inside of the buildings. Donovan hinted that many supermarkets and office spaces use automotive trackers to indicate when the system should start recycling air. Humans may inhale as many as 25 sextillion molecules in a single breath. Millions of viruses may dawdle in the air through saliva or mucus dispersal from other humans, some of which may remain there for hours, meaning it is very important to keep the air cycled and clean.

Don Donovan, the European President at Camfil.

He also emphasised the importance of proper air filtration in every aspect of building design, which can be important to the construction sector in other ways than simply ensuring the wellbeing of their own workers. Donovan said: "If construction and industry don't get a handle on the right types of filtration, there's no point in trying to filter the air, as there may be a risk of continuing to recycle dirty air it can just make the situation worse. "I think the construction sector should strongly consider proper ventilation systems from every aspect, from the planning and design phase, to actually laying out and implementing the systems in a live setting. "Implementing these kinds of filtration systems into existing infrastructure can be difficult. We get clients that ask whether they can put HEPA filters in their buildings, and in most cases, they can't because the fans and motors won't be able to push their air due to extra restrictions, although you can use air purifiers inside the building itself to get around this." He added: "HEPA filtration is the only real way to ensure clean air. The only way to ensure the adequate cycling of clean air is by absorbing the particles that make the air unclean but placing air purifiers inside the room can also aid in ensuring the air is clean enough." When Camfil design air filtration systems they primarily look at two things: preventing air from getting in alongside adequate filtration and ensuring air purifiers are inside the building under the right conditions. "We've tested filters for companies and many of them will not stop anything," Donovan added. "It may be marketed as a HEPA filter, but it won't be doing what it says. Manufacturers must ensure the right balance of filtration systems for them to create a perfectly clean environment. He continued: "The matter that manages to get through the systems can play havoc with our health, causing respiratory problems or getting anywhere you wouldn't want it to go." The most common link for deaths from air pollution comes from PM2.5 - "PM" being the short-form for particulate matter. This can be commonly found by burning fossil fuels. Camfil considers PM1 to be a "particularly dangerous" form of particulate matter

Aspergillus spores are commonly found in the air in various climates around the world. Credit: Cornell Fungi / Flickr (Licence: CC 2.0)

owing to it being small enough to fit through filtration systems and get into a human's respiratory system. "Emissions are heavily regulated now which means the issue of carbon release may soon start to see a decrease," Donovan adds. "Furthermore, in many cases, such as with odours coming from a manufacturing plant, there may be a public interest in ensuring clean air to prevent bad smells or gas releases that could affect local communities." "You cannot just build a recycling plant or manufacturing plant without adequate filtration," he added. Standards agencies and watchdogs have arisen over the years to tackle the issue of "shoddy filters", as Donovan puts it which may help provide companies with insight as to which services to use when constructing their filtration systems. Brands known for ineffective filters may be "denied approval or certification by watchdogs", which could do something to weed out bad products and go some way towards passively improving air quality. The ISO standard represents an international standard for several key industrial sectors. Standard 16890 pertains specifically to the quality of air filtration, monitoring both the grade of filter and the energy level, which may also help companies keep their filtration energy costs down, through simple means such as ensuring a filter has a larger surface area. In the UK, a new air quality standard was pondered in June 2020 and was quickly mixed up in the politics of both Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. A DEFRA study into the estimations for air pollution changes, concentration and exposures can be viewed here. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also introduced new standards and guidance for air quality in the wake of the pandemic. "Ensuring air quality is always tough," Donovan concluded. "Air, regardless of quality, will always find its way indoors and ensuring the right quality will always be difficult. "Ultimately, enforcing air quality standards will be very difficult, but helping people to understand the merits of clean air and proper filtration will help massively in the long run." n Industry Europe 15


FOCUS ON – CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING

THIS "OFFICE OF THE FUTURE" IS EQUIPPED TO OPERATE DURING A PANDEMIC The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019 heralded a standstill for much of the corporate world, with office hours either eliminated or reduced significantly to allow workers to socially distance themselves to limit the spread of the virus.

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uring the height of the pandemic, the Brussels-based Healthy by Design Building Institute (HdBI) designed an evidence-based third-party certification the "IMMUNE Building Standard" (IBD) - a ratings-based system, which has recently awarded its maximum 5-star rating to an "office of the future" equipped to deal with health crises in Bucharest, Romania. The building, operated by Swedish telecoms provider Ericsson, is designed to monitor potential health threats and has been specially designed to minimise viral spread, was the brainchild of Genesis Property founder and President of the European Property Federation, Liviu Tudor. The systems in place can use a series of specialised sensors that measure the indoor environment parameters such as air, humidity, temperature or CO2 levels. Data on the building's performance is collected in real-time 16 Industry Europe

offering simple yet effective solutions and allowing operators to adjust the conditions of the building to a healthy performance level. "Every building should be equipped to deal with a pandemic or health crisis in the same way it should be prepared to deal with a fire hazard," Liviu Tudor revealed in an interview with Industry Europe. "It is essential for workers and businesses to not have operations reduced to a standstill like those we faced in early 2020 following the first string of lockdowns." The "Resilient" certification follows a ninemonth implementation period initiated by Liviu's company Genesis Property. 119 of the 135 "measures," as he calls them - criteria laid out in the "IMMUNE Assessment Scoring Index" - were successfully implemented into the building at a total cost of around €375,000. The scoring system for the certification is based on a voluntary submission

Liviu Tudor, the founder of Genesis Property and President of the European Property Federation.

for either a three, four, or five-star rating. The Bucharest space is the fourth project certified "Immune" since Liviu developed the rating, following on from two office spaces in the UK, one of which is operated by Buckinghamshire-based lighting control systems manufacturer Prolojik as well as the Maze building in the City of London. "We have to ensure office spaces have the right environment for safety and trust to encourage people to come back and work," Tudor said, adding that the IMMUNE rating was created to create a safe space for workers who may otherwise work from home, citing issues with proper teamwork, creativity and forming bonds with everyone isolated. He added: "Current technology does not permit proper teamwork from remote working and there is more to teamwork than communication. We must encourage employees to work together to maximise


IMMUNE rated building have touchless entry and exit to minise the spread of contagions.

productivity. Interaction is very important for a healthy workplace." Tudor is interested in pursuing a hybrid model of work coming out of the pandemic, letting employees work from home oneor-two days a week, which he claims was relatively common in the corporate sphere even before the pandemic propelled remote working in many applicable sectors. A May 2020 survey suggests that as many as 55% of workers would prefer a mix of office and home working. During the same period, as many as 42% of US-based workers were doing so from a remote location. This may also facilitate far higher broadband speeds to deal with the increased bandwidth of remote working following years of stagnation. Some staff working from home on different days could also have significant impacts not only on the spread of future pandemics but also on a number of other viruses and diseases which could lead to fewer sick days on average per person. While currently completely speculatory, with necessary data having not been collected yet, but one Harvard survey suggests the increased measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus lead to a sharp decline in rates of flu worldwide. Tudor said: "We have been importing measures from hospitals and clean rooms inside our commercial buildings and offices, with the idea that we will be 100% prepared for the next health crisis - as well as other kinds of threats, such as biological threats or chemical attacks - to prevent the kind of disruptions that were present during the early onset of the Covid pandemic. "We have no interest in creating a completely sterile environment, the likes of which you would see in hospital offices. We simply want to create an environment that is safe to work in during an outbreak and is prepared to deal with it in earnest. "Going too much the other way, so to speak, could also cause severe disruptions.

The IMMUNE Stewards are individuals trained to deal with a number of health concerns.

We want to create as much of a normal working environment with added contingencies as possible." Entry and exit for IMMUNE certified buildings are carried out through touchless access controls owing to the company seeing common access points such as doors and lifts being perfect environments for the spread of diseases. However, in high-density areas such as cafeterias, office doors and vending machines, surfaces are coated with "self-cleaning technology" to minimise the transmission of harmful pathogens. The most important aspect in ensuring the office environment is prepared to deal with health crises is the so-called "Immune Stewards" - trained professionals specialising in dealing with health risks that can monitor and attend to anyone picked up by sensors to contain an illness and ensure they can work away from workers in a way that prevents spread but does not "impact synergy." "It is good enough to send anyone ill home, but there are concerns they will end up spreading whatever they're carrying to the general population," Tudor said. "We are anxious they could end up causing more harm by using public transport and the like, which could have further consequences." He reports these stewards are found and in charge of so-called "quarantine rooms" and can offer specialised help. They are also the only members of staff who have access to a warehouse used to store emergency supplies such as sanitiser and PPE to prevent the kinds of shortages experienced throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Tudor clarifies on the term "measures," which he splits into two categories: investments, referring to the technology needed to create his idea for the "offices of the future"; and rules for facility management for proper medical procedure to allow for trained individuals to look after anyone facing a medical issue until emergency services arrive on the scene. He added: "We have UV lighting inside of air conditioning ducts and hydrogen

peroxide ions produced by special equipment mounted on every floor. Many of the measures you will not see, but transparency is key. "We want employees to know what services are available to them. To this end, we created the 'IMMUNE Digital Twin Display' - a virtual tour of the building and the kind of technology that makes it possible - much of which is hidden inside the walls." The real estate and development environment is constantly shifting and Genesis firmly believes that equipping office spaces to deal with potential crises will forever shape the market. "The 'old ways' of building something, leasing it out to tenants and waiting for rent is over, in my opinion. I think we, as landlords, have to develop a building to cover every need - we need to give it a soul. "We are currently in the concept phase for a plan known as "Unity Park," or "Unity City," effectively a business park. We are designing this to cover all basic amenities, including living space, conference centres, marker's spaces and the ability to provide training or 'experiences'. "The main concept for the future of work is experience. Younger people, in particular, look beyond salary and look for the opportunities the employer is offering. We currently do not know how this will be properly implemented owing to it still being early in development, but we can speculate it may be the future of property development. He described a "content factory" - likely the main building for the majority of production - which would serve as the centre of the hub and would also offer training and newer employment opportunities. "New threats do not have to grind the world to a halt, and we should develop methods to deal with them. "We expect the pandemic to be over during 2022, and by then, we should have a better idea on how to deal with any n potential disruptions." Industry Europe 17


NEWS

New developments in the Aerospace & Defence

How Fujitsu Is Helping Clean Up Space Junk by Steven Gislam

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ess than a year after the UK Space Agency committed £1 million in funding to combat the growing problem of space junk, Fujitsu UK has announced the successful combination of quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to transform space debris removal. Fujitsu’s prototype, which was created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Astroscale UK, and the University of Glasgow, will improve mission planning so that a single spacecraft can efficiently select which pieces of space debris to remove in one mission, and at a much faster rate than is currently possible. The removal of space debris is key to sustainability in space, reducing, or even preventing, the risk of obsolete spacecraft colliding with new and existing satellites. Fujistu also claims that its technology will help to reduce the risk of catastrophic collisions in orbit which could create thousands of other pieces of new debris, all of which pose a very real threat to working satellites in orbit. By carefully deciding which debris is collected and when, the quantum-inspired technology, powered by Digital Annealer, optimises the mission plan to determine the minimum fuel and minimum time required to bring inoperable spacecraft or satellites safely back to the disposal orbit. Finding the optimal route to collect the space debris will save significant time and cost

during the mission planning phase, and also as a consequence will improve commercial viability. With 2,350 non-working satellites currently in orbit, and more than 28,000 pieces of debris being tracked by Space Surveillance networks, Fujitsu says its technology will help the UK to grow its market share in the space sector, and further support the UK Government’s commitment to a more sustainable future overall. The research has been carried out as part of the UK Space Agency grant “Advancing Research into Space Surveillance and Tracking”. The project, which was developed over six months in accordance with Government Digital Services guidelines, leverages both Artificial Neural Network (ANN)based rapid trajectory design algorithms, developed by the University of Glasgow, alongside Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer and Quantum Inspired Optimisation Services to solve some of the main optimisation problems associated with ADR (Active Debris Removal) mission planning design. Ellen Devereux, Digital Annealer Consultant at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said: "All space debris poses a potential collision risk to the operational systems many of us take for granted – from weather forecasting to telecommunications... We’ve designed a solution to optimise the mission planning of a servicing craft before it is sent into space – meaning organisations like Astroscale UK can pick up more debris, more quickly than ever before."

Cobham And Ultra Electronics Reach £2.6bn Deal by Ash Jones

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nglish aerospace company Cobham has agreed to buy fellow UK rival defence company Ultra Electronics after agreeing to a £2.6 billion (€3.05 billion) takeover deal following several weeks of deliberations. The purchase, which caused both parties to agree to a 3,500p per share deal, led to national security concerns from Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, but Cobham's owner has promised to safeguard UK jobs and "protect national security" in an attempt to allay any fears the government may raise over the acquisition. Cobham issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning saying it would "invest in Ultra’s UK workforce by protect18 Industry Europe

ing existing and creating new UK manufacturing and engineering jobs and apprenticeships and maintaining a UK headquarters”. It added it “recognises the specific importance of Ultra’s contribution to the UK’s economy and national security”. The company is noteworthy owing to its pioneering of air-to-air refuelling techniques. Its acquisition by US equity firm Advent in 2020 introduced it to the private sector. It added it would seek to work with officials to ensure the deal does not hinder Ultra's current commitments, provided any terms of the deal are not vetoed by shareholders and open a forum to enable “ongoing dialogue, co-operation and monitoring” to ensure transparency for the deal, the company claims.

An artist's impression of the space debris in Earth's orbit. Photo: ESA–P. Carril

Amazon Web Services provided the Cloud and AI and ML tools and services to support the project. The Amazon Sagemaker toolset was used to rapidly develop the ANNs that accurately predict the costs of orbital transfers in a fraction of the time it would take to calculate them in full. Astroscale UK is the world’s first commercial company to start a demonstration mission to remove debris from the lower Earth orbit. The company is providing the end-use case as a representative user of multi-target mission optimisation. Fujitsu, who spearheaded the project, is one of just seven UK companies to be awarded a share of over £1 million from the UK Space Agency to help track debris in space. Jacob Geer, Head of Space Surveillance and Tracking, UK Space Agency, said: "Monitoring hazardous space objects is vital for the protection of services we all rely on - from communications devices to satellite navigation. "This project is one of the first examples of quantum-inspired computing working with artificial intelligence to solve the problems space debris causes, but it's unlikely to be the last." Visit: www.fujitsu.com/uk However, the UK government says it will continue to monitor the situation, with Kwarteng reportedly launching a national security investigation under the Enterprise Act - a law protecting fair competition for UK businesses in the face of acquisitions. Under the law, he could theoretically intervene in mergers and acquisitions in case of a national security threat. Ultra provides a number of useful services to the UK government, such as radar tech for the Royal Navy or control systems for Trident - the country's nuclear arsenal. The company's shareholders are set to receive £35 per share, in line with the price announced in July, up from an initial offer of £28 per share. The deal will help Cobham break into the maritime defence market. Visit: www.cobham.com


AEROSPACE & DEFENCE NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems Receives Its Largest Order

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erman shipbuilding company Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has officially been commissioned to build six identical Type 212CD submarines for the Norwegian and German navies. The two countries will receive the most advanced submarines in the world by integrating advanced technologies to expand the U212 family of submarines in Europe. The order is worth approximately €5.5 billion and includes the delivery of two submarines to the German Navy and four to the Norwegian Navy. According to Thyssenkrupp, this is the largest order in the company's history of 180 years. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems CEO Dr Rolf Wirtz said: “The 212CD order is a major milestone. The Norwegian and German navies are getting the most modern submarines in the world, international and industrial teamwork will permanently shape cooperation in the maritime sector, and we have created capacity utilisation for our company." Construction of the first submarine will begin in 2023. The delivery of the first submarine for the Norwegian Navy is expected in 2029, while the delivery of two submarines for the German Navy is scheduled for 2032 and 2034.

In preparation for the order, Thyssenkrupp has already initiated investments of around €250 million in 2019. The aim is to further develop Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems at the Kiel location into an international centre of competence for the construction of conventional submarines. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems is one of the leading shipbuilding companies in the world with about 6,000 employees and is active as a supplier of systems for subsea and surface shipbuilding, as well as marine electronics and safety engineering. Visit: www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/home

EU Drafts Aviation Fuel Tax In Greater Push For Green Travel by Ash Jones

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n aviation fuel tax that will set limits on the amount of pollution airliners can put out has been drafted by the European Commission, according to documents released on Sunday. The documents, which were seen by Reuters, come as Brussels looks to an EU-wide minimum tax rate for the aviation sector in order to help it meet its climate goals. The proposals are expected to form part of a package set for reveal on July 14 overhauling the bloc's energy taxation systems as part of its agenda to reduce global greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, based on 1990 levels.

The aviation sector currently manages to evade EU tax laws. The new bill hopes to rectify this. Bloc officials claim current taxation measures are not in line with the EU's climate goals, adding that EU tax rules promote fossil fuels over green energy sources and need rewriting to support the bloc's climate goals. If successful, the new proposal would impose an EU-wide minimum level of tax on energy products supplied as aircraft fuel for flights within the EU. The new tax is set to come into effect in 2023 and start at zero, increasing over a tenyear period.

There has been no confirmation as to what the final rate will be, only that it will reach its maximum amount after a decade. The EU confirmed any sustainable fuels, including hydrogen or any renewable biofuels, will not be subject to the same taxes over this 10-year period. The bloc hopes this will encourage airliners to seek greener fuels once demand gets back up and running coming out of the pandemic. Current application for fuels such as e-kerosene has been slow, partly due to higher costs, the bloc confirmed. Certain fuels operate a less-than 1% market share in aviation. This may also inspire methods to bring down costs of these fuels to prevent a massive burden of loss on the airliner, which is particularly crucial owing to the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on travel demand and airliner profits. Member states are currently responsible for setting tax rates. Changes in tax at a central level will require unanimous support from the 27 member states. Should one state chose to veto the bill, implementation could be difficult. The levies would be based on a fuel's energy content and environmental performance, meaning polluting fuels would become more expensive. Industry Europe 19


REVEALING HIDDEN SECRETS OF PARAFFIN Polwax, a company based in Jaslo, Poland, is a leader in the European paraffin market. The company is a producer and distributor of refined, deodorised paraffins, waxes and special industrial paraffin compositions.

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CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS

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hrough consistently high product quality, the use of modern technological processes, adapting to customers’ individual needs, as well as top-notch research and development facilities; Polwax has established and cemented its market position. The company focuses on the production of liquid paraffin masses, emulsions, pastilles, slabs, and paraffin granules. They are used in many different industrial sectors, such as: fertilisers, precision casting, wood processing, production of varnishes and paints, rubber, paper and packaging, production of building materials, and candle production.

Experts in industrial paraffin Polwax has been operating since 1999. In 2004-2012, it was within the structures of Grupa LOTOS, a vertically integrated oil company based in Gdansk, Poland. The Group’s main activities are crude oil production, refining and marketing of oil products. It is the leader in the lubricants market. At the beginning of 2012, the Leveraged Management Buyout (LMBO) took place, which was attended by the Polwax’s managers, passive investors and a private equity fund.

Polwax has systematically changed its assortment portfolio, putting more and more emphasis on the development of products for industries, including fertilisers, emulsions and waxes for the wood and furniture industry, as well as plant protection and specific agents for the rubber industry and other industrial applications. The production is carried out in two facilities located in Jaslo and Czechowice-Dziedzice. For more than ten years, Polwax has been producing and selling anti-caking agents for mineral fertilisers, which protect fertiliser granules against caking and dusting during storage and transport. The company offers anti-caking agents designed to protect the most popular types of mineral fertilisers. It is systematically expanding the range of paraffin emulsions. The emulsions are produced on various raw material bases, which affects their performance parameters and allows them to be better adapted to the specific needs of customers, related to the impregnation of MDF and OSB boards. The company also offers emulsions for the hydrophobisation of concrete materials. Polwax manufactures its products mainly using refined and deodorised paraffins. The technology of adsorption refining with the use of organic (active carbon) and inorganic (bleaching earth) adsor-

Industry Europe 21


CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS

bents is based on the removal of undesirable compounds, such as asphaltenes, resins, diolefins or hydrocarbon oxidation products that are harmful to humans and the environment. Along with vacuum deodorisation technology - the removal of volatile sulphur and nitrogen compounds – all this gives the company’s paraffin products the appropriate purity class. Thanks to this, it meets the necessary standards for products that are used in food production or food packaging. Large production and tank capacities enable the selection of ingredients and their composition taking into account even the smallest differences. This has an impact on the high product quality and repeatability of production, which for customers is an extremely valuable element of cooperation.

Leader of Polish candle market Polwax also notes the importance of the candle market. Poland is the largest producer and exporter of candles in the EU. According to the Eurostat data, in 2019 Poland produced candles worth €617 million – 41% of total candle production, followed by Italy (€149 million or 10% of candles) and Germany (€143 million or 9% of candles). The company produces both machine-made and tailor-made candles, made to the customer’s specifications. For more than 20 years Polwax has been producing freestanding and grave candles in containers of various shapes, sizes and colours.

Development despite the problems Due to the Covid-19, the specialist chemistry industry, like others, has focused on managing safety, operational risk and the consequences of disruptions to the supply chain. As a paraffin producer, Polwax also struggled with a decline in demand for its products. Polwax’s sales revenue in 2020 is approx. PLN 216.5 million (more than €48 million), whereas its net profit reached more than PLN 3 million (approx. €678,000). Today, the company’s production and sales are carried out in three basic segments: paraffins and paraffin masses used in candle manufacture, products for industry for specialised applications and in ready-made candles. The sales are concentrated on the domestic market, which is responsible for more than 70% of total sales. Out22 Industry Europe

side of Poland, the company is present mainly in the EU and East European markets. West and South European countries have been for a long time Polwax’s dominant foreign markets. The overriding strategic goal of the company’s operations is the systematic development of its product portfolio and on increasing revenues from the sale of added-value products, in particular for specialised industrial applications. Observing the events of the last year, Polwax is convinced that Covid-19 would increase the interest in products for industrial applications. From this perspective, the company’s experience and technological know-how as well as its n laboratory facilities are invaluable. Visit: www.polwax.pl



RELIABLE PARTNER Italy-based Nuova Solmine SpA is a major producer of sulphuric acid and oleum in the Mediterranean basin. With roots going back to the early 1960s, the company is a well-established specialist in its sector. Romana Moares reports.

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CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS

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ulphuric acid is the most used base chemical in the industrial world. A compound commonly used as the catalyser in chemical reactions such as alkylation, sulphonation, nitration and oil refining, sulphuric acid has many applications both in laboratories and in industries including fertiliser production, mineral treatment, chemical synthesis, oil refining, waste water treatment as well as in iron and steel production. It is also used in the food industry, textiles, paper mills, detergents, car battery production, the pharmaceutical industry, in paints and pigments, pesticides, resins and silicone plastics, and in glassworks. With two manufacturing plants in Italy – in Scarlino, Grosseto province and Serravalle Scrivia, Alessandria province - Nuova Solmine is the country’s largest producer of sulphuric acid, with around 670,000 tonnes produced a year. The company also produces around 110,000 tonnes of oleum a year; complementary products are demineralised water, steam, and electricity. In addition to its own production, Nuova Solmine also buys sulphuric acid from both domestic and foreign producers as needed by its customers, with a total product availability of about one million tonnes per year.

Two Italian facilities The company’s main operational facility is the Scarlino plant, spread over some 140 hectares, with an annual capacity of approximately 600,000 tonnes. The plant is classified as a ‘basic inorganic chemistry’ industrial process and falls within the category of high-accident risk processing plants as it stocks fuming sulphuric acid – oleum that contains free SO3. The other, smaller production plant is located in Serravalle Scrivia and produces approximately 75,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid and oleum per annum through the treatment of waste containing sulphur and by regenerating spent acid. Scrivia is the only plant in Italy to work on the heat treatment of liquid and solid waste containing sulphur. Spent sulphuric acid is also regenerated here. As a result of its advanced technology and high calibre specialist personnel, the sulphuric acid made in Nuova Solmine is of high quality and purity, comparable to that produced directly from sulphur. Recovering waste that would otherwise be disposed of, the company at the same time contributes significantly to environmental protection. Nuova Solmine continuously improves its structures

Industry Europe 25


and technology to achieve not only high efficiency but also the best environmental care. By recovering the sulphur contained in liquid and solid industrial waste, often classified as dangerous, the company not only saves raw materials but by efficient waste treatment also prevents sulphur dioxide emissions, thus limiting any negative environmental impact. The whole process is managed with the utmost care from receipt, unloading and stocking through to treatment and final recovery in the two incineration lines: a static furnace for liquid waste, and a rotating drum furnace principally used for solid waste.

26 Industry Europe

Nuova Solmine plants work within a continuous production cycle, around the clock, 365 days a year, thereby guaranteeing that clients can deliver their waste products all year round. The ample stocking facilities available for various types of waste are an added advantage.

International player Nuova Solmine’s key market is Italy, but a substantial amount of product is sold in export markets, particularly in the Mediterranean basin countries, including France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Israel, Turkey and Greece. In 2012, Solmine founded a subsidiary in Spain, its most important, and nearest, international market: Nuova Solmine Iberia, with its own storage for local distribution. The company also has customers in Portugal, and further afield in Central and South America, where sulphuric acid plays a major part in metal processing and fertiliser production. Nuova Solmine is associated with leading international organisations in its sector. It is a full member of the European Sulphuric Acid Association, a division of the European Chemical Industry Council, bringing together European sulphuric acid producers, as well as the International Fertiliser Industry Association. It also subscribes to the General Confederation of Italian Industry, the Italian Federation of the Chemical Industry, and the Italian Electrical Association. The company also actively participates in the Responsible Care Programme and SET (Emergency Transport Service). In compliance with the European REACH regulation (CE 1907/2006), the company has provided for the registration of all the sulphuric acid and oleum it produces and imports, whether they are classified dangerous or not, for quantities higher than one tonne per year. n


CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS NEWS

New developments in the Chemicals & Biochemicals

Lego To Develop Bricks Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles by Ash Jones

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anish toymaker Lego has unveiled plans to sell bricks made of PET plastics sourced from recycled drinks bottles within the next two years as part of its continued efforts towards sustainability. This marks the culmination of a team of 150 engineers and scientists' ingenuity over three years to look for a viable alternative to the oilbased plastics the company currently uses to make its world-famous toys. The company tested over 250 variations of PET materials and hundreds of other plastic formulations over this period to find the right polymer for the job. The result meets several of the toymaker's safety, quality and play requirements, Lego claims. Lego bricks come in over 3,500 variants and one of the key aspects of the challenge was a product with a shelf life of years, perhaps decades. The company estimates it needs between 18 to 24 months before these bricks appear in retail outlets, with the team continuing to refine the formula. "We know kids care about the environment and want us to make our products more sus-

tainable," said Tim Brooks, the Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at Lego. "Even though it will be a while before they will be able to play with bricks made from recycled plastic, we want to let kids know we’re working on it and bring them along on the journey with us." "Experimentation and failing is an important part of learning and innovation. Just as kids build, unbuild and rebuild with Lego bricks at home, we’re doing the same in our lab," he added. Lego bricks have been a staple of childhood memories for more than 60 years and the company is aiming to show that it is moving with the times.

Brooks did not specify how many types of blocks would be converted to their PET variants. However, he did add the two types should be interchangeable and fit together without issue. The PET used meets US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) standards and is primarily sourced from the US. The company claims one plastic bottle can provide enough material for around ten 2 x 4 bricks. This marks a continued trajectory towards sustainability for the Danish toymaker. In 2018, it began producing elements from bio-polyethylene and in 2020 vowed to remove single-use plastics from its boxes. The Bio-PE polymers are perfect for making softer parts of lego sets - trees, branches, leaves, and various accessories. Brooks added: “We’re committed to playing our part in building a sustainable future for generations of children. We want our products to have a positive impact on the planet, not just with the play they inspire, but also with the materials we use. "We still have a long way to go on our journey but are pleased with the progress we’re making.” Visit: www.lego.com/en-gb

Open Letter Calls For G7 Summit To Tackle Plastic Pollution by Ash Jones

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n open letter has been signed by a number of key businesses and campaigners to call on governments to tackle the growing issue of plastic pollution at this year's G7 summit to be held in Cornwall. Big players such as Nestlé are joined by supermarket chains Aldi, Iceland and the Co-op and others to try to forge a path for a binding global treaty to tackle the threat of plastic pollution. Nestlé is currently one of the world's leaders in plastic pollution, constantly ranking near the top of studies done into the field, but has pledged to cut its plastic pollution and focus on recycling recently. In all, more than 30 business leaders, environmental groups, campaigners, peers and MPs signed the letter ahead of the G7 summit in June. TV Presenter Chris Packham and activist group Surfers Against Sewage have also offered their support. They warn that 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, while less than 10% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled. "The rest piles up in landfills, is incinerated, or ends up littering our natural environment for centuries," the letter added. The letter also warned the pandemic has contributed to this issue by leading to "mountains" of discarded PPE. It said: “The pandemic has only sent us deeper into this crisis. In just two months, one billion items of PPE were handed out in the UK alone.

Globally, three million face masks are thrown away every minute – amounting to 129 billion every month – mostly disposable, mostly plastic. “Globally three million face masks are thrown away every minute – amounting to 129 billion every month – mostly disposable, mostly plastic." The letter also notes that 70 governments, including the UK, have expressed support for a global plastic treaty to tackle the problem, noting the issue will never b dealt with without a united global effort. Some of these governments are also set to attend the G7 summit. The global plastic pollution issue currently threatens the Paris Climate Accord targets by contributing to the climate crisis via carbon emissions. Recent research found that 55% of all plastic pollution is conducted by 20 companies. Both state-owned and private businesses make it onto the list which is made up of oil and gas giants and chemical companies, according to a detailed new analysis. There has also been a scientific push for ways of dealing with plastic pollution on a mass scale. For example, a recent research unit in China found a bacteria that could consume certain types of plastic polymers. This follows on from a number of other similar enzymes that have been discovered to be able to digest plastic, but significant strides need to be made to unleash it on an industrial scale. Industry Europe 27


NEWS

New developments in the Chemicals & Biochemicals

Mura Technology Brings Its Innovative Plastic Recycling To Japan by Ash Jones Credit: Mumtahina Tanni / Pexels

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ura Technology has partnered with engineering company KBR and Mitsubishi's chemicals arm to develop its first hydrothermal plastic recycling technology project (Hydro-PRT) in Japan. The project, which was hastened by the Tokyo Olympics, should help reduce latent plastic waste in the country by recycling end-of-life plastic that would otherwise be incinerated, sent to landfill, or leak into the environment as pollution. Based at the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation's (MCC) plant in the Ibaraki prefecture, the technology allows for waste plastic to be converted into virgin polymers and chemicals by separating them back into oil and gas. The company claims there are no limits to how many times this can be recycled and may have uses outside of traditional commercial plastic products, such as road building materials. The process can also supposedly recycle many types of plastic that cannot be recycled through normal measures. Construction on the project is expected to be complete in 2023 and should have the capacity to handle 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year, with plans to increase this capacity in the future.

Japan currently disposes of around 9 million tonnes of plastic waste per year, and MCC will be seeking to extend the scope of this project and target these plastics as raw materials. Japan currently recycles around 84% of its plastic waste, but the majority is burned to create energy from waste that is not reprocessed into the plastics supply chain. Its commitment to plastic recycling was already evident during the Tokyo Olympics, where a flagship recycling programme transformed 24.5 tonnes of plastic waste into the champions' victory podiums. The project will start on post-industrial plastics, but the project should be scalable to meet rising demand, Mura claims. This is not the first collaboration between Mura and KBR, who are hoping to utilise the hydrothermal method across the globe. The two signed an agreement in January to explore opportunities in Asia, the USA and Europe. “This the latest in a series of agreements that Mura and KBR have signed, and further underlines the vital role which Hydro-PRT will play in tackling the global plastics crisis," Mura Technology's CEO Steve McMahon said. “Plastic waste is polluting our environment at an alarming rate, not to mention the carbon emissions caused by utilising the fossil fuels needed to make virgin plastics. "We need global, sustainable, and scalable solutions today. That is why we are taking an international approach – to scale fast and meet the challenge head-on – and we are proud of the work that will be completed at the Ibaraki plant," he added. Mura's most recent project is a Hydro-PRT plant in Teeside, in the UK, scheduled for operation in 2022. The company says it will be looking to recycle 80,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually. Visit: muratechnology.com

Open Letter Calls For G7 Summit To Tackle Plastic Pollution by Ash Jones

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n open letter has been signed by a number of key businesses and campaigners to call on governments to tackle the growing issue of plastic pollution at this year's G7 summit to be held in Cornwall. Big players such as Nestlé are joined by supermarket chains Aldi, Iceland and the Co-op and others to try to forge a path for a binding global treaty to tackle the threat of plastic pollution. Nestlé is currently one of the world's leaders in plastic pollution, constantly ranking near the top of studies done into the field, but has pledged to cut its plastic pollution and focus on recycling recently. In all, more than 30 business leaders, environmental groups, campaigners, peers and MPs signed the letter ahead of the G7 summit in June. They warn that 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, while less than 10% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled. 28 Industry Europe

"The rest piles up in landfills, is incinerated, or ends up littering our natural environment for centuries," the letter added. The letter also warned the pandemic has contributed to this issue by leading to "mountains" of discarded PPE. It said: “The pandemic has only sent us deeper into this crisis. In just two months, one billion items of PPE were handed out in the UK alone. Globally, three million face masks are thrown away every minute – amounting to 129 billion every month – mostly disposable, mostly plastic. “Globally three million face masks are thrown away every minute – amounting to 129 billion every month – mostly disposable, mostly plastic." The letter also notes that 70 governments, including the UK, have expressed support for a global plastic treaty to tackle the problem, noting the issue will never b dealt with without a united global effort.

Some of these governments are also set to attend the G7 summit. The global plastic pollution issue currently threatens the Paris Climate Accord targets by contributing to the climate crisis via carbon emissions. Recent research found that 55% of all plastic pollution is conducted by 20 companies. Both state-owned and private businesses make it onto the list which is made up of oil and gas giants and chemical companies, according to a detailed new analysis. There has also been a scientific push for ways of dealing with plastic pollution on a mass scale. For example, a recent research unit in China found a bacteria that could consume certain types of plastic polymers. This follows on from a number of other similar enzymes that have been discovered to be able to digest plastic, but significant strides need to be made to unleash it on an industrial scale.


CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

EU Launches Public Consultation On Revised Chemicals Labelling by Steven Gislam

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he European Commission has begun a public consultation on the revision of its CLP Regulation, which relates to the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical products. The revision is one of 85 actions planned in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, which was adopted in October 2020 as the first step towards zero pollution. Organisations and citizens are encouraged to share their opinions until the deadline of 15 November 2021. The CLP Regulation is the EU's central legislation on identification and communication of a chemical's dangerous properties and stems from the UN global standard. It lays out how to classify hazardous chemicals - whether to humans or the environment - and how those hazards should be communicated across the supply chain and to workers and consumers. As part of the revision, the Commission says it will look at a number of measures and options to bring in new classes of hazard, such as toxicity, bioaccumulation and endocrine disruption. The revision is part of the European Green Deal and the Chemicals Strategy and the Commission argues that it is necessary to bring about a higher level of protection for the environment and citizens. It may also provide an opportunity to substitute some hazardous chemicals with safer ones, and to promote the EU chemicals sector as a frontrunner in the production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals.

An impact assessment is currently underway to find the best way forward and the public consultation forms a part of this. The Commission has called for citizens, organisations and institutions from both the public and private sectors on how best to revise the CLP Regulation, and says will also take technical and scientific progress into account. Visit: ec.europa.eu Image: CESIO

Bayer Loses Third Consecutive US Appeal Over Roundup Health Issues by Ash Jones

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US appeals court has once again ruled against Bayer and its infamous weedkiller Roundup in the latest litigations aimed at the German company over concerns its herbicide has been linked with cancer. This time, the court chose to uphold a 2019 ruling which ruled in favour of a couple who faced health issues after long-term exposure to the glyphosate-based product. This marks the company's third consecutive appeals loss of cases that have gone to trial. A California judge refused to overturn the ruling against Bayer on behalf of the husband and wife plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who fell ill after using Roundup for more than three decades, which initially awarded the pair $2 billion (€1.7 billion) in damages. The court also chose to uphold the decision to reduce the payment to $86.7 million (€73.9 million) after the judge suggested the awarded damages were too high. The court found that "Monsanto’s conduct evidenced reckless disregard of the health and

safety of the multitude of unsuspecting consumers it kept in the dark". "This was not an isolated incident; Monsanto’s conduct involved repeated actions over a period of many years motivated by the desire for sales and profit," it added. It also claims Bayer attempted to hide the dangers of glyphosate. Bayer is still currently embroiled in thousands of lawsuits, which it inherited after its purchase of Monsanto in 2018, over claims the weedkiller has been linked with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Only a few have actually gone to court.

Credit: Pixavril / Shutterstock

The 2019 settlement originally awarded the couple the settlement after their cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were linked with the weedkiller. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated in 2020 that glyphosate should be safe for human use, provided the proper precautions and safety measures are taken. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic" to humans. US judges have already suggested Bayer place warning labels on Roundup to instruct proper use and prevent any health effects from using the product. Bayer, however, continued to maintain glyphosate is safe for human use. A fourth trial against Bayer commenced last week in San Bernardino, California. The chemical giant said it plans to ask the US Supreme Court to take up another case it lost in 2019, with the company denying culpability after a federal watchdog found glyphosate was not carcinogenic. Visit: www.bayer.com/en Industry Europe 29


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HARVESTING THE FUTURE CLAAS, the Germany-based major manufacturer of agricultural machinery, has sailed through the pandemic-ridden year with flying colours, continuing its international expansion and launching new products. Romana Moares reports.

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LAAS, a family business founded in 1913, is the European market leader in combine harvesters and the world leader in self-propelled forage harvesters. CLAAS is also a top performer in worldwide agricultural engineering with tractors, agricultural balers and green harvesting machinery. In addition to machines, the CLAAS product portfolio also includes advanced farming information technology. Despite the adverse effects of Covid-19, CLAAS has succeeded in implementing its major investment projects as planned. At the Le Mans tractor plant, state-of-the-art production technologies have greatly increased flexibility and efficiency. At Harsewinkel, the first phase of a major modernisation project in the sphere of combine harvester assembly was completed. And in France and the UK, new sales centres were opened, offering additional options in terms of service and after-sales business.

State-of-the-art workstations The CLAAS tractor factory in Le Mans, France – the “Future Factory” – has officially started operations following three years of modernisation. Drawing on advanced digital technologies, the production facilities set new standards. CLAAS gave the go-ahead for its latest major investment in Le Mans back in 2017. Investments totalling €40 million were made primarily on a complete renewal of assembly equipment and digital transformation of the plant. This brings the total investment in Le Mans, the development centre in Vélizy and the test and validation centre in Trangé to around €80 million since the acquisition of Renault Agriculture in 2003. Industry Europe 31


“Our completely refurbished plant in Le Mans raises the bar for the production of premium and connected agricultural tractors”, says Thomas Böck, Chair of the CLAAS Group Executive Board. “We have opened a new chapter in the continued growth of our global business.” At present, five tractor model series from 75 to 460 hp are produced in Le Mans. Together with the development centre in Vélizy near Paris and the test and validation centre in Trangé, around 1,000 people are employed in Le Mans. The locations cooperate closely with other development centres and plants, such as in Germany with CLAAS E-Systems in Dissen or with CLAAS Industrietechnik in Paderborn, where the TERRA TRAC crawler track units for the AXION 900 TERRA TRAC and the continuously variable power split transmissions for the ARION 500 and ARION 600 model series are built. Opened at the same time, the new technology centre in Ymeray close to Chartres means that CLAAS is continuing to strengthen its presence 32 Industry Europe

in France, being the largest producer of agricultural technology in the European Union. CLAAS has been producing agricultural balers in Metz since 1958 and now employs over 2,200 people in the country.

Innovation with Awards Having established a technological lead with the self-learning operator assistance and machine optimisation system for combine and forage harvesters, in 2020 CLAAS extended this ground-breaking technology to the tractor sector with the launch of CEMOS for Tractors. The “DLG-approved” quality seal awarded in December 2020 certified increases in area output of up to 16.3% and at the same time, fuel savings of up to 16.8% during cultivation work. These impressive efficiency savings achieved by CEMOS for tractors have been duly appreciated by the market: the CLAAS AXION 960 CEMOS was voted ‘Sustainable Tractor of the Year 2021’ by a panel of international journalists.


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In recent years, CLAAS has also rolled out hybrid threshing technology in mid-range performance segments. Since 2009, for example, the product range has included an APS threshing unit in combination with a single rotor in the TUCANO HYBRID. Meanwhile, 2019 has also seen another seed-green hybrid – the youngest member of the CLAAS hybrid family – start to roll off the production line in China: the DOMINATOR 370.

Stronger through crisis The global pandemic of 2020 has not shaken CLAAS’s leading position. On top of increased capital investments in fixed assets totalling €131 million, expenditure on research and development, totalling €237 million, once again remained at a very high level. “CLAAS managed to achieve sales growth and to improve profitability despite the pandemic and shutdowns in production. In the process, our widespread international presence has paid off,” affirmed Thomas Böck.

Whilst sales in Germany, France and the other western European countries remained largely stable, they grew significantly in eastern Europe and especially in Russia. At around 20%, CLAAS achieved its strongest sales growth outside of Europe, with North America proving to be the most important growth driver. Reflecting on the future, Böck said: “Working under pandemic conditions has accelerated the digital transformation at CLAAS. We are continuing to drive forward holistic and integrated solutions to seize the tremendous innovation potential in agriculture. We are focusing on dialogue, benefiting the customer, and keeping an eye on sustainable interactions between technology and n the environment.” Industry Europe 33


FILTRATION SOLUTIONS FOR A CLEANER TOMORROW

It all started with their first products, fabric air filters, made in Ludwigsburg. Today, roughly eight decades later, Mann Hummel is one of the global market leaders for filtration. Driven by sustainability, digitisation, and the development of mobility, the company provides innovative solutions to improve the everyday life of people on the planet.

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he group develops solutions for vehicles, industrial applications, clean air in interior spaces and the sustainable use of water. The core competence of the company is the filtration of pollutants and micro-particulates of all kinds from air, water, oil and fuels. The family-owned company was established in 1941 but didn’t push for global expansion until 1991. The goals of this internationalisation were not only to reduce production and logistics costs but also to get closer to customers. With the group strategy “Leadership in Filtration”, initiated in 2009, the key elements emerged: quality and innovation leadership, global customer-oriented service and continued growth by acquiring filtration companies. Although automotive is the company’s key sector, its products and solutions are used in a variety of applications every day, all across the globe, including compressors, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, water purification and wastewater treatment systems.

Virus-free air There will always be a need for filtration. Filtration technology is an important component in respecting basic human rights, via access to cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthy environment. This need has been further accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Using its 60 years of cleanroom and operating theatre filtration know-how, as well as its significant in-house simulation and testing expertise, Mann Hummel now offers state-of-the-art mobile and stationary air purification systems in different designs and configurations. For buildings with existing heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the company has developed a new H13 and H14 ePTFE membrane HEPA filter element, the Nanoclass Pro Membrane, which allows the easy upgrade of HVAC systems to the HEPA level. These air purifiers with built-in HEPA H14 capture more than 99.995% of viruses and their mutations, bacteria and other microorganisms, so aerosol levels stay constantly low indoors and the risk of infections can be reduced.

Battling the virus on another front, one of Mann Hummel’s successful internal start-ups, PURAR, has brought mask-wearing to a new level. Re-usable, designed and engineered in Germany, the facemask’s washable outer shell closes off smoothly on the face, and its replaceable filter elements help the wearer stay safe and comfortable.

Consolidating production capacity The company, now approaching its 80th anniversary, is in sound consolidated shape, following the pandemic-driven year of 2020. In November last year, the group proposed closing its main manufacturing facility at Hilton Cross Business Park in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, as it reviewed its operational footprint. With the closing of this Wolverhampton production facility, all manufacturing will be relocated within the European Mann Hummel network. The manufacturing operations are expected to be fully closed by the end of 2022, although the company will remain active with all its business offerings and services in the United Kingdom. “Over the past months, several opportunities have been presented and evaluated to improve the plant’s competitiveness”, said Marco Heck, senior vice president of operations at Europe Automotive Systems. “Unfortunately, we concluded that savings or other

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measures could not offset the dramatic decline in volume. We know that the decision to close the plant will be more than difficult for our employees, and we are committed to working in close cooperation with our negotiation partners”.

Future viability The decision to close the Wolverhampton plant resulted from a difficult market environment, declining manufacturing volume, and the entire automotive industry undergoing a structural transition throughout Europe. Mann Hummel claims it will focus even more on filtration products and continues to intensify its activities in the Life Sciences & Environment business unit.

“We see our core competence of filtration as a key technology that can make a lasting and decisive contribution to cleaner mobility, cleaner water and cleaner air. The primary goal here is to secure the company’s future viability while at the same time expanding our market leadership in air filtration,” said Thomas Fischer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the group. Reflecting on the company anniversary, he added: “We owe our continued success mainly to our reliability, continuity and identification as a family-owned company. As Chairman of the Supervisory Board and grandson of one of the founders, Adolf Mann, I am very proud to be able to continue the legacy started in 1941, along with n dedicated employees”.

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ENHANCING THE VIEW NorDan Group, the Norwegian manufacturer of windows, doors and smart accessories, not only pursued business expansion during the pandemic months but also progressed toward higher levels of environmental protection. Romana Moares reports.

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ince its founding in 1926, the NorDan Group has grown to become one of Europe’s prime manufacturers of windows, doors and smart accessories. There have been many changes and milestones in the company’s development over the years but one thing remains the same: the NorDan Group continues to be a family-owned company, run by the same basic values as when it was first founded. The group’s head office is in Moi, Norway, the exact same place the company was founded over 90 years ago, but its operations have spread far and wide - a high degree of local presence has been an important contributor to NorDan’s unique market position. NorDan is today present in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Ireland, Poland and Lithuania. Today the group consists of 12 factories and 30 project management offices with over 2,000 employees, and these serve the construction industry primarily in Scandinavia and the UK in line with each market’s requirements and demands.

UK presence The group has been present in the UK for over 40 years and aspires to become the leading Scandinavian window supplier to the UK housing market. The list of projects with NorDan’s involvement is extensive, and the group’s position continues to be strong. In March 2021, NorDan was awarded a contract to supply windows and doors for two new developments in the London Borough of Lewisham. As well as front-end product manufacturing, NorDan also offers complete standardisation of any aftersales product requirements. This includes ancillary items such as handles and vents. Also in March, the group won one of the first major contracts for NorDan in the Welsh market, the Heol Y Ffynnon project in Brecon. NorDan will supply timber window and door products as part of a £5.1 million (€5.95 million) affordable housing development, the first affordable housing development for social rent in over forty years. Industry Europe 39


Designed and manufactured to resist the harsh Norwegian winters, NorDan timber products far exceed the British standards for weather performance, so they were the ideal solution for Heol Y Ffynnon, notorious for having substantial rainfall.

Environmental agenda Quality and reliability are not the only attributes of NorDan’s products. Sustainability and environmental thinking are also an integral part of the group’s identity. From using renewable energy to improved certification for environmental management, NorDan’s factories are already busy planning for an even more sustainable future. The company’s environmental focus has not gone unnoticed. Spearheaded by the world’s first 3D-printed bio composite window, NorDan recently received international recognition for their product development and quality management in a sustainability perspective, by the independent International Academy for Quality. As a world’s first, NorDan showcased a circular window unlike any other in late 2019: traditionally, timber windows are manufactured

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using six-metre-long stock being cut, milled and processed before being assembled into the final product. For circular windows this is very resource intensive and often involved a significant amount of waste. NorDan’s award winning solution involved an entirely new approach. Instead of beginning with a window that is larger than the final product and removing material from it – so-called subtractive manufacturing – new technology was implemented that allowed for additive manufacturing. By only applying material where it is needed, NorDan’s industrial grade 3D printer manufacturing line allows for a far more efficient use of the biocomposite material while at the same time reducing the amount of manual finishing needed.

Johannes Rasmussen came from Denmark to Norway and founded the company, and the name ‘NorDan’ itself is an abbreviation of ‘Norway Danmark’. I am very pleased to be coming full circle and finally establishing a NorDan presence in Denmark.” Further acquisitions have followed. Effective February 2020, the NorDan Group acquired 100% of the shares in the Irish subsidiary NorDan Vinduer Ltd., and in October, the Norwegian façade builder and aluminium solutions provider AS Rubicon became the most recent member of the NorDan Group. These acquisitions are set to further strengthen the commitment to providing reliable and sustainable products to the group’s key markets. n

Expanding the reach The group’s rapid international expansion has continued during the pandemic. In January, NorDan Group entered Denmark by acquiring 70% of the shares in the Danish window manufacturer STM Vinduer AS. The acquisition marked an important milestone, with NorDan returning to Denmark nearly 95 years after the company’s Danish founder originally moved to Norway and established the window and door manufacturer in 1926. NorDan Gruppen CEO, Tore Rasmussen, commented: “NorDan holds a strong position in Norway, Sweden, the UK and Ireland, but Denmark has until now remained outside our core markets.

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THE RIGHT COVER Whether for a new build, renovation work or the preservation of historical monuments, Wienerberger’s clay roof tiles are amongst the best in Europe.

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ustria-headquartered Wienerberger Group is a major provider of smart solutions for the entire building envelope. Together with its more than 16,000 employees at 197 production sites in 29 countries, the company improves the life of people and, with its products and systems, enables energy-efficient, healthy, climatefriendly and affordable living. Wienerberger is Europe’s largest clay roof tile manufacturer. In Western Europe, its clay roof tiles are sold under the brand Koramic. In the British market, the company is represented by the brand Sandtoft, and in central and south-east Europe Wienerberger operates through its Tondach brand, acquired in 2014.

ponents can include roofing underlays, insulating material and other accessories, such as the Sturmfix 2.0 Wind Protection for example. The company is continuously expanding its range and is developing a variety of solutions tailored specifically to local needs. Sustainability is at the core of Wienerberger’s products. Clay is a renewable resource, widely and locally available. The sustainable extraction of clay contributes to new habitats for nature and to greater biodiversity. Moreover, ceramic products are characterised by an extremely long lifespan, which can reach up to a hundred years and more.

Durable, cost-effective, sustainable Roofs made from clay roof tiles offer the best protection for houses against weather and wet conditions. Clay roof tiles protect the building and offer numerous possibilities for the expression of regional identity and cultural heritage. They are aesthetic and durable, as well as cost-effective. The clay tile is a natural product, without chemical additives. It offers numerous design possibilities and is ideal for sloped roof designs. The clay roof tile portfolio by Wienerberger cleverly combines functionality and design aesthetics, offering a perfectly engineered economical roof solution. The range covers varnished, refined, flat bricks, or those with an engobe finish, to more traditional flat roof tiles. The company’s system solutions, along with their matching components, make work easier for roofers. These additional comIndustry Europe 43


Ceramic products are also colour-proof, permanently beautiful and virtually maintenance free. In this way they contribute to a sustainable, value-stable operation. Needless to say, the roof contributes significantly to a building’s energy efficiency. With its energy-efficient brick solutions and its innovative piping systems, Wienerberger is already contributing significantly to improved environmental protection. In terms of its actual operations, Wienerberger intends to step up its activities aimed at the decarbonisation of production and the product portfolio, the promotion of the circular economy and the preservation of biodiversity. The targets set for 2023 include a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions against 2020. Moreover, all newly developed products are to be 100% recyclable or reusable.

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Unshaken by pandemic Over the past 10 years, the company has been repositioned on a completely new basis, and, as a result of its consistent focus on performance enhancement, has succeeded in significantly increasing its profitability. That helped the business survive the pandemic unscathed; Wienerberger’s good performance during the Covid-19 crisis has underlined its business resilience. Heimo Scheuch, the new CEO appointed in the spring, said: “Our strong first 2021 quarter results clearly show that in recent months we have reacted swiftly and appropriately to the challenging environment. “ He further pointed out that the first months of the year were characterised by increased renovation activity across all of Wiener-


CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING

berger’s markets, and in this segment, the company has benefited substantially from its sustainable and innovative product solutions. “In the first half of 2021, Covid-19 continued to contribute to ongoing uncertainty in our markets, but we nonetheless expect to see a recovery of demand in both new build and infrastructure in Europe.”

Expected recovery

2023, we are now moving forward, building on this strong foundation. We are therefore very well positioned to grow organically and further advance our pioneering role by offering sustainable and smart solutions to the construction industry. At the same time, we will take advantage of opportunities for acquisitions and thus play an active n role in the consolidation of our industry.”

Scheuch emphasised that Wienerberger’s resilient supply chain structures, including local sourcing and supporting hedging policies across all its business units, will continue to provide some level of protection from rising input prices. Wienerberger will offset the current price growth for raw materials and other operating supplies by correspondingly increasing its prices in 2021. “From Wienerberger’s perspective, the shortage of skilled labour and the growing importance of healthy living have the potential to drive significant growth for our business, further supported by digitisation of processes and the use of prefabricated solutions that will result in improved efficiency on the construction site and savings of valuable resources.” He affirmed that the developments of recent months have confirmed the strength of the Wienerberger Group. “With our Strategy

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GROWING IN PARTNERSHIPS Founded in the 1950s as a family business in a small artisan workshop, Italy-based Sampierana is today a recognised specialist in bespoke vehicle technology for prime OEMs.

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ampierana is a well-established Italian manufacturer with over 50 years of experience in the earthmoving sector. The company is headquartered in San Piero in Bagno, in Emilia-Romagna where the undercarriages, earthmoving machinery and spare parts are designed and assembled. Sampierana also owns a branch in Modena with a 6,000 m2 warehouse and a 30,000 m2 logistics hub in Cesena. Its customer-centric approach, a passion to fully accommodate their needs before, during and after the construction of the machines as well as professional after-sales assistance is what differentiates the company from its competitors.

Three business lines The company consists of three divisions - the oldest, and the original core business, is Undercarriages, which has been producing fixed and extendable track undercarriages since the 1980s: with 100 standard models and almost unlimited customisation possibilities, Sampierana’s undercarriages are supplied to the biggest global OEMs. In 1993 Sampierana acquired an Italian company known for the construction of small articulated backhoe loaders with the aim of improving and expanding their production. This was the birth of Sampierana’s second division, Eurocomach.

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Today the brand offers two product lines: mini-excavators from 1 to 10 tons in weight - a range recently expanded by the 4-5.5 tonne segment - and compact wheeled and tracked loaders. The products are continuously enhanced in terms of performance and quality, in line with evolving customer requirements. The company employs a solid dealer network that has helped to make the brand known around the world, supporting the ‘Made in Italy’ reputation which stands for passion, reliability and innovation. Eurocomach technological solutions are designed to minimize downtime and repair costs. The machines are suitable for any site and are sold worldwide from Europe to Latin America and Australia. Starting from March 2021, the company is launching four new mini-excavators in the 4-5 tonne range: the 42ZT and 50ZT with

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mono-boom and the 45TR and 55TR with a triple boom. Defined by the same attractive design of the most recent models 60ZT and 65TR, the new 4-5 tonne machines offer increased performance and enhanced comfort. They are of compact design, equipped with Stage 5 engines and fan drive; the hydraulic system is load-sensing with an electronicallycontrolled pump according to the type of use (Economy, Standard and Power). The driver will enjoy a wide cabin and a complete and intuitive control panel, using a new onboard computer imported from higher segment models. Last but not least, Sampierana also offers original spare parts for undercarriages within its U/C Spare Parts Division, its newest business line. In addition to original parts, the company also functions as an authorized dealer for Berco Original Parts, a leading


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producer of spare parts for repairing and overhauling undercarriages and undercarriage components. “We have been a Berco Authorized Dealer for over 40 years and in 2007 we decided to create a line of components under the Sampierana® brand. Chains, rollers, steel or rubber tracks and more: every component is carefully designed to perfectly match earthmoving machine needs,” says Alessandro Goisis, Sampierana’s Marketing Manager.

Collaboration with Bosch Rexroth

sure and power. The EOC system allows maximum flexibility and customization of thes functions based on the type of work to be performed and the preferences of the operator. Adjustment takes place exclusively electronically while maintaining the hardware unchanged. “We have come a long way over the decades. Despite our global expansion, we want to keep the roots anchored in our territory and create quality solutions that give added value to our customers. In collaboration with reliable partners such as Bosch Rexroth we can achieve these goals: by integrating skills, sharing knowledge and n improving and growing together, “ Goisis added.

Technical progress is bringing innovative solutions to earthmoving machinery thanks to electromobility, aiming to meet the demands of machine manufacturers for compliance with regulations on eco-mobility, emissions and efficiency even in the most severe operating conditions. With a view to offering solutions that bring value transformation to end-users, Sampierana has entered into collaboration with Bosch Rexroth, one of the main strategic suppliers specialised in the supply of electrohydraulic solutions. The electromobility sector is evolving fast as a result of new-generation digitised components. Thanks to the EOC system (electronic open circuit system) from Bosch Rexroth, Sampierana with its Eurocomach brand was able to design - in less than two years - two innovative models for end-users: the 60ZT and 65TR. The machines offer high-level agility, reduce costs and the likelihood of machine downtime, increase productivity and comply with the latest environmental regulations. The main objective is to achieve maximum performance by actively controlling the physics of the system in terms of flow, presIndustry Europe 49


NEWS

New developments in the Construction & Engineering

Italy's WASP Creates 3D Printed Living Space Based On 1960s Artwork by Ash Jones

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taly's WASP, a company specialising in 3D printing liveable homes, has completed work on the printing phase of the "House of Dust" sculpture - a sustainable living space based on artwork from the 1960s. The sculpture, which marks the second major project undertaken by the company, was completed in collaboration with the Museum Wiesbaden and was based on the works of culture artist Alison Knowles. It comes just a few months after WASP completed work on the first permanent 3D living space in its native Italy. The project was based on a concept Knowles developed in 1967 with Siemens - the first major example of a computer-generated poem - that created stanzas by selecting words from a finite list. This idea was translated into a real liveable sculpture created in Chelsea, New York in 1968 before finding a home at the California Institute of the Arts in Burbank, California.

The project successfully melds poetry, architecture and computer science and formed an important milestone in her artistic career. Knowles helped form the avant-garde Fluxus movement in the 1950s and has dedicated her life to breaking the boundaries between various art forms. The project involved creating a living space using poetry generated through a computer and was open to members of the public to spend time there. This inspired the printing process for the new model, by taking the firm's layering 3D printing technologies and delivering through the use of natural materials. The project took over 50 hours to complete and required over 500 machine codes to coordinate the 165 layers of 15mm material, alongside 15km of extrusion. The company reports that eight cubic metres of natural materials were used in the construction of the project. The sculpture stands roughly 2.5 metres tall with a surface area of 16 square metres. The project was delivered using the same "Crane WASP" technology that built the first livable habitat in Italy back in January, which utilises multiple 3D printers operating at the same time. Members of the public can even book to spend a night within the sculpture, which offers an earthy design blending art with practical application and sustainable living.

Skanska Wins A €330m Tunnel Contract In Norway by Romana Moares

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wedish construction company Skanska says it will use tunnel boring machines to construct a 19 km long water and sewage tunnel in Oslo. The €330 million contract is the second awarded to Skanska as part of a major development project, aiming to ensure the provision of drinking water in the area, even in the face of failure in parts of the supply system. 50 Industry Europe

WASP has been 3D printing based on the concepts of the circular economy and digital fabrication since 2012. Its methods are inspired by the potter wasp, which uses wood and pulp to build sturdy nests. The company's speciality is 3D printing fully liveable houses, which it has been doing on the public market since early 2021 when it unveiled its first major project. "The transformation of ways of living and working in a world influenced by globalisation, digitisation and climate change is one of the central themes of our time," said Massimo Moretti, WASP's founder. He added: “Developing processes to build a home as the birthright for every person is a responsibility of the most advanced societies. "The humblest materials, the waste from the agri-food chain and the raw earth deposited by a machine at the point and in the quantity proportionate to transform the shapeless matter at house is the process that WASP is developing. Living in a sculpture is the crystallisation of the process." Knowles' artwork is one of ten temporary liveable sculptures created by artists present in the Frankfurt metropolitan area. The sculptures will remain there until September 26. Members of the public can book to spend a night inside one of these sculptures online. Visit: www.3dwasp.com/en

The first contract with The Agency for Water and Wastewater Services in Oslo Municipality, signed in August last year, includes the blasting of rock chambers and the construction of three large tunnels with a total length of five kilometres. With the scope of the first contract, Skanska will utilise up to seven tunnel rigs to take out a total of 1.2 million cubic metres of solid rock. Construction work on the new tunnel will begin in August this year and is expected to be completed by 2027. This is the second large project won in Norway this month. Earlier in July, Skanska signed a contract with Base Property to build an office building in the centre of Stavanger. The project called K8 will be one of the tallest buildings in downtown Stavanger. K8 will be situated close to the public transport hub in Stavanger and will be specially adapted for bicycle commuting. It has high climate and environmental ambitions and will be certified according to BREEAM NOR Excellent. The ambitions are also high when it comes to the working environment. The building will be certified according to the Well Building Standard, which is an international certification scheme for health-promoting buildings based on medical research. Visit: www.skanska.com


CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS UK Engineering Firm Cleveland Bridge Goes Into Administration by Romana Moares

Photo: Simon Rae / Unsplash

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istoric UK-based engineering firm and steel producer Cleveland Bridge is on the market, having fallen into administration after Covid-related project delays. The company that is renowned for its involvement in major projects worldwide, including Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Victoria Falls Bridge in

Zimbabwe, London’s Shard skyscraper and the iconic arch of Wembley Stadium, has suffered a number of operational setbacks, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The latest financial reversal came from a major bridge project in Sri Lanka, which had to be suspended, due to strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The company was acquired by a Saudi investment firm in 2000, which has confirmed it is unwilling to continue to support the historic business. Administrators are, however, optimistic that a buyer will be found for the firm which has a full order book for the next 18 months, a highly skilled workforce and a history of successfully completing high-profile engineering projects worldwide. Martyn Pullin of business advisory firm FRP, appointed to administrate the affairs of the company, said, “Cleveland Bridge UK, which was founded in 1877, has been a flag-bearer for cutting-edge British engineering for more than a century. “But no business is immune to the far-reaching impact of the pandemic, which has delayed major infrastructure projects around the world and put significant financial pressure on the teams behind them.” Visit: www.clevelandbridge.com

Webuild Wins €1bn Contract On Brenner Base Tunnel

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joint venture between Webuild, Italy’s largest construction group, and Swiss engineer Implenia has finalised a €1bn contract to build a section of a high-capacity railway linking northern Italy with the Alps tunnel. The group had been declared the best bidder to design and build a section of a high-capacity railway extending from the Brenner Base Tunnel for 22.5 kilometres between Fortezza and Ponte Gardena on the Italian side of the Alps. The aim of the project is to quadruple capacity on the line between Verona and Fortezza,

along the Munich–Verona railway corridor, significantly reducing travel times. This will partly be achieved by adopting standards that exceed the speed and performance limits of the existing line, which obliges trains to travel at relatively slow speeds, especially on inclines. The project is expected to create 15,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, as well as along the entire supply chain and across the local economy. Webuild currently operates a 51% share in the venture.

The Brenner, which is still under construction, will be the longest railway tunnel in the world at 64 kilometres under the Alps. It will become a key part of Europe’s sustainable mobility network that will include a connection between Verona, Italy, and Munich, Germany via Innsbruck, Austria. The Italian company is already working on three major construction sites for the Brenner, an iconic project for sustainable mobility in Europe, and is involved in a number of other sustainable mobility projects related to the Trans-European Network (TENT), aimed at improving railway connections across the continent. The Group said in a press statement that the win is the latest in a series that will contribute to promoting the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which aims to boost Italy’s post-Covid economy and modernise the country’s infrastructure. Webuild, currently operate complex projects for sustainable mobility, clean hydro energy, clean water, green buildings, supporting clients in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is active in 50 countries on five continents with 70,000 direct and indirect employees from more than 100 nationalities. It ranks among the top 10 in the environment sector. Visit: www.webuildgroup.com/en Industry Europe 51


AT THE FOREFRONT Italy-based Pavan, one of the worldwide industry pioneers in the design and engineering of technologies and integrated product lines for cereal-based foods, continues to grow its business as a member of the German GEA Group. Romana Moares reports.

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ith over 70 years of experience, a wide-ranging portfolio covering several different specialised brands, as well as continuing investment in its R&D capability, Pavan provides highly sophisticated processes and automation solutions, both for single technologies and for a multidisciplinary turnkey approach. Pavan’s portfolio includes the widest possible range of solutions for the production of all types of dry and fresh pasta, as well as for snack pellets and breakfast cereals. The company can also provide dies, cutting systems, die washing equipment, and packaging lines for pasta, baked food goods and snacks. Furthermore, with its Golfetto Sangati equipment range, Pavan offers complete turnkey cereal milling plants. In 2017, Pavan was acquired by the Dusseldorf engineering group GEA, a significant milestone that has further accelerated its growth and global reach.

Group synergies GEA’s acquisition marked a new stage for Pavan, which can rely on the support of a major brand with solid industrial and financial capacity and with the ability to enhance and promote the development of innovative technologies and commercial synergy. To GEA this acquisition was a milestone for the growth and development strategy for its activities in the food industry. Pavan’s know-how in extrusion technologies, its wide range of industrial solutions, and its presence in key international markets all offered enhanced growth. The acquisition of Pavan has helped GEA to extend its presence in pasta production, as well as include ground-breaking technologies, such as the vacuum technology – developed and perfected to create current solutions; and the Thermo Active System (TAS) that has revolutionised the way pasta is dried, yielding higher-quality pasta in a shorter time. Industry Europe 53


Using these technologies, it is possible to make outstanding end products even from flours with low protein content, as high temperatures facilitate coagulation and improve the quality of the pasta. The long experience in pasta manufacturing acquired by Pavan allows the Group to be one of the leading suppliers of fresh pasta production equipment, providing machines for fresh pasta, frozen foods, and ready meals, covering the entire process from dough mixing to sheet preparation.

As part of the operations strategy, production is now due to become more international, in order to increase customer proximity and leverage cost advantages. Additionally, there are plans to concentrate products and processes with synergy potential at certain locations and to increase capacity utilisation. The aim is also to expand standardised production based on modular systems and to optimise the depth of value creation, partly through the reintegration of tasks that had previously been outsourced.

Optimised operation

The factory of the future

With more than 18,000 employees, the GEA Group generated revenue of more than €4.6 billion in 2020. A major focus is on continuously enhancing the sustainability and efficiency of customers’ production processes, while sustaining profitable performance. To this end, the Group has decided on a series of measures to further optimise its operations: a new organisational structure, restructuring measures, and new membership of the Executive Board.

The first major investment within this production strategy is the expansion of the Group’s site in Koszalin located just south of the Baltic Sea coast in north-west Poland. The site will be expanded into a centre of competence for pump production and comprehensive machining, designed to be a climate-neutral production facility. The cornerstone was laid in May 2021 and the facility is set to be operational in 2022. “The Koszalin expansion is more than just

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a build; it is an opportunity to create a competitive, climate-neutral production centre in Europe based on GEA’s needs and industry best-practice – a Factory of the Future,” explained Johannes Giloth, GEA’s Chief Operating Officer. The €37 million investment will enhance the facility’s role in the production of hygienic and vacuum pumps and components. From here, finished pumps can be shipped to end customers globally, for use in the pharmaceutical, chemical, home and personal care, beverage, dairy and food processing industries. “By expanding our Koszalin site, we are further strengthening GEA’s global manufacturing network by increasing productivity, reducing our cost base and shortening lead times for customers. We anticipate a payback period of less than five and a half years, which is quite impressive by any industry standard,” said Holger Gluess, Head of Global Production, GEA.

Further investment and consolidation of production and process activities are planned at other locations. The aim is to further strengthen GEA’s global position while consolidating capacity to n improve efficiency and a cost-effective operation.

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MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT

For over 180 years, the brands of Procter and Gambler have led innovation in order to improve the everyday lives of people around the world. That purpose has not changed - following an extraordinary 2020, the group is stepping up its efforts to do more for communities and for the planet.

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rocter & Gamble, an organisation that is now over 180 years old, is the largest branding company on the planet. This century-long tradition, combined with its start-up mentality, is a sound foundation for the company’s continuous improvement and its drive to change in line with evolving market requirements and customer preferences - an aspect that has helped the business navigate through the difficult year of 2020 and the first half of 2021 with an impressive performance. Commenting on the group’s fiscal year 2021 third-quarter results, P&G’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer David Taylor said: “We delivered another quarter of solid top-line, bottom-line and cash results in what continues to be a challenging operating environment.” “We remain focused on executing our strategies of superiority, productivity, constructive disruption and improving P&G’s organization and culture. These strategies enabled us to build strong business momentum before the Covid crisis and to accelerate our progress during the crisis, and they remain the right strategies to deliver balanced growth and value creation over the long term.” P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel, Bounty, Fairy, Gillette, Head &

Shoulders, Lenor, Olay, Oral-B, Pampers, Pantene and many more. Within its 10 categories, the company is creating sciencebased products delivered with high-quality packaging, consumer communication, retail execution and value in all price tiers where P&G competes.

Innovated portfolio P&G products play an essential role in helping consumers maintain proper hygiene, personal health and healthy home environments - factors that have come into the limelight during the pandemic. Responding to the new market needs, the company has launched two sprays within the P&G Professional Flash portfolio that have been certified as being effective against SARS-CoV-2. They will provide business owners across the care, hospitality and foodservice sectors with peace of mind, used in conjunction with other safety measures such as physical distancing and face coverings. However, the pandemic has not affected P&G’s focus on environmental sustainability, one of its top long-term priorities. These efforts towards a more sustainable world are reflected in the group’s portfolio innovations. To name just a few - recently Pampers created Pampers Pure Protection Hybrid Diapers, its first diapering system that is part reusable, part disposable. The Pure Protection Hybrid

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Pompe Cucchi Pompe Cucchi designs and manufactures gear and metering pumps from 60 years - it is the distributor in Italy of the industrial pumps ITT Jabsco, GRACO pneu¬matic diaphragm pumps, and drum pumps Grun-Pumpen. Engineering, experience, research, passion and dedication is our mission. This is the formula with which Pompe Cucchi works every day to offer you the best products and service. Considering that is improved the requests for micro-metering applications, recently we have increased our range adding the model NAX 0.5, built in AISI316L or Titanium or Hastelloy C FDA compliant - ATEX - API676 - TRCU010 TRCU012 metering flow rates starting from 0,2 l/h.

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Diapers use trusted Pampers technology. They are hypoallergenic and contain 0% fragrance, elemental chlorine, latex (natural rubber), or parabens. In Europe, P&G Beauty is offering a new aluminium reusable, refillable bottle system for Pantene, Aussie, Head & Shoulders and Herbal Essences, along with fully recyclable refill pouches made with 60% less plastic than standard shampoo bottles. The new refill system will be available to as many as 200 million households across Europe and is predicted to halt the production of approximately 300 million virgin plastic bottles per year starting in 2021. And, last but not least, in April 2021, Procter & Gamble’s Ariel laundry detergent brand announced an expanded 2030 Brand Ambition focused on ‘reinventing clean to decarbonise laundry across its entire value chain’. To do this, Ariel has focused on ensuring it can deliver a superior wash in colder water, whilst also committing the brand’s voice to


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encourage small habit changes such as lowering wash temperatures. The brand is also working towards establishing a sustainable supply chain with industry and suppliers, as well as working with partners to focus on innovation.

Responsible consumption “Serving five billion people gives our brands a unique opportunity to promote conversations, influence attitudes and change behaviour,” comments Virginie Helias, Chief Sustainability Officer at Procter & Gamble. “Ariel cleans impeccably in cold water and enables us to switch down the wash temperature when doing the laundry. With this we can all unite on the journey to decarbonise laundry across

the entire value chain, helping the climate without compromising on cleaning performance.” As a company, P&G is committed to ensuring 100% of its packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2030 and to reducing virgin petroleum plastic in packaging by 50% by 2030, as it strives to take action to unleash the circular economy across its portfolio of brands. The next decade represents a critical window to significantly decrease the carbon emitted into the atmosphere and ensure a healthy planet for present and future generations. P&G is committed to being carbon neutral for the decade and will accelerate efforts to curb climate change by taking actions designed to n protect the planet.

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The headquarters of the company located in an area of more than 13 hectares

CREATING

Supravis’s response to the ecological requirements of the food market is the developed concept called 5-POINT ECOSTRATEGY

TRUSTWORTHY

PACKAGING

Supravis S.A., a company from Bydgoszcz, Poland, is the only European manufacturer to offer a comprehensive range of barrier flexible film packaging solutions for the fresh food industry. The company’s products are also used in medical and technical applications, in sectors such as electronics or automotive manufacturing.

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he Supravis story begins back in 1985, when the company was founded. Four years later the production of polyamide casings was launched, while the cast line for production of multilayer barrier films was set in motion in 1999. In 2006 the company launched a UV printing machine that was one of the first of its kind in Europe and the first one in Poland. In 2008 Supravis began production of 7-layer high barrier thermoshrinkable sleeves and 7-layer high barrier casings. In 2014 Supravis acquired BRC Certification, while a year later company launched the blown extrusion line for barrier films and 11-layer production line for high barrier thermoshrinkable sleeves.

structure investment package planned for 2020-2021 is primarily centred on the construction of new production facilities that would increase the company’s production space by one-third and secure a place for future investments. The expansion will allow Supravis to reorganise production so that each department has an optimally planned flow of materials, people and finished products. The whole production process is realised in one production plant in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Despite more than 35 years of dynamic growth and development, Supravis remains a fully family-owned enterprise, currently in its second generation.

Development by investment

Wide range of production

In the years 2012-2020 Supravis allocated more than €60 million to investments, a large portion of which was on its production lines. Single expenditures in the machinery park are close to €5 million each. Year 2018 saw a huge investment in a finished goods warehouse with a capacity of more than 4,500 pallets. The same year, the company’s machinery park was also expanded by a new cast line and another line to produce thermoshrinkable sleeves. The year 2019 saw investment in a new flexographic printer. Since then, although the world has been overshadowed by the pandemic, development plans haven’t been abandoned. The infra-

Supravis S.A. is a global leader, serving customers in more than 50 countries around the world. Export sales account for around 60% of the company’s total sales. Supravis offers a comprehensive range of barrier and high barrier packaging, such as: films for thermoforming, laminated films, thermoshrinkable sleeves, bags and films, vacuum pouches and casings. The cast extrusion lines in the Supravis’ machinery park produce structures up to 11 layers. The annual production capacity in this segment is 18,000 tonnes. The company produces structures for lamination on a 9-layer blown line. In addition, it has triple-bubble

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CONSUMER GOODS Diverse offer for the meat and poultry industry

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Production of cast films

Company laboratory works in a continuous system. We provide 24/7 quality control.

Warehouse of finished products with a capacity of more than 4500 pallets

lines for production of thermoshrinkable sleeves. In the field of flexographic printing, the company offers high-quality services with up to 10 colours. Annually, it prints 110,000,000 running metres of film. Supravis also produces vacuum pouches and shrink bags. Its annual production capacity in this segment is more than 150,000,000 units. The Supravis portfolio also includes a wide range of casings, up to seven layers, which can be additionally printed in UV or solvent technology and shirred upon customer’s request.

The future starts today The biggest development challenge faced by Supravis S.A. is to meet the requirements of the food sector in terms of ecological food packaging solutions. In 2019, the company started a cooperation with international organization CEFLEX, whose task is to enable representatives across the supply chain to achieve the goals of the circular economy.

ELBA S.p.A. ELBA S.p.A. has been producing automatic high-speed pouch and bag making machines since 1956 and it boasts more than 2.500 active installations worldwide that cover several markets (food, pet food, groceries, dairy, chemical, diapers, agricultural, courier and much more), including medical and pharmaceutical ones. ELBA offers its customers tailor-made solutions, from the design to the production of the machines and, moreover, commissioning, training and after-sales support. ELBA’s machines have been designed to be flexible, technologically advanced and easy to use. The modular design allows the machines to be customized and their configuration can be upgraded at any time, to face new unpredictable market demands.

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Blown film production line

Cooperation in the international arena gives the company access to the latest research and technological innovations necessary for the development of its production, taking into account the principles of sustainable development and care for the environment. Supravis S.A. closely follows the legislative changes that appear not only on behalf of the European Union, but also in individual member states. Supravis’ response to the search and implementation of innovative solutions is, above all, to define the main needs of the packaging market in a long-term perspective. This is best demonstrated in the 5-POINT ECOSTRATEGY: 1. Recognize need for change, 2. Reconsider packaging design, 3. Reconfigure product offer, 4. Recover production waste and 5. Reconvert into new uses. The starting point for the concept is to create a circular economy that minimises the negative effects of the use of plastics. Current expectations, implemented guidelines and future European legislation for plastic materials determine the development work towards expanding the company’s offer with MONO packaging, which guarantees the maintenance of the technical parameters of the film while homogenising its composition to such an extent that it is perfectly suitable for conventional recycling processes. Products from the BIO line are designed based on renewable raw materials, which reduce the carbon footprint and ensure optimal use of natural resources. The implementation of this challenge for Supravis is also related to the investment in a technologically advanced mechanical recycling line, which will allow the reuse of waste generated during the production process. Long-term adaptation of such infrastructure will allow waste to be processed on a larger scale and to be used in other industries, such as construction, furniture and clothing, thus contributing towards a circular economy. n For more info, visit: www.supravis.pl

SAKATA INX ESPAÑA, S.A. Belonging to INX EUROPE, part of SAKATA INX Corp., the third largest producer of graphic inks Worldwide. SAKATA’s emphasis is to provide the best technology and know-how for customer’s application, working together as a co-development team, creating new products to bring the right chemistry and resources, together as directed by customers to increase productivity and reduce applied costs Designed in Japan own PU resin systems, with cutting-edge technology, specially to be used in inks, enable tailor-made solutions for every unique and special customer in packaging and converting market. Sakata offers complete line of high-performance ink and coating solutions technology for commercial, packaging, and digital applications fulfilling the global and local requirements for food safety.

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NEWS

New developments in the Consumer Goods

Aker BioMarine Invests In Sustainable Fisheries Technology by Romana Moares

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orwegian fishing and biotech company Aker BioMarine has signed a deal with German food processing technology firm GEA to supply the process systems for its new krill-based protein plant in Norway. Sustainable use of ocean and marine resources is a key part of Aker BioMarine’s strategy. To achieve this, the company has invested heavily in technology that contributes to more sustainable fisheries and fishery management.

With the signing of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for delivery of process equipment with GEA, Aker BioMarine says it is taking the next step towards the commercialisation of INVI, its new protein ingredient for food and beverages, made from hydrolysed krill protein. The pilot plant is expected to be operational in late 2022 and will be located in Ski Næringspark in Norway's southeast. INVI is a premium krill-based protein ingredient for use in food, beverages and nutraceutical products targeted towards the sports nutrition and general wellness markets. Aker BioMarine says that INVI is "sustainably sourced from pure Antarctic waters and with high nutritional profile and unique functional benefits", and the company is aiming for it to become a staple ingredient in a range of products.

As the first purpose-built krill protein development and production facility, the site will enable fastpaced product and process development, as well as volume for commercial launch partners. “With GEA’s experience in engineering facilities and systems for industries like ours, we aim for a highly innovative, technologybased plant, which will also house a research and innovation centre,” said Kees van de Watering, VP Process Engineering. “We aim to closely collaborate with Aker BioMarine in the development of their krill-based protein plant in order to create a state-of-the-art plant that optimizes production, puts innovation first, and makes use of the digital solutions at our disposal today,” said Heinz-Jürgen Kroner, SVP Liquid Technologies at GEA. Visit: www.akerbiomarine.com Visit: www.gea.com

Post-Brexit UKCA Certification Delayed Following Industry Pressure by Ash Jones

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he UK government has decided to increase the deadline of the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) safety and quality mark by another year, allowing more time for British businesses to mark their goods under the new guidelines. The new measure, which came into effect when the UK left the EU on January 1, 2021, will have its application extended until January 1, 2023, to allow for businesses to have more time for their goods to meet the standards, following significant pressure from industry and trade groups. The UKCA is a post-Brexit replacement to the European mark Conformité Européenne (CE) - a declaration that the goods meet all the essential requirements of EU directives, which was first revealed in early 2019. Most goods that were eligible for the CE rating will also be eligible for the UKCA. A number of manufacturing groups had previously expressed concern about the capacity to test their products ahead of the new measures coming into effect. This would particularly affect the British construction and manufacturing sectors, which had warned the government of risks to supply chains if they could no longer use goods from overseas. The coronavirus pandemic has played a part in this change, with the government revealing the crisis has created an atmosphere where this kind of immediate change becomes difficult for many businesses. To be awarded the certification, goods need to be assessed by British bodies, although rumours are circulating of the tests costing in excess of £50,000 (€58,500). There is also the issue of actively testing the products, with a number of trade groups across various sectors, including automotive, express64 Industry Europe

ing fears the UK does not have the infrastructure to perform such a high volume of tests. EU goods may not also qualify for UKCA certification, which, unlike its European counterparts, is designed to test and measure viability across the supply chain. While EU goods often supply very few parts, anything that does slip through the net could cause further disruptions in the supply chains. Fergus McReynolds, of the manufacturing trade group, Make UK, said this was a welcome move from the government which he suggested could be "vital for protecting supply chains". “Companies were becoming increasingly nervous as the clock ticked down to the end of the year, caught up in the delays and bureaucracy in getting their products tested. The extra year will provide both exporters and importers with valuable breathing space to enable a new testing system to bed in place," he revealed in a statement. However, he told the FT that a number of sectors, such as pyrotechnics or construction products do not have the capacity to constantly run the tests required for certification, and expressed concerns at supply from overseas companies being disrupted should they not be prepared for the new mark. However, should CE marks transfer to UKCA marks, this could significantly streamline the process. A number of trade bodies are currently working in tandem with government regulators to allow overseas suppliers to transfer their existing European certifications into UKCA marks. Both CE and UKCA marks are also set to be recognised in Northern Ireland, as part of the UK-EU agreement as it pertains to any post-Brexit trade. UK goods that receive a UKCA rating intended for sale within the EU will also still require a CE certification. For more info, visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-ukca-marking


CONSUMER GOODS NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

ALPLA Acquires Packaging Manufacturer Wolf Plastics by Steven Gislam

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ackaging and recycling specialist The ALPLA Group has announced it is acquiring all shares in packaging manufacturer the Wolf Plastics Group. The company says the acquisition will see it expand and grow in Central and South-Eastern Europe. In a press release, ALPLA said it was purchasing Wolf Plastics, based in Kammern, Austria, to "use the company’s expertise, in particular in the manufacture of plastic buckets and canisters, to expand its product portfolio." Wolf Plastics has three production facilities in Austria, Hungary and Romania, and a strong market presence in Central and South-Eastern Europe. The Austrian and Romanian competition authorities are currently examining the proposed takeover and the deal is still subject to regulatory approval. Wolf Plastics was founded in Kammern in the Austrian state of Styria in 1973. It supplies SMEs and international key accounts in the construction, chemical and food industries with buckets, canisters and bottles. It currently employs around 210 employees across its three sites in Kammern, as well as in Fertőszentmiklós, Hungary and near Bucharest, Romania. The product range consists of around 400 products.

"Wolf Plastics has decades of experience in product areas in which we want to increase our representation in order to expand our portfolio and grow in Central and South-Eastern Europe," said ALPLA CEO Philipp Lehner. The purchase price for the deal was not disclosed. Visit: www.alpla.com/en Visit: www.wolfplastics.eu/en

Marlboro Cigarettes To Disappear From UK Shelves "Within 10 Years" by Ash Jones Credit: Oleg Golovnev / Shutterstock

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S tobacco group Philip Morris has revealed plans to stop selling its Marlboro brand of cigarettes in the UK within the next decade, according to the group's CEO. This comes as part of a diversification strategy as the company plans to deliver on what it calls a "smoke-free future" stating the "problem of smoking" could be eradicated within 10 years in the UK. The company also recently offered £1.05 billion (€1.22 billion) to Vectura to gain access to its respiratory system as part of a greater, company-wide initiative to phase out cigarettes.

This move is the latest push by tobacco giants to change their image following years of negative press and lawsuits in the marketing and selling of cigarettes. The rise of vaping and decline in smoking rates over the last decade has been spurred by several factors, including increased links to cancer, and an emphasis on improving personal health. Philip Morris' CEO Jacek Olczak told the Mail on Sunday came as part of his company's plans to phase out traditional smoking. Those who wish to continue will be guided towards less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes or heated smoking devices. Under Olczak, who became CEO earlier this year, the company has continued to invest heavily in tobacco alternatives. However, the company still brings in £800 million per year from Marlboro cigarettes alone, according to one FT report. Around a quarter of the company's current global revenue is through alternative smoking methods, and it operates a far higher market share than its main competitors.

The company has continued to express interest in trying to phase out cigarettes in favour of less dangerous alternatives. It is worth noting, however, that some of the issues associated with smoking still exist through these means, even if the rates of health concerns are reduced. Olczak revealed that "the first choice to the consumer was for them to quit smoking." "But if they don't, the second-best choice is to let them switch to the better alternatives," he added. The company has set a target to generate more than 50% of its revenue from smokefree products and at least $1 billion from products beyond nicotine by 2025 as part of its "evolution into a broader healthcare and wellness company". There is also currently no news on the company's plans in other major economies. However, it would not be unreasonable to assume it is making strikes in pushing alternative smoking methods in other countries. Critics, however, have voiced concern as to whether or not some of the larger tobacco companies will be able to fully phase out cigarettes. The UK government has also laid out plans to go smoke-free by 2030, which includes a scheme to reduce cigarette smoking among various age demographics, which may have spurred this decision from Philip Morris. Visit: www.pmi.com Industry Europe 65


TOWARDS GREEN HORIZONS Rainpower, a Norwegian hydropower specialist, is entering a new stage of its development. With its proud history and now under new ownership, the company is in a stronger position than ever to deliver solutions for the renewable society of the future. Romana Moares reports.

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ounded in 1853, Rainpower is an experienced project organisation based on Norwegian hydropower. Today, Rainpower offers proprietary technologies for integrated products and services to the hydropower industry worldwide. Headquartered in Lillestrøm, Norway, the company has offices across Norway, as well as in Sweden and China. Rainpower’s product and service portfolio ranges from turbines, governor systems, control systems and other equipment, maintenance services and rehabilitation, as well as technology for hydropower system design and upgrades. The company can deliver everything from runner replacements to complete water-to-wire electro-mechanical systems and is at

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the forefront in excitation and turbine governing systems as well as automation for small hydro projects. Through Hymatek Controls (a company in the Rainpower group), Rainpower is currently one of Scandinavia’s largest and most influential professional environments for turbine and voltage regulation.

Technical competence Rainpower’s turbine laboratory in Trondheim has a played key role in testing and developing new turbines since 1985. The laboratory organises an annual upgrading conference featuring presentations covering everything from academic subjects to practical project implementation.


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The company has a strong research and development team focused on studying technology lifetime prediction including damage and fatigue problems and collecting stress behaviour data for different operation modes by prototype measurements. In addition, Rainpower is taking part in the HydroFlex project that aims to develop new technology permitting highly flexible operation of hydropower stations. The project is a research and innovation action with a budget of €5.7 million funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme “H2020-EU.3.3.2 – Low-cost, low-carbon energy supply”. Flexibility of operation here means large ramping rates, frequent start-stops, and the possibility of providing a large range of system services. The company’s technical competence is embodied in a long list of successful projects. Since 2008, Rainpower has supplied more than 9000 MW of turbine technology, with power output for single units ranging from 0.4 MW - 255 MW. The most recent projects include a joint initiative of Rainpower and Hymatek for a complete electromechanical delivery to Statkraft as one of two contractors for the Vesle Kjela power plant. Vesle Kjela is a new mountain facility that utilises the fall height in an existing transmission tunnel. Delivery includes turbine equipment, waterway equipment, generators, transformers, control systems and complete electrical installation. Rainpower and Hymatek have been responsible for the design, purchasing, production, installation and commissioning of the entire power station.

New owner 2021 is set to be a significant year for Rainpower. The company reached an important milestone with the entrance of a new owner, 68 Industry Europe


ENERGY & UTILITIES

Norwegian investment company Aker Horizons. In the spring, Aker Horizons acquired 100% of the shares in Rainpower and will contribute approximately NOK 100 million (€9.7 million) in capital to transitioning and developing the company into a next generation hydropower technology and solutions provider. Rainpower will be included in Aker Horizons’ sunrise portfolio of companies that are in an early phase or require further development to realise their full potential. It will seek to identify and develop concepts for upgrading the hydropower installed base to reflect the needs of future power markets, including an increasing need for flexibility to rapidly respond to swings in intermittent renewable power generation and for cost-effective and sustainable power storage solutions. With the new owner, the company also got a new CEO - Hege Brende - who will take office in August. An expert in renewable energies, she has previously led development and research programmes in the EU, Statkraft and NINA in hydropower and renewable energy. “Hydropower has a crucial role in the transition to a fully renewable energy system,” said Brende. “The ongoing digitisation is also a strong driver for the power industry, and integration and development of digital solutions will be very important for gaining access to the value creation potential in the sector and in further markets.”

“Rainpower has a proud history and with Aker Horizons as its owner, the company is in a stronger position than ever to deliver solutions for the renewable society of the future. I know Rainpower, it consists of highly competent and dedicated employees, and I really look forward to meeting everyone and building the company n further with them,” she concluded.

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NEWS

New developments in Energy & Utilities

Benchmark Green-Hydrogen Project Planned In Switzerland

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hree energy companies, Alpiq, EW Höfe and SOCAR Energy Switzerland are planning to build an electrolysis plant in Switzerland that they claim will set a new benchmark in terms of energy efficiency. The commissioning of the plant is scheduled to start at the end of 2022 and, when completed, it will produce an annual output of around 1,000 to 1,200 tonnes of green hydrogen to enable zero-emission mobility. In addition, the exhaust heat will be fed into the regional district heating network that is currently being established. The plant will thus set new standards in terms of overall efficiency and make an important contribution to Switzerland’s climate-friendly energy supply. The green hydrogen will be produced exclusively using electricity from renewable sources direct from the grid in Freienbach. It will be used primarily for mobility – specifically for heavy

goods vehicles and applications where batteryelectric systems are not a satisfactory solution. The green hydrogen produced in Freienbach could, among other applications, be used to power a maximum of approximately 200 fuelcell electric commercial vehicles. Compared to the use of diesel trucks, this would prevent the emission of some 14,000 tons of CO2 a year. The planned hydrogen production plant will also play a pioneering role in other respects. The green hydrogen will be transported with zero emissions via a pipeline from the production facility at the former substation to the nearby Fuchsberg motorway service area, where SOCAR will install hydrogen fueling stations on both sides of the motorway. Simultaneously, a filling station at the service area will allow the hydrogen that is not sold directly at the Fuchsberg service area to be supplied to other hydrogen fuelling stations in Switzerland.

These are currently being built as part of a unique, cross-sector hydrogen mobility system operated by Hydrospider, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility and the members of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association. The project sets new benchmarks in terms of energy efficiency: In a second phase, the project partners plan to feed the exhaust heat generated during hydrogen production into the regional district heating network that is currently being established by Energie Ausserschwyz, providing heat to up to 1300 households. Visit: www.alpiq.com

Vattenfall Combines Strip Farming & Solar Power In Dutch Pilot Project by Steven Gislam

Photo: iamme ubeyou / Flickr

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wedish energy company Vattenfall has been awarded a permit in the Netherlands for a pilot project that combines strip farming and solar panels. The Symbizon project aims to demonstrate to a country that has long held reservations about placing solar panels on arable land that a "smart combination" of strip cultivation and solar panels maintains the land for food production, improves ecology and offers a "positive business case" for both Vattenfall and the farmer. The project is being carried out with Top Sector Energy funding from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. "In the solar farm, we alternate rows of panels with strips where various crops are grown for organic farming. This means that far fewer solar 70 Industry Europe

panels are being installed per hectare than is usual," said Annemarie Schouten, Head of Solar Development at Vattenfall Netherlands. "To ensure sufficient light yield, we use double-sided solar panels. They catch the reflected light from the soil, the crops and the adjacent rows and use it to produce solar energy. The panels also rotate with the sun to maximise yield." The park is expected to have a capacity of 0.7 MWp. During the four-year pilot, which will be located across the IJmeer lake from Amsterdam in the town of Almere, a solar tracking algorithm will be developed by Dutch innovation organisation TNO that tracks energy and crop yields and the effects of herb strips, weather forecast, energy price and soil conditions and the algorithm will be optimised where possible in cooperation with Vattenfall and Aeres University of Applied Sciences. Also, the effect of the solar tracking system on crop yield, diseases, and ease of use for the farmer will be monitored by Aeres Hogeschool, ERF, the largest private organic farm in the Netherlands, and Hemus, a foundation that promotes the switch to nature-inclusive agriculture, all of which have extensive experience in strip farming. "The granting of the permit is an important milestone for the project," said Schouten. "Now that it is clear that the park may go ahead, it is up to Vattenfall to decide whether the solar park will actually be built. That decision is expected by the end of the year and, if positive, construction will begin in early 2022." The concept of deploying solar panels on farmland has been around for some time and has been called agrivoltaics and agrophotovoltaics. Visit: group.vattenfall.com


ENERGY & UTILITIES NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

Stena To Build Advanced Battery-Recycling Facility by Ash Jones & Romana Moares

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tena Recycling is investing 250 million SEK (€ 24.5 million) into a new battery recycling process that will make it possible to recycle 95% of a lithium-ion battery, the most common battery used in electric vehicles. This autumn, the first ground will be broken on what will become Sweden’s, and one of Europe’s, most advanced battery recycling facilities. The new plant will be located adjacent to the Stena Nordic Recycling Center in Halmstad. “We see strong growth in the sale of electric vehicles where we need to meet our customers’ needs to dispose of spent batteries in a safe and environmentally sound way. This major investment is part of our strategy to be a leader in the collection and mechanical processing of lithium-ion batteries to establish a circular cycle for batteries,” says Fredrik Pettersson, Managing Director of Stena Recycling Sweden. According to EV-volumes.com, sales of electric vehicles increased by 43% globally in 2020. Furthermore, the number of lithium-ion batteries used in vehicles is expected to increase almost tenfold over the next decade, according to a report by Circular Energy Storage Research & Consulting. “We are now responding to market demand. We are proud to offer a circular solution for lithium-ion batteries. It will be a big win for the environment and for the life cycle of the batteries when we recover critical metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt, which are in short supply, worldwide,” says Fredrik Pettersson.

The batteries will initially be collected via Stena Recycling’s 90 facilities in Sweden, and eventually via other countries where Stena Recycling operates. Initial sorting takes place at these facilities, but most of the recycling is then done at the new facility in Halmstad. A collaboration with the multinational company Johnson Matthey also adds another process step to produce fully refined materials that can be used in the production of new lithium-ion batteries. Closing the loop and creating new raw materials for batteries from recycling is crucial to achieving a circular raw materials chain. “There are plenty of major players looking to enter this market, but few have Stena Recycling’s capabilities based on our existing infrastructure, customer base, expertise and experience. Thanks to this investment, we are taking a step towards becoming one of Europe’s leading players in battery recycling,” says Fredrik Pettersson. Stena Recycling is a part of Swedish-based Stena Metall Group with six business areas and operations at around 200 locations in nine countries. The company aims to find the most resource-efficient way to get the most value from industrial waste and increase the proportion that can be used as new raw material. The Stena Nordic Recycling Center, in Halmstad, is one of Europe’s most modern recycling facilities and forms the hub of the Group’s industrial recycling infrastructure. Visit: www.stenarecycling.com

Green Hydrogen And Methanol Project Announced In Iceland by Romana Moares

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celandic utility company HS Orka and Hydrogen Ventures have announced plans to develop a production plant for green methanol using green hydrogen. The green hydrogen will be used to power the marine sector, as well as domestic and commercial vehicles such as cars, vans and lorries. The project will focus on using geothermal energy to produce green hydrogen, which will then be used in the production of synthetic fuels. All the hydrogen created and used will be certified ‘green hydrogen’ meaning that 100% of the energy used to generate it comes from renewable sources. This project will comprise two phases, with an initial 30MW input, followed by the second phase of a much larger scale for the production of green hydrogen. The total cost of Phase One is anticipated to be €100 million. HS Orka has been a leader in the production of renewable energy for 40 years. The company employs a powerful group of experts with extensive experience in their field and operates two

geothermal power plants, Orkuverið Svartsengi and Reykjanesvirkjun. Hydrogen Ventures is a UK based joint venture with a focus on green hydrogen production using renewable sources of energy and cuttingedge technologies. Hydrogen Ventures Chief Executive Officer Horacio Carvalho said: “Iceland has set itself ambitious targets for reducing its carbon emissions and we believe harnessing the power of hydrogen is crucial in achieving them. With its

history of utilising renewable energy, Iceland is leading the way, showing the world how zerocarbon can be achieved and we are excited to be a part of this new revolution.” HS Orka´s CEO Tómas Már Sigurðsson added: “We are very excited about this collaboration with Hydrogen Ventures which has gathered a great deal of knowledge and experience in managing projects of this magnitude. They realise the unique proposition of Iceland and what HS Orka’s Resource Park has to offer, but in addition to electricity, HS Orka will be able to supply them with fresh water and natural carbon dioxide, which is essential for the methanol production.” More than 80% of Iceland’s energy consumption is already based on renewables – primarily geothermal and hydropower – but the development of green hydrogen projects will mean the country can truly claim to be world leaders in the fields of renewable and clean energy. Vist: www.hsorka.is/en hydrogenventures.co.uk Industry Europe 71


NEWS

New developments in Healthcare

15,000 Year-Old Viruses Discovered In Tibetan Glacier by Ash Jones

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esearchers at Ohio State University have discovered ancient viruses encased in 15,000-year-old ice in Tibet, many of which have never been encountered before. The findings, which were published in the magazine Microbiome on Wednesday, could help microbiologists better understand how diseases evolve over time. The research required a new method of analysing the microbes, with the team in charge of the study developing an ultra-clean method to study the microbes encased in the rise without contaminating them. “These glaciers were formed gradually, and along with dust and gases, many, many viruses were also deposited in that ice,” said Zhi-Ping Zhong, the author's lead study and a researcher for Ohio State University. “The glaciers in western China are not well-studied, and our goal is to use this information to reflect past environments. And viruses are a part of those environments.” The researchers analysed ice cores recovered in 2015 from the Guliya ice cap in Tibet. The ice originates from high altitudes - roughly 22,000 feet above sea level.

These ice cores traditionally contain ice that is layered year by year and traps anything present in the local environment within them when it does, similar to rock formations layering and trapping minerals over time. These can provide a sort of time capsule as to what conditions were like at the time. Dating the core using both traditional and newer methods, scientists found they were at least 15,000 years old. The genetic code for 33 viruses was recovered from the ice, four of which have already been identified. Ohio State University has revealed 28 of the viruses remain unidentified. The researchers have also speculated the ice has gone some way to help preserve the diseases as at least half appear to have survived this long not in spite of the ice, but directly as a result of being frozen. Matthew Sullivan, co-author of the study and a professor of microbiology at Ohio State said: “These are viruses that would have thrived in extreme environments. These viruses have signatures of genes that help them infect cells in cold environments – just surreal genetic signatures for how a virus is able to survive in extreme conditions."

Vectura Bidding War Averted As Carlyle Refuses To Raise Offer by Ash Jones Credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

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rivate equity firm Carlyle has refused to increase its offer for UK respiratory firm Vectura shortly before the five-day bidding war with rival Philip Morris International (PMI) was due to commence. The company maintains its bid of £958 million (€1.13 billion) was "full and fair" and has urged shareholders to support its offer in a bid to prevent PMI from sealing the winning bid, despite offering over £1 billion for the UK drugmaker. The creator of Marlboro cigarettes hopes to use Vectura's expertise in respiratory drugs in a bid to reinvent itself in a world that is cautious over health concerns associated with smoking - something which has caused 72 Industry Europe

Attempting to name a new virus or figure out what it is can be a daunting step. Viruses generally do not share a common gene. Some researchers compare new viruses with known viruses, while others compare gene sets. Analysis of the microbes has revealed many of these viruses likely originated from soil or plants, not from animals or humans. The study of glaciers, especially when it comes to microbial research, is relatively new. Only two prior examples of researchers discovering diseases encased in ice have been noted. However, it is likely to be an important factor going forward as it allows researchers to directly study how diseases change over time, depending on environmental factors. Lonnie Thompson, the senior author of the study, said this research could help scientists understand how diseases respond to climate change. "We know very little about viruses and microbes in these extreme environments, and what is actually there,” Thompson added. “The documentation and understanding of that is extremely important: How do bacteria and viruses respond to climate change? What happens when we go from an ice age to a warm period like we’re in now?” Visit: www.osu.edu

outrage anti-smoking and respiratory illness campaigners and various medical bodies. PMI claims it wishes to usher in a smoke-free future, by shifting its offering to cigarette alternatives or bids to stop people smoking, and have even called for cigarettes to be banned. However, it continues to make 75% of its profits from cigarettes, and many campaigners have noted the company are just as responsible for the myriad health effects associated with smoking as any other tobacco giant. The group has already revealed it will be pulling Marlboro cigarettes from UK shelves within a decade, with no news yet on the state of the brand in the rest of the world. Vectura's shareholders have backed both parties at various points - initially supporting PMI's bid when its original bid came through in July, before expressing support for Carlye's bid on Friday, before retracting it on Monday. The company will continue to specialise in inhaled medicines to treat respiratory illnesses going into the future. Carlyle warned Vectura could be banned from scientific forums should it accept PMI's bid, after medical firms and scientists agreed to freeze out Vectura should it be bought out by the tobacco giant. Carlyle has also expressed hope Vectura will take their bid, for ethical and social reasons. It remains to be seen if Vectura will accept the lower bid. While unlikely, it would not be the first time this has happened. Visit: www.carlyle.com


HEALTHCARE NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

US FTC Urges Judge To Block Illumina's Grail Takeover by Ash Jones

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he US's Federal Trade Commission has urged a judge to prevent US biotech company Illumina from merging with cancer screening company Grail over fears it could harm competition and have an adverse effect on prices. The two companies finalised the deal last week, coming in at roughly $8 billion (€6.85 billion), despite ongoing antitrust investigations by the EU, allegedly because the two came to an agreement without EU approval. The FTC trial could run until early October, with FTC senior council member Susan Musser suggesting the merger could enable the company to stifle market competitors. She said Grail and its competitors are dependent on Illumina's technology in order to conduct their affairs, fearing the takeover could incentivise Grail to put its rivals out of business, adding that "the war on cancer, if it is to be won, will be won by competition, not by this acquisition." "Grail is in an 'innovation race' to develop and market its early-detection test, and Illumina would have the power to anoint Grail the winner if the deal is not cancelled," she concluded.

The FTC first lodged a complaint against the deal in March over fears the merger would harm the test-detection market and drive up prices. The circumstances surrounding the deal are rare for a number of reasons. Firstly, the deal was approved despite ongoing legal proceedings by the EU, with the FTC also considering action against the two companies. Secondly, antitrust charges are seldom levied against "vertical mergers" - a merger between two companies that are not direct competitors. In a statement announcing the merger, Illumina revealed the deal went through because an outcome of the EU's investigation was "projected [to end] after the deal expires" on December 20. It claims there was no legal barrier blocking the deal. It also believes the European Commission has no jurisdiction over Grail due to the fact it does not operate within the European Union. Illumina originally owned Grail from its inception in 1998 but spun it off in 2016 to allow it to forge its own path. Illumina retained a 12% stake in the company after letting it go. "The FTC's theory asks the court to forego the life-saving benefits of this transaction to avoid the potential harm that could not possibly occur for years - that could only occur, we submit, if other tests actually in fact ultimately are developed," Illumina's lawyer David Marriott said in his opening statement, suggesting the merger would actually accelerate the development of cancer screening services. He accused the FTC of "gambling" with human lives. Illumina first expressed interest in reacquiring Grail a year ago, four years after spinning the company off. Grail's primary claim to fame is a blood test that can reportedly detect 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. The company is also backed by billionaire donors like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Visit: grail.com

Biden Wants States To Pay People To Get Vaccinated by Ash Jones

Credit: Naresh777 / Shutterstock

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S President Joe Biden has called on states to pay people $100 (€84) to get vaccinated in an attempt to stem the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus as cases continue to rise. Biden announced this new plan on Thursday alongside a scheme to require federal workers to provide proof of vaccination or be required to undergo regular testing in a bid to boost stagnating vaccination rates. The US has suffered some issues in vaccinating the public owing to scepticism and a rise in

anti-vaccine hysteria, which has led to coronavirus cases surging. The EU recently surpassed the US in the number of people vaccinated against Covid-19. The US continues to lag behind other developed nations in vaccine rollout. The nation currently employs over 2 million federal employees in a number of roles, as well as a further 570,000 postal workers - more than anywhere else in the world. Postal workers will not be affected by this change. Biden previously expressed opposition to measures such as vaccine passports. These new decisions show the president taking a tougher stance on attempting to curb the spread of the disease. He told the White House: "You want to know how we put this virus behind this? I will tell you how: We need to get more people vaccinated. "Right now too many people are dying or watching someone they love dying. I know that paying people who get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks who got vaccinated already. But

here's the deal: If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated." A little over half - roughly 164 million people - have fully been vaccinated, according to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC). 70% of adults have received their first jabs, but vaccination rates remain fragmented depending on the state. The Southern and Western US, in which fewer people have received vaccines, are now seeing outbreaks of Covid. Covid-related deaths in the US have also surged beyond 2,000 per week. The money to fund the incentive will come from the $1.9 trillion (€1.59 trillion) American Rescue Plan. At the White House conference, Biden also addressed conspiracy theories that claim the vaccines are unsafe. He warned the public "nothing was political" about the jabs, referencing the fact they were approved under Trump - a Republican - and rollout was increased under his own administration. Industry Europe 73


COMMITMENT TO INNOVATION

With operations in 36 countries, Oerlikon Balzers is a major supplier of surface technologies and tools for the metal and plastics processing industries. In 2021, the company has introduced a range of new products and further expanded its global presence to better meet its customers’ needs.

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or 75 years, Oerlikon Balzers has stood for pioneering developments and global technology leadership in thin-film coatings. Established in 1946 as ‘Gerätebauanstalt Balzers’ by Professor Max Auwärter, the first objective was to make the then largely unknown vacuum thin-film technology usable on an industrial scale. Since no thin-film coating systems or production were available at that time, the company developed and produced them in-house. A lot has changed since the company’s early days. Today the former “Gerätebauanstalt Balzers” is called Oerlikon Balzers, employs around 4,600 people, and is a part of the Surface Solutions division of the Oerlikon Group. The company’s headquarters are still located in the small town of Balzers in the Principality of Liechtenstein.

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Pioneering surface improvements The passion for innovation of the company’s founder is still reflected in the business today: more than 100 employees, most of them in Liechtenstein, are engaged solely in research and development activities, and over the years have helped the company to launch ground-breaking innovations. These include the BALINIT brand of coatings introduced in 1978, which remains a mainstay of Oerlikon Balzers to this day. Markedly improved tool and component performance is achieved with Balzers’ thin-film coatings. BALINIT coatings are just a few thousandths of a millimetre thick, but harder than steel. The composition and properties of BALINIT coatings can also be tailored specifically to the customer’s needs.


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A further technological breakthrough was introduced in 2011 with the patented S3p technology, a high-tech process that revolutionized the coating market under the brand name BALIQ™. Even plastics can be coated using innovations developed by Oerlikon Balzers. Balzers’ solutions are always about combining reduced wear with increased efficiency – whether for Formula 1 engines, aircraft turbines, piston rings for the automotive industry, precision instruments, or for tools used by the plastics or metalworking industries. The full strength of Oerlikon Balzers’ high-end surface treatments is especially apparent when process acceleration is required, difficult materials must be cut, or when high-grade optics are important. Revolutionary properties Product launches continued during pandemic-ridden 2020. Just before the start of the lockdowns, Oerlikon Balzers introduced its new BALORA portfolio of coatings which offer revolutionary properties for applications in high-temperature environments, such as in the aerospace and power generation markets. The first coating from the new portfolio, BALORA PVD MCrAlY, represents the next generation of high-density MCrAlY coatings, which use Oerlikon Balzers’ proven PVD Arc surface and equipment technologies to form an outstanding barrier against oxidation and hot corrosion inside the hot section of turbines.

In May 2021, Oerlikon Balzers introduces its new BALDIA portfolio of diamond coatings. Diamond provides special properties: it is extremely wear-resistant due to its unsurpassed hardness, offers thermal conductivity and is chemically inert, making it the best choice for machining highly abrasive base materials. The diamond coatings from the BALDIA portfolio improve cutting performance and allow parts to be manufactured with tightest tolerances for the best possible finishing accuracy.

Close to customers The company’s global expansion has not been substantially affected by the difficulties of the pandemic-ridden year. Quite the contrary - in the first half of 2021 investments have been made to reinforce Oerlikon Balzers’ position in several markets. In March, the company expanded service offerings in the US with its largest customer centre in the western USA. Steve Crowley, President of Oerlikon Balzers North America, said: “At Oerlikon Balzers, we’re expecting a post-Covid upturn in the US economy. A new era of service and productivity has just begun on the West Coast! The Los Angeles coating centre is another important milestone for Oerlikon Balzers, being the largest in the western USA. Opening this new centre allows us to take our strong relationships to the next level by being as close as we can to our customers and providing the best possible service with top-quality coatings.”

GfE Metalle und Materialien GmbH GfE is a world leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality PVD coating materials including planar and rotatable arc cathodes, sputtering targets and evaporation materials. With more than 100 years experience in materials science, technology, engineering and manufacturing, our core competencies include melting, powder processing and thermal spraying. These capabilities enable us to supply elemental metals, metal alloys, oxides and cermets for wear resistant, solar/photovoltaics, large area, optic and display application. Beside various products, GfE is a market leader for e.g. vacuum arc melted TiAl arc cathodes for wear resistant coatings. New products are continuously developed according to customer requirements.

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METALS & MINING

On the other side of the globe, Oerlikon Balzers further expanded coating operations with its first customer centre in Vietnam in April. The new coating centre is an important milestone in the company’s expansion strategy in Asia and will create new opportunities for Oerlikon Balzers to offer its high-quality and well-established coating services in Vietnam’s emerging economy. And, last but not least, in May 2021 the company opened a new regrinding centre in Russia to expand its range of services for cutting

tools. With the new regrinding centre in Moscow, Oerlikon Balzers has responded to the demand from global and local customers for reconditioning services for high-end cutting tools, including re-coating and express delivery on demand. The expansion reinforces Oerlikon Balzer’s long-term objective: to help customers to reach their goals while achieving more with less: using less fuel, facilitating future mobility, extending the lifetime of n tools and saving energy in processing polymers and beyond.

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DRIVING INNOVATIVE CHANGE Poclain Hydraulics has launched several strategic programmes to enhance its range of products and systems and is keeping business strong despite post-pandemic challenges. Romana Moares reports.

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oclain Hydraulics – a division of the Poclain group - specialises in the design, manufacture and marketing of hydrostatic transmissions and their related engineering services, to vehicle performance, energy savings and safety. The company has become the world leader in hydrostatic transmissions based on cam-lobe radial-piston motors. Over the years, Poclain Hydraulics has diversified beyond its off-road vehicle market expertise into new sectors and applications and its innovative solutions are used in agriculture, building and construction, materials handling, the industrial and highways-related sectors, the environment and many others.

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Technology for zero emissions As countries worldwide are legislating for net-zero emissions goals, a rapidly growing demand has emerged for zero-emission machines and vehicles. Poclain Hydraulics made the decision to take an active role in the green transition. Since 2018, the company has been developing a brand-new power transmitter based on electro-hydrostatic technology for compact agricultural, material handling, and construction machines. Validated and fully functional for over a year now, the transmitter is undergoing tests at Poclain’s in-house test facility and functions


METALS & MINING

as a zero-emission demonstration machine. It is intended for small or compact two-, three- and four-wheel drive machines operating at a low voltage (48V to 96V), with an operational weight below 2.5 tonnes and a global power below 25 kW. These are typically wheel loaders, truck-mounted forklifts, site dumpers, tandem rollers and other machines with similar characteristics. Poclain’s system has been designed and sized to enable zeroemission machines to reach the same level of ruggedness and performance as the equivalent diesel machines, to enable OEMs to maintain the key advantages of reliable, robust and compact wheel motors. The company has been globally recognised for staying at the forefront of product development. Recently introduced solutions include the hydraulic dual-line breaking system to meet the EU 2015/68 Regulation, and the Diamond option special surface treatment to boost durability and motor life.

Transformative year Although as affected by the pandemic as most, the company has managed to leverage its resilience and innovation focus to transform the challenges into opportunities for progress. “In many ways, 2020 was a year of transformation as it marked the beginning of our new global strategy, Shift-Up Engage 2025 that will enable Poclain to become more industrial, technological, and entrepreneurial,” said CEO Frederic Michelland, in his year-in-review message. “Our new roadmap will enable us to deploy new high-performing, stand-out products and services, while improving the range and quality of our solutions. The company is also driving the development of major forward-looking projects to meet current and future needs such as electro-hydraulic systems, innovative solutions for autonomous and connected applications, and Big Data and IoT based services.”

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METALS & MINING

He mentioned the three trends that will significantly affect the business environment - a shift in the usage of off-road machinery towards greater autonomy; an increasing pressure on the environmental footprint; and partial or even complete electrification, with the example of hybrid electrohydraulic systems. Digitisation will play a decisive role in the upcoming scenarios, and this role has already become evident during the pandemic. Examples include Poclain’s deployment of remote assistance thanks to augmented reality, fast-track exploration of new technologies with its FAB’LAB 58 and virtual classroom training modules.

The post-pandemic markets During the course of 2020, the first wave of the pandemic hit Poclain’s nine manufacturing facilities at different times. China came first, then Italy and France; then India followed in July-August. The second wave in the autumn impacted the US and eastern Europe, where strict lockdown measures were enforced. In terms of sales, uncertainty prevailed until August 2020 but then orders started to pick up. They have been on the rise ever since and sales are expected to surge at a record rate in 2021. That surge is not without its challenges, though. It may be difficult to increase throughput as some production lines are already working 24/7, and suppliers, particularly in India and the Czech Republic, have extended their lead times to 2022. Given the latest developments, 2021 seems to represent a unique situation, where developed countries are increasing their spending, while shortages in the workforce and supplies slow supply chains down. At the beginning of the second quarter, this makes it a challenge for Poclain Hydraulics teams to satisfy their soaring order book while strained suppliers and shop floors work with the limited resources at hand.

“We’re doing more than extinguishing fires,” says Pascal Bartek, Supply Chain and IT Director. “We have certified new suppliers and invested in new machines in our facilities. Backstage, our global ERP enables us to adjust production levels between locations and with our suppliers continuously. Other digital tools are enabling us to install or troubleshoot machines between locations within a few hours, something that could take a week in the past.” He reflects that 2021 will be remembered as a year of opposing forces – a robust twelve-month order backlog versus a seized-up global supply chain. Against these market developments, Poclain Hydraulics, backed by cutting-edge digital tools and its wideranging experience, is committed to serving its customers to the n best possible extent.

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STRONG AS STEEL Sweden’s Texor is well positioned to withstand the competitive pressures arising from globalisation and increased customer focus in the fabricated metal product industry. A specialist in advanced manufacturing solutions in stainless steel for the life sciences industry, the company stands above the rest as a result of its quality, resilience and reliability.

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exor, based in Lycksele in northern Sweden is a component and system supplier for the life sciences and food industry. Established over five decades ago, the company is a specialist in manufacturing stainless steel components, using its core capabilities of machining, grinding, welding, cleaning and electro polishing. Texor’s history goes back to 1967 when the business was founded by Alfa Laval. In the initial years, the factory produced mainly road signs, shifting focus in the early 1970s to production of stainless steel components that were primarily supplied to other units in the Alfa Laval Group. More recently, the company was sold to Lifco Group, an industrial and trade conglomerate consisting of 164 companies in 30 different countries with a total of 5,400 employees and an annual turnover of 14 BSEK. Operating under a new owner boosted both Texor’s sales and its global reach. In the beginning of 2007, Texor bought Zetterströms Rostfria AB in Molkom - a further step towards focusing on supplying complete systems for the global life sciences industry. Today, the company has a world-wide supplier base in elastomers, plastics and stainless steel components and all its suppliers meet the highest quality requirements for the biopharma industry.

The highest standard Texor is based in a purpose-built and flow-optimised production facility in Lycksele with an area of more than 4,000 sq m. Its core competence is in the production adaptation of complicated products and systems in order to achieve optimised and cost-effective production with optimal process flow. The company operates in an industry of the future - its major clients are biotech, biopharma and traditional pharmaceutical companies. The company’s customers have one thing in common - requirements for the highest product quality and for delivery reliability, including traceability. “In the production of all pharmaceuticals, regardless of whether they are produced in the traditional manner based on chemically produced molecules or by means of biotechnology, often with proteins as a base, the industry demands the highest standard and quality of production equipment,” says Josef Alenius, Managing Director and Member of the Board of Directors. “The very high level of quality that we have to achieve is our most important competitive advantage. The company has full control and traceability of all raw materials, purchased goods and components. We conduct regular quality tests, measurements, testing and samIndustry Europe 83


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pling of our production process in order to identify possible failings and faults at an early stage.” Texor assumes overall responsibility for all the documentation required by the customer and the authorities, accompanying each solution, such as certificates, test reports, traceability protocols and manuals, delivered according to customer requirements either electronically, on CD or on paper in binders.

Sustaining forward momentum Despite a difficult 2020, Texor remains focused on meeting its customers’ needs. Navigating the pandemic has been an allencompassing, once-in-a-lifetime challenge. Globally, life sciences companies responded with leadership and are emerging stronger. The life sciences sector has played a pivotal role during the Covid19 pandemic. To cope with the global crisis, traditional competitors partnered to accelerate research, supported by governments, health systems, payers, retail pharmacies, and non-profit organisations are now working collaboratively with the sector to provide widespread distribution and administration. With the introduction of this ‘new-normal’, digitisation is broadening the horizon of new possibilities in the life sciences sector. Redefined workplace environments; the shift in health care delivery; and innovative collaborations to create efficiencies are a few examples that are leading to this unprecedented change supported by technological advancements. Accentuated by Covid-19, cross-border reliance intensifies the need for supply chain visibility and reshoring options, while globalisation and customer concentration have intensified competition in the fabricated metal products industry. OEM customers increasingly seek efficiencies by buying more from fewer suppliers.

Texor is well placed to handle the new challenges and opportunities, as organisations evaluate their supply chain, plan holistically and include their strategic, operational and financial leaders to optimise resiliency. “Medicines cannot be produce on low-quality machines. We believe that the competence and experience we have built up over the years are unique in the world and will carry us into the future, where quality will be even more appreciated than now. We shall apply our accumulated expertise to meet the new needs of our n customers, regardless of their location.”

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NEWS

New developments in Metals & Mining

US-EU Steel Deal May Not Remove All Barriers, Says Dombrovskis by Steven Gislam

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ny resolution to the EU-US Trump-era row over steel tariffs may not remove all barriers placed on the sector, according to the bloc's trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. While he said that the "ideal solution" would be the mutual suspension of tariffs, like that agreed on earlier this year in the Boeing-Airbus dispute, he was open to "other possible solutions". "We understand the willingness of the US to protect its steel industry, but certainly there are ways to do it in a way which is less disruptive for EU producers," Dombrovskis told the FT. In May, the EU shelved its plan to hike tariffs on a wide range of US products in what was widely seen as an olive branch to the new administration in Washington. The dispute began in 2018 when then-President Donald Trump slapped high tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Europe and other countries. The measures imposed by the Trump administration were based on national security grounds taken from section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962. This justification from what had long been a firm ally raised a lot of eyebrows across Europe. In retaliation, the EU slapped its own tariffs on US goods, but following Joe Biden's inauguration as president in January, there have been

renewed efforts to repair the strained transatlantic trade relationship. Last month, a breakthrough was reached when Brussels and Washington resolved the 17-year long dispute over aircraft subsidies. Dropping the section 232 steel tariffs may pose a political headache for the Biden administration. The tariffs are popular within the politically heavyweight US steel industry as well as in traditional mill states such as Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania - all likely to be heavily fought over in the next elections. Dombrovskis is scheduled to visit Washington in the autumn to hold talks with his counterpart Katherine Tai on a wide range of trade issues. The EU trade chief described the talks with the US on the steel tariffs as being on a "constructive track". While he said that the "complete withdrawal" of the section 232 measures would be the ideal solution with no new measures imposed, he added that the EU was open to looking at "other solutions, understanding the fact that the US also is interested in protecting its steel industry". He also said that any other solution would need to be less disruptive to EU steelmakers and respect historical trade volumes. "It’s true that steel sectors are highly protected in the US and EU," he said, covering the use of anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures. While he stopped short of revealing any details about such alternative solutions, analysts

have said there may be a possible licensing or monitoring arrangement that allowed European exporters access to the US market. While the US may propose a form of export quota, the EU has already ruled that option out. Another option could be to convert the section 232 tariffs into "safeguards" designed to protect the market against a sudden glut of imports. Both of these options, however, would be difficult to square with World Trade Organization rules. Brussels and Washington have given themselves until early December to reach a settlement agreement, which is also intended to address the oversupply of steel from production in China and other countries. The discussions over steel tariffs are part of a wider effort on both sides of the Atlantic to strengthen ties following the acrimony of the Trump years. Last month, one of the outcomes of the EU-US summit in Brussels was the creation of a new Trade and Technology Council, the aim of which is to promote cooperation in vital emerging technologies. Dombrovskis said that the two sides were looking to establish ten working groups across a wide range of areas, and were currently in the process of deciding which topics to prioritise. Among the highest priority issues, he listed artificial intelligence, 5G telecoms, 3D printing, the internet of things and robotics, as well as investment screening and internet platform regulation.

Global Steel Sector May Face $70bn In Stranded Assets Burden by Steven Gislam

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he global steel industry may find itself saddled with up to $70 billion (€58.9 billion) in assets over the coming years and decades because it is still constructing new coal-powered blast furnaces which will become redundant as the world continues to cut carbon emissions, according to a new report. Around 50 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity is currently under development using blast furnaces, mostly in China, the world's largest producer, said the report by San Francisco-based think-tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM). "Building new coal blast furnaces is a bad bet for steel producers and a bad bet for the planet," said Christine Shearer, GEM's coal programme director. Coal-powered blast furnaces are likely to become unnecessary or inoperable over time, leaving the sector with "stranded assets" worth between $47 billion (€39.5 billion) and $70 billion (€58.85 billion), the report claimed. "Based on projections from the IEA and other groups, (they could become stranded) quite likely by 2030-2040. It could be sooner if more aggressive carbon taxes or restrictions are applied," said Caitlin Swalec, the report's lead author. 86 Industry Europe

Total direct global emissions from the iron and steel sector need to drop by over 50% by 2050 relative to 2019 in order to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, according to data from the International Energy Agency. Despite there being large swathes of excess steelmaking capacity worldwide, new plants are being built. GEM said that the current capacity was 25% above 2019 production levels. Most players in the global steel industry - which accounts for around 8% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide - acknowledge that carbon emissions must be slashed, the group said. Steelmaking companies and countries have made commitments to move to net-zero and low carbon emissions that cover more than threequarters of current global steel capacity, it added. Steelmakers are looking to expand the use of electric arc furnaces while also developing hydrogen and carbon capture technologies to cut emissions. GEM used data from its Global Steel Plant Tracker, which surveys every plant operating at a capacity of one million tonnes a year or more.


METALS & MINING NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS Lynas Granted $11m From Australia For Rare Earth Refining Process by Steven Gislam

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ustralia's Lynas Rare Earths has been awarded an AU$14.8 million (€9.4 million) by the Australian government for the commercialisation of a new rare earth mineral refining process that will produce high-purity carbonate. The news comes as many nations are looking to reduce their reliance on China for rare earth minerals, used for a variety of products such as smartphones, electric vehicles, wind turbines and military hardware. Lynas is the world's second-largest producer of rare earths and the only significant producer outside of China, which holds a near-monopoly in the sector with the Australian company producing around 13% of the global supply. The new refining process will be used at its AU$500 million (€310.1 million) facility in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, construction of which is set to begin soon. The grant was made as part of the Australian government's Modern Manufacturing Initiative and will meet around half of the costs of implementing the new process at Kalgoorlie. Canberra says the initiative gives support and provides co-funding for projects to encourage connections with local businesses as well as domestic and international companies. Lynas said it could transport the rare-earth carbonate produced in Kalgoorlie to its facility in Malaysia and its proposed plant in Texas for processing. Shares of the company rose as much as 8.2% in their biggest intraday jump in five months. Lynas has been subject to controversy in Malaysia, where it processes the minerals mined in Australia at a facility in Kuantan, which lies on the

east coast of the Malay Peninsula, around 250 km (155 miles) east of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. In 2019, the company was at the centre of a divisive row over 580,000 tonnes of low-level radioactive waste being stored at the Kuantan facility which ultimately played a part in bringing down the ruling coalition that had governed Malaysia for the previous 61 years. The waste is a byproduct of the enrichment process and activists in Malaysia were concerned about the threat it could pose to local communities and the environment. Lynas workers also held counter-demonstrations, highlighting the importance of the company as an employer in the Kuantan region. The International Atomic Energy Agency described the risk of radiation to the public as being "intrinsically low" and the then Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, dismissed criticism of Lynas' operations in Malaysia. "It's not Chernobyl. This isn't going to be dangerous," he said after his ruling coalition extended the plant's operating licence. Visit: lynasrareearths.com

Thyssenkrupp Will Not Spin-Off Steel Division Before Spring 2022 by Steven Gislam

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erman steel and engineering giant Thyssenkrupp has said that the much-anticipated spinning-off of its troubled steelmaking arm will not take place until Spring 2022 at the earliest, banking on rising global demand having a "positive effect on earnings" at the business. The steelworks future has been unclear since 2019 when a proposed merger with India's Tata Steel was blocked on antitrust grounds by Brussels. In February, a takeover attempt by Liberty Steel's Sanjeev Gupta failed when the company was unable to raise enough capital.

The steel sector, in general, has been thrown a lifeline by the rise in demand for commodities over the past few months. European steelmakers are also seeing the benefits of a fall in the production of cheaper steel in China, after years of struggling to compete. Thyssenkrupp has been weighing up an independent listing for its steelmaking arm, which is based in Germany's industrial heartland, the Ruhr valley, and employs 26,000 people. In the three months leading to the end of July, the units sales were €2.4 billion, up considerably from the €1.4 billion during the same period in 2020. This was caused largely by the bounce back in car sales. The automotive sector is Thyssenkrupp's largest customer. Nonetheless, profits did not rise as much as some of the company's European competitors. Klaus Keysberg, Thyssenkrupp's CFO said: "Our long-term contract structures mean there is a delay in increased raw material and steel prices feeding through to our revenues and earnings."

He also said that some steel production had been hampered because of the relining of a blast furnace. The company still has confidence in the benefits of a possible spin-off, with Keysberg saying that "a pure, independent steel company will have more opportunities to develop in a sustainable way." He also said that a decision such as the spinning-off of such magnitude "needs planning certainty, with regard to political support and in terms of the regulatory framework, infrastructure and financing." Yesterday, the company reported better quarterly results than was expected. Pre-tax profits had risen to €223 million compared with a loss of €574 million for the same period last year. Thyssenkrupp says it had expected an overall adjusted profit in the "three-digit million euro range" for the fiscal year, which would see an end to three consecutive lossmaking years for the group. The company, which has divisions ranging from shipbuilding to industrial components, sold off its much-celebrated lift and escalators business in 2020 for €17.2 billion. Visit: www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/home Industry Europe 87


NEWS

New developments in Politics & Economics

Percentage Of UK Small Businesses Contracting Hits Record Low by Guest post, Hitachi Capital Business Finance , Steven Gislam

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ith the end of social restrictions and Government advice to work from home, new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance reveals that the percentage of small businesses predicting they will contract or scale down has hit its lowest level since the pandemic struck the UK – and there are now signs of bullish recovery from troubled sectors such as hospitality, leisure and retail for the summer months. In April 2020, when the country was in its first lockdown, 31% of small business owners predicted their enterprise would contract or scale back in the next three months, with 29% fearing collapse. By January 2021, this had levelled off, with 14% predicting contraction and 13% collapse. Now, with news of restrictions falling away, and with two-thirds of the country fully vaccinated, fears of negative growth have fallen to their lowest level in two years – with just 8% predicting contraction in the next three months and 8% fearing collapse.

Hitachi Capital’s quarterly Business Barometer reveals that an increase in the percentage of small businesses predicting either growth or stability this year has resulted in a decline in the percentage fearing contraction or collapse. Compared to this time last year, the percentage of small businesses predicting contraction has fallen from 19% to 8%. The research also suggests that some of the sectors that really struggled during successive lockdowns are now bouncing back for the summer months. In the hospitality and leisure sector, the percentage of small businesses predicting growth has more than doubled, compared to this time last year (rising from 16% to 35%) – and it has risen steeply in recent months as restrictions have eased (from 9% in January to 28% in April and now at 35%). The retail sector has seen a similar rebound, the percentage of enterprises predicting growth rising from 27% to 44% since July 2020 – and rising by a third in the last three months (from 33% to 44%). The percentage of small businesses predicting growth also rose for the third successive quarter in the transportation and distribution sector – although agriculture saw a sharp fall from 22% to 15% in the last three months, perhaps a consequence of

Australia Passes Law Banning Imports Made From Forced Labour by Steven Gislam

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he Australian Senate has passed a bill banning anyone from importing goods produced using forced labour as the state looks to tackle the issue of modern slavery first-hand. The bill was pushed to the house by independent senator Rex Patrick, but it still required approval from the country's lower house before it will come into effect, following a heated debate on Monday over the topic of Uyghur abuses in the Xinjiang province. Patrick estimates there may be anywhere between 38 and 46 million slaves across the globe. Many of these are working in sweatshops to manufacture cheap goods to sell to the west. He described the bill as “an important step forward in the international efforts to combat modern slavery”. "We need to send a very clear political signal to Beijing and to the numerous international brands that have been happy to turn a blind eye to China's massive exploitation of forced labour," he added. Slavery has always been a problem within the industry, with several key materials or products being supplied by developing nations, which tend to 88 Industry Europe

widely-discussed seasonal labour shortages. Whilst small businesses in London were most likely to predict growth for the next three months (42%), the Hitachi Capital research suggests that resurgent business confidence is remarkably even across English regions, with virtually all regions recording 35%-42% of business owners predicting growth. Small businesses in Scotland and Wales were less likely than their English counterparts to predict growth (29% and 21% respectively), although the proportion predicting growth had risen over the last 12-months. Joanna Morris, Head of Insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance said: "England’s run in Euro 2020, together with confirmation that Covid restrictions will end are ushering in a new era of confidence and hope for people across the UK, after a prolonged period of anxiety and fear. "This summer optimism plays out in our latest piece of quarterly tracking research. Nationally, there is a solid basis to believe that the resurgent confidence we saw last quarter will be sustained – and, by sector, there is really welcome news for small business sectors that have had a torrid time during the lockdowns." Visit: www.hitachicapital.co.uk

have poorer track records on human rights. While greater efforts towards full supply chain sustainability have been made by key developers, reports are still circling of companies relying on unethically sourced products. A report from early 2020 indicates as many as 83 companies from both within China and outside have been exploiting forced labour on behalf of the Uyghur population. The sweatshops developed products for the automotive, textiles and electronics sectors. Big brands such as Nike, Adidas, Microsoft and Samsung have all been linked to forced labour in China according to the same study. The Guardian also suggests that one-fifth of all the cotton used for fashion products worldwide is sourced from Uyghur slavery. Senator Patrick suggested to the Australian upper house there was "irrefutable" evidence hundreds of thousands of people remain in bondage in China's Xinjiang province. Despite this, mention of the Uyghur's was not made in the bill itself. Rather, the debate acted as the catalyst for the bill's creation. This is likely due to the bill specifically targeting the concept of forced labour, rather than simply dealing with the issue within a certain area. The bill has, however, received support from a number of parties, including near-unanimous bipartisan support from both the Green and Labour parties.


POLITICS & ECONOMICS NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS EU Lays Out "Fit For 55" Goals To Cut Carbon Emissions by Ash Jones

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he European Union revealed on June 14 the details of its "Fit for 55" package as it lays out plans to cut net carbon emissions by 55% on 2019 levels by 2030 as part of the European Green Deal. The deal will not only lay out plans for the economic recovery of the EU coming out of the coronavirus pandemic in the short term but also addressing long-term climate threats. The bloc previously laid out plans to become completely carbon neutral by 2050. Styling itself as the world's first "carbon neutral" continent, the policy will require overhauling climate policies and enabling the EU to deliver on its commitments. The "Fit for 55" package contains 12 legislative proposals to assist in meeting these goals. "We already have the goals," Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels. "We have a climate law which is underpinned by investment. With this proposal, we have the road map." Energy production and use accounts for 70% of the bloc total emissions, so accelerating the transition to greener generation is key, she added. Reducing emissions over the next decade is crucial in achieving the EU's goal of becoming the world's first carbon-neutral continent. "The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits," von der Leyen said. "We want to leave the next generation a healthy planet as well as good jobs and growth that does not hurt our nature." She added: "The European Green Deal is our growth strategy that is moving towards a decarbonised economy.

"Europe was the first continent to declare to be climate neutral in 2050, and now we are the very first ones to put a concrete roadmap on the table. "Europe walks the talk on climate policies through innovation, investment and social compensation." Among the other things listed at the conference include a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel engines by 2035, including hybrids, in line with similar bans laid out by the UK and Portugal. The EU has revealed plans to offer financial incentives for companies to make the switch. The bloc also hopes to reduce emissions from cars by 55%, down from the original goal of 37.5%. Also, by 2035, 80% of all air transport should be done using sustainable fuels, with the goal of them emitting 80% less carbon into the atmosphere. Many sustainable biofuels options are available, the Commission revealed, but are not currently used. Emissions trading will also see something of an overhaul. The EU's current scheme will see several new sectors added to the list, including aviation and shipping. This will effectively allow many heavily polluting industries to operate using the carbon price, which aims to encourage the switch to more renewable methods. Brussels says the current scheme — which covers areas such as steel, cement and power — is already set to reduce carbon emissions by around 44% in the respective sectors. Steel, iron, aluminium, cement, fertilisers and electricity will be the first sectors to be subject to this plan. The EU may attempt to leverage this into cities reducing their overall emissions.. Read the full story at: industryeurope.com

UK Government "Names And Shames" 191 Companies For Minimum Wage Breaches by Ash Jones

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he British government on Thursday (August 5) named and shamed 191 employers for minimum wage breaches in a bid to clamp down on abuses of workers' rights, including retail giant John Lewis and Pret A Manger. Ministers estimate as much as £2.1 million (€2.4 million) is owed to over 34,000 workers at these chains for breaches that took place between 2011 and 2018. Many of these employers have been ordered to pay back what they owe and fined an additional £3.1 million (€3.6 million) for the breaches. The minimum wage - referred to in the UK as the "national living wage" - went up by 19p for over-25s back in April to account for increases in prices attributed to inflation, rising to £8.72 (€10.25) per hour. This means these companies were still operating under older rules, back when the minimum wage was £7.83. Minimum rage has gradually increased year-on-year since 2010, although it has still not managed to keep up with inflation although exact numbers are still up for debate.

The SME "Living Wage" argues the outside London living wage should come to around £9.50 (€11.16) per hour. It also argued that, within London, the living wage should be £10.85 (€12.75). The government has revealed it is likely many of these breaches were unintentional. Minimum wage breaches can occur when a worker is paid on or around the minimum wage but sees reductions from items such as uniforms or accommodation - or anything outside of regular taxation - that knocks it below the threshold. The government have since stipulated that this should not be happening and that measures should be in place to prevent this from occurring. 47% of the employers caught fell into this trap, whereas 30% failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime, and 19% paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate. "Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up

short," Business minister Paul Scully said. " All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly." "This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that shortchange workers won’t get off lightly," he added. John Lewis revealed many of the breaches listed - which involved 19,000 of their employees being underpaid by around £60 (€70) each, - happened "nearly four years ago", and was due to the fact workers were not paid accordingly during months where they worked longer hours. The government has changed the law so that employers working variable hours count as salaried workers, which should prevent incidents such as this. This is particularly odd as John Lewis is a worker co-operative - a type of employee-owned business, commonly associated with left-wing politics - meaning, it should have a more progressive approach to wages.. Read the full story at: industryeurope.com Industry Europe 89


INVENTORY-SHARING SOLUTIONS FOR

INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION

Poland's Automa.Net is an inventory-sharing platform connecting distributors and resellers of industrial automation from all over the world. The Rzeszow-based company and app allow its customers to search their stores and warehouses from one place, even parts that are difficult to access and discontinued.

Marcin Krzaczkowski Managing Director

90 Industry Europe

Karolina Moskal - Data Guru

Mateusz Ozga Customer Success Manager

Slawek Lech - Technical Director


TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION

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utoma.Net is a quite new name on the market, having been established in March 2021. However, the man behind that project, Marcin Krzaczkowski, has been around far longer. Automa.Net’s founder graduated both from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore before making his strides in business and technology. After successfully launching and running software house skydigo. com, he started a career in building products for industrial markets. In 2018, he co-founded FluidPowerNet, a platform for hydraulic and pneumatic companies that integrated hundreds of distributors and trade companies worldwide. Having a team of people experienced in designing, developing and launching digital products, he decided to face another challenge on the market. After many hours spent on meetings - his claims exceeding 100 - with industrial automation professionals, he decided to launch a platform that would help companies operating in this dynamic sector. Five months of hard work later and the platform launched with its official opening taking place on March 1 2021.

"We also help our customers to sell their surplus and non-rotating stock," he added. The platform is intended both for sellers and buyers: distributors, brokers, system integrators and dealers or for all those who need to resale industrial automation equipment. Users have access to the largest and richest directory of companies operating on the industrial automation market. However, they do not currently cooperate with end customers. "Perhaps this could be our next step in the future," Krzaczkowski

A platform for buyers and sellers Automa.Net makes it easier to search through hundreds of warehouses and web storefronts with industrial products all in one place, with Krzaczkowski claiming that users "can get the information on what’s available now and ready to ship.”

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DREAMland, spol. s r.o. We sell We sell new and refurbished spare parts from the industrial automation sector, primarily from names such as Siemens, Allen-Bradley, Omron, Mitsubishi, etc. A big advantage is our own warehouse with approximately 63,000 items, which we are able to ship 24/7/365 on the day of the customer order. If you are looking for new or refurbished parts at an affordable price, or parts that are no longer supplied by the manufacturer, visit our https://eshop.dreamland-plc.cz/ e-shop.

We repair Our Company has its own repair centre, where we repair industrial automation components, especially those from the Siemens brand. The price of repair is always set in advance and usually ranges from 20 to 40% of the original price of the new product. Most routine repairs are performed within 2-4 weeks. In urgent cases, we offer express repair in a shorter period.

We buy We buy any components from the industrial automation sector, both non-functional and mechanically damaged. We buy parts from liquidated warehouses, leftover spare parts from assembly work, and old parts following technological upgrades.

said, stating that, unlike eBay or Amazon, Automa.Net will give its distributors full control over the relationship with the end-user. He added: "There are hundreds of companies from more than 30 countries, whose stock data is available on our platform. You just need to type the part number and send the RFQ directly from Automa.Net. You could also contact the company via email or phone as we make all the contact details information freely available” The users always see parts available in stock on the top of the searches. Additionally, at the bottom of the search results screen, there are parts that are available on order. If the supplier has provided the information, there is also the lead time for these parts. When it comes to the parts in stock, companies performing well are on availability criteria being ranked higher over time. Automa.Net's inventory includes new parts as well as those from the aftermarket. In its database one can search through nearly 1. 5 million catalogue positions, which transforms into several hundred million industrial automation parts of different conditions: new, new surplus, used, refurbished, and hard-to-find parts. There are, amongst other parts of such leading automation producers as Siemens (with more than 175 thousand parts in the database), Allen-Bradley (44 thousand parts) or Schneider Electric (almost 43 thousand parts). Despite only being operational for a few months, the platform has gathered users from over 200 companies across the globe.

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Some of the businesses utilising the platform include Poland's Aserto, and Stercontrol; the UK's Radwell International and Northern Industrial; Czech Republic’s Dreamland; Italy's PLC-City; Netherland’s Maxodeals; Spain’s Quero Automation as well as various other key industry players worldwide. The site also provides a catalogue of over 10,000 companies from the industrial automation market, that everyone can browse freely without the need to sign up - there are filters available like ‘company type’ (distributors, system integrator, distributors group... ), country and brand. To ensure data security and failure-free operation of the platform, Automa.Net works on two independent servers, one of which is located in Berlin and the other in Warsaw. There is also an encrypted SFTP protocol for companies uploading the stock as well as constant monitoring of the traffic and services.

Business grows despite the pandemic Paradoxically, the difficulties related to the Covid-19 pandemic situation are conducive to the development of Automa.Net. Owing to various limitations, many companies have focused their search for parts on the Internet. The market is now experiencing a boom for industrial automation, seeing a roughly 8-10% growth year-on-year "We all find ourselves in a pandemic situation. As a result, many manufacturers had to shut down," Krzaczkowski said. "There are shortages in production. Many companies are having huge difficulties buying from their usual suppliers. This is where Automa.Net


TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION

comes in and helps its users expand their customer base and find new customers by showing their stock on our platform. "To be perfectly clear, no one can see all the parts you have loaded or download your database. Companies can only search for a part they need. We are not looking to disrupt the industry, only to help streamline some of the business processes and make searching for parts easier." The platform's founder strongly emphasises that the company does not earn a commission on transactions. The accounts of distributors are free for the first three months. After this period, the cost of access to the app's database ranges anywhere from €500 to €3,000 a year, depending on the type of access.

component suppliers globally. Systems like this are giving purchasing teams the confidence of what’s available for fast shipment from the stock and speeding up the business process of backn ordering or drop shipping.

A boost to your stock management system Being part of Automa.Net gives a distributor access to features that will link part searches directly to its e-shop, creating an easier purchase experience for other users. The app also offers access to API, so a company can integrate Automa.Net’s data and experience with the existing company infrastructure. API allows users to display search results data within their own ERP/stock management system. The purchasing team could simply use their existing system and in addition to their current company and its partners stock data see availability from companies connected to Automa.Net. In simple terms, this could create a more robust connection as more standardized data among many

In 2022 Automa.Net is organing the first meeting for component companies, see more at the meeting.automa.net

Industry Europe 93


NEWS

New developments in Technology & Innovation

Intel Offers $20bn Chip Investment For EU by Ash Jones

Credit: Tester128 / Shutterstock

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S tech giant Intel has revealed its planned $20 billion (€16.9 billion) investment in a new semiconductor gigafactory could be shared among a number of EU member states. The group has been lobbying to win financial support for the project with the company's CEO Pat Gelsinger meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to discuss the chip shortage. Gelsinger previously pledged to address the chip supply by increasing in-house production of semiconductors ahead of US President Joe Biden's plans to address domestic supply issues. The company were also considering supplying chips for the automotive sector, which has been hit particularly hard by the supply shortages. The bloc has hinted at plans for financial backing to allow for companies and governments to work to tackle the chip shortage and has already pledged towards increasing domestic production by 2030. Intel's executives have revealed there could be "EU-wide benefits" should the company's require-

ments be met for its new plant, including possible expansion in Europe. The company also revealed research and development opportunities or spreading services across several member states. Talking to the FT, Greg Slater, Intel vicepresident of global regulatory affairs said the company could "put manufacturing on one site and packaging on another," and that spending on EU suppliers could "increase dramatically." He added: “We are well placed to make this an ecosystem-wide project, not just a couple of isolated paths in one member state. We do believe that this is a project that will benefit Europe at large.” Infrastructure on the project could reach around 1,000 acres, according to the tech giant's specifications, with the ability to support up to eight fabs. The company's executives revealed two fabs will be built to start with, which would cover the entire $20 billion investment over a ten-year initial lifespan. Total investment could surpass $100 billion for the plant, they added. French officials revealed Intel was looking at expanding into 10-nanometre chip production for Europe - a particularly advanced form of chip technology. They revealed the chipmaker was looking into building "an entire ecosystem" for chip production. Both Intel and computing rival Nvidia have pledged to increase domestic production of chips, with Nvidia even willing to break into the CPU market to help address the shortage.

Nvidia's push into expanding its portfolio comes nearly a year after its acquisition of Arm, which some people fear may lead to a tech monopoly. Many western chip companies are dependent on suppliers from East Asia and the shortage has been caused by increased demand for consumer electronics with the coronavirus pandemic alongside a demand surge for electric vehicles as part of several nation's pandemic recovery schemes. Several major automakers had to cut production during the pandemic owing to the chip shortage, and companies like Nissan, Northvolt and Stellantis (with the aid of the Italian government) looking at increasing domestic production through overhauling or investing in gigafactory infrastructure. This could go some ways to ensuring more robust supply chains and prevent these kinds of bottlenecks from occurring in the case of another global crisis. Chipmakers have also revealed automakers may have to overhaul their supply chains to deal with the shortage. The topic of strengthening supply chains was also a major topic at the recent EU Industry Days event, held in March. Supplying chips from either the EU or the UK was also one of the agreements made in Britain's post-Brexit trade deal after it withdrew from the bloc in January. Automakers will have to supply all of their batteries and chips from within the EU or UK by 2027 or face heavy fines. Visit: www.intel.co.uk

ABB Buys Spain's ASTI In Planned Automation Push by Steven Gislam

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wiss engineering company ABB has bought Spanish robot maker ASTI Mobile Robotics Group as part of its strategy to diversify its robotics business beyond its traditional automotive base. The acquisition of the global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) manufacturer with a broad portfolio across all major applications will expand ABB’s robotics and automation offering, making it the only company to offer a complete portfolio for the next generation of flexible automation. With global AMR sales expected to reach approximately $14 billion (€11.8 billion) by 2025, ABB plans to expand AMR sales and service support globally to 53 countries. Founded in 1982, ASTI is headquartered in Burgos, Spain and employs over 300 people in Spain, France and Germany, and has a broad customer base in the automotive, logistics, food & beverage and pharmaceuticals sectors in 20 countries. Customers include Nestle, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble. 94 Industry Europe

Its AMR portfolio includes autonomous towing vehicles, goods-to-person solutions, unit carriers and box movers as well as a comprehensive software offering, ranging from vehicle navigation and control, fleet and order management and cloud-based traceability systems. “With their portfolio, comprehensive suite of software and deep domain expertise across growth segments, ASTI is the perfect choice for us as we support our customers with the next generation of flexible automation,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business. “With this acquisition, ABB will be the only company to offer a full automation portfolio of AMRs, robots and machine automation solutions, from production to logistics to point of consumption. This is a game-changer for our customers as they seize new opportunities presented by significant changes in consumer demand.” Visit: global.abb/group/en


TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS Ericsson Warns Of Repercussions In China After Swedish Huawei Ban by Steven Gislam

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wedish telecoms firm Ericsson has seen its sales in China plunge and has warned that the company will face retaliation in the country because of Sweden's decision to ban Huawei from building 5G networks. Ericsson saw its revenues in China this year fall to SKr 1.5 billion (€146 million) from SKr 4.1 billion (€400 million) last year, causing the company's overall sales to drop for the first time in three years. CEO Borje Ekholm warned that the company would probably face a "materially lower market share" in Asia's largest economy in the near future because of Sweden's decision to block Huawei and ZTE over espionage and technology theft concerns.

US FTC Eyes Split-Up Of Facebook In Major Antitrust Lawsuit by Ash Jones Credit: Jirapong Manustrong / Shutterstock

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he US Federal Trade Commission has refiled its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, suggesting the company still operates a monopoly over social media and access to information and has requested for it to be broken up. Clamping down on its original suit in December, the government body has also suggested the tech giant should also be forced to sell off both Insta-

Ericsson and several of its competitors have become caught in the middle of a geopolitical struggle over 5G networks. The US has been applying pressure on its European allies to follow its lead and bar Chinese companies from telecoms networks. At one time, officials in the administration of former president Donald Trump were even considering buying stakes in Ericsson or Finland's Nokia, the two main competitors of Huawei. Ekholm has been an outspoken critic of the Swedish 5G ban on Huawei. In an interview with the FT last year, he said that the decision would restrict competition and free trade. One of Ericsson's biggest investors, the Wallenberg family also criticised the decision amid concerns that the ban's fallout would embroil other sectors. Some analysts are even predicting that Ericsson will see no future revenues in China. Last week, Ekholm said the Swedish ban "might influence market share awards", due later this year. The company also released an upgraded forecast for the telecoms equipment market in China which showed a projected 11% growth this year, up from a prior estimate of 4%. Ericsson also highlighted just how much it stood to lose, underscoring the SKr 10 billion (€975 million) it made in China in the second half of 2020. Its problems in China come as it reported Q2 sales that were down slightly on the same period in the previous year. Shares in Ericsson dropped 8% in early trading on Friday. Visit: www.ericsson.com/en

gram and WhatsApp, which combine into a massive market share within the social media sphere and enables the company to operate a "buy or bury" method of stifling competition. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook often abuses its market position to make it difficult for rival companies to compete and comes amid a new wave of scrutiny against Mark Zuckerberg and his platform over supposedly stifling freedom of expression. Facebook purchased Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Zuckerberg has been looking to integrate the apps more thoroughly for ease of use, but this could also make it more difficult to break the company up. Facebook dominates the social media market, especially in the US. Its closest competitor, TikTok, has over one billion fewer users according to one data set. Its closest US rival, Snapchat, only has 514 million users as of July 2021. Combined, the three platforms owned by Facebook have over six billion non-unique users. However, the filing dismisses TikTok as a valid competitor as it primarily operates with users

sharing content to users they do not know, like any video sharing site, such as YouTube. A federal judge dismissed the original suit in June, stating the FTC has not sufficiently relayed evidence to suggest Facebook dominated the social media market. However, the FTC alleges that the tech giant would continue to "kneecap" rivals should something not be done to stop it. “Lacking serious competition, Facebook has been able to hone a surveillance-based advertising model and impose ever-increasing burdens on its users,” the FTC said in a statement. Holly Vedova, the acting director of the FTC, said: “Facebook lacked the business acumen and technical talent to survive the transition to mobile. “After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat.” It also claims Facebook has a "high barrier for entry" for its competitors, owing to the platform requiring users to have an interconnected user base. The company's status as a wellestablished platform may also disincentivise users from switching, making it more difficult for competition from rival platforms. Industry Europe 95


THE GREEN DRIVE Scania, the global manufacturer of trucks and buses, has intensified its focus on making transport more environmentally friendly.

96 Industry Europe


TRANSPORTATION

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he company offers the transport industry’s widest range of vehicles that can run on alternative fuels and is also a technological leader in autonomous and electrified vehicles. Headquartered in Södertälje, Sweden, Scania is a global company with sales of trucks, buses, engines and services in more than 100 countries. The group’s production units are located in Europe, South America and Asia. The company operates globally, with most of its sales achieved in Europe. The company’s unique modular system allows it to offer an extremely wide portfolio of products using relatively few components and parts. This allows the company to optimise its solutions quickly and easily for specific customer needs, applications, and markets. For example, the technology for hybrid and battery electric trucks builds on the modular system with components tried-and-tested throughout Scania’s truck range, well-known for their durability and reliability. Modularisation also creates a lean and flexible production system in which it is possible to introduce new technologies rapidly, bring them to market, and scale them up quickly. Innovation at Scania is largely focused on advancing low-carbon transport solutions. This involves significant investment in sustainable transport solutions that are viable today, such as efficient powertrains powered by renewable fuels.

At the same time, the company is making long-term decisions to develop the autonomous, connected and electrified transport technologies of tomorrow. Currently, Scania has the transport industry’s widest range of vehicles that can run on alternative fuels and is a technological leader in autonomous and electrified transport solutions. Scania’s efforts towards greener transport solutions have been widely recognised. In four consecutive years Scania has won the prestigious “Green Truck” award, and figures from the European Commission confirm that Scania is the only heavy vehicle manufacturer in Europe that has managed to reduce CO2 emissions below the CO2 limit set by the EU.

A year like no other In 2020, Scania was affected by the global pandemic like everyone else. A large part of Scania’s operation was put on hold during the initial several months of the pandemic. Helped by the support packages in different countries, the company was able to keep a large part of its workforce on furlough during the most financially challenging time but still had to make the tough decision to decrease the workforce significantly.

Industry Europe 97


98 Industry Europe


TRANSPORTATION

Still, its focus on carbon emission reduction has continued. In May 2020, Scania became the world’s first heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer to have climate targets formally approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. The targets include halving carbon emissions from its own operations from 2015 to 2025, as well as reaching a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from Scania trucks and buses when in use, which constitutes more than 90% of Scania’s environmental impact. The year saw Scania achieve a milestone with the commercial launch of its first series-produced electric truck range, which will play an important role in its ongoing efforts to decarbonise the portfolio. To prepare for larger sales of electric vehicles, the company has made significant investments in the battery industry, including a battery assembly plant and a battery laboratory, a joint project with Northvolt, the European supplier of sustainable, high-quality battery cells and systems. In 2020 Scania also took the historic decision to invest in its own industrial operation in China, purchasing a company with manufacturing rights in China - a unique step, since historically, foreign companies have mainly operated in China through joint ventures with local manufacturers. The goal is to gradually expand its operation in line with the market’s increasing demand for modern vehicles to support efficient logistics and sustainable transport.

The new CEO and President of Scania Mr Christian Levin who was appointed by the Board to start in his role on 1 May 2021, commented: “After last year’s uncertainty due to the pandemic, the recovery in demand has continued to be strong during the first quarter of 2021. Our customers’ capacity utilisation is good and data gathered from connected Scania vehicles show a high level of transport activity, particularly in the long-haul and construction segments.” He noted that in early 2021, the company started the construction of its new battery assembly plant in Södertälje. The facility, which will be fully operational by 2023, clearly demonstrates Scania’s determination to take a leading role in heavy vehicle electrification. “To deliver increasing volumes of electric vehicles is crucial for Scania’s commitment to fulfilling our climate targets. New to the CEO position, I am looking forward to continuing to drive the shift to sustainable transport with Scania in the lead. The strategy remains unchanged, and to be able to deliver on the strategy, we are set to n accelerate the ongoing transformation of the company.”

Start of a new era Despite the challenges, Scania has emerged from the difficult year in robust shape, set to lead the shift towards sustainable transport, and ready to make use of new opportunities emerging as electrification and autonomous technology disrupt the transport sector. Industry Europe 99


NEWS

New developments in Transportation

Yara Birkeland: The World's First Autonomous, All-Electric Cargo Ship by Ash Jones

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orwegian shipping company Yara International has built what it claims is the world's first autonomous, crewless, zero-emission cargo ship, set to take off on its maiden voyage later this year. First conceptualised in 2017, the Yara Birkeland's first voyage without crew members was originally penned in for 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the company's ambitions. The ship is set to travel from Herøya to Brevik with only three onshore data control stations along its designated route. While not the first fully autonomous ship to take to the seas - a crewless ferry from Finland launched in 2018 - it is the first of its kind to be powered entirely by electricity. The vessel was created to deal with a pressing issue within the shipping and freighting industries - the problem of carbon emissions. Specifically engineered to reduce emissions of nitrous oxides and sulfur oxides, which are both toxic to humans and considered greenhouse gases, and carbon dioxide, one of the leading causes of climate change. Shipping currently accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions and pushes have been made for attempts to decarbonise the sector. 90% of global trade is also made by sea, hinting it may be an important part of the value chain to decarbonise and aid in efforts to reduce emissions in other key industrial sectors. Furthermore, much of Norway's electricity is generated by hydropower. While cleaner than fossil fuels, these processes still contribute to carbon emissions. The Birkeland is currently capable of carrying 103 containers and can reach a top speed of 13 knots, currently a little slower than most cargo vessels, which are often designed to travel at around 24 knots, but often travel anywhere between 16 and 24 knots.

The ship currently runs on a 7MW battery - roughly "a thousand times the capacity of one electric car," John Sletten, a plant manager for Yara's factory in Porsgrunn, Norway told CNN. Sletten claims the vessel could stand in for as many as 40,000 truck journeys per year, also contributing to significantly reduced emissions for the transport sector. Owing to the battery size, charging the vessel may take some time, but it will be charged quayside in-between missions. While loading and unloading the ship will still require human labour, for the time being, Sletten indicated there is a plan to handle nearly every aspect of Yara's freighting autonomously in the near future, once the technology arises. "The focus on autonomy lowers to cost of operation for those transporting goods," Sletten added, while the vessel itself actively reduces carbon and oxide emissions. Outside of the pandemic, further delays to the maiden voyage were caused by Yara working alongside Norwegian maritime regulators to allow an autonomous ship to navigate Norway's waters for the first time. Visit: www.yara.com

China's Baidu Unveils Its First L5 Autonomous Robocar by Steven Gislam

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hinese search engine Baidu has revealed its first Level 5 autonomous "robocar" at its annual flagship technology conference, Baidu World 2021. The car, which was unveiled by Robin Li, cofounder and CEO of Baidu, represents something of an aesthetic departure from traditional auto design. It has no steering wheel or pedals, 100 Industry Europe

automatic gull-wing doors, a glass roof, external sensors and "zero-gravity seats". It also comes complete with voice and facial recognition, and advanced AI that can analyse the internal and external surroundings, making predictive suggestions to the occupants to make the journey more comfortable. The robocar will ultimately be controlled by a human via the cloud, and the robocars are being marketed less as a robot and more in terms of a "friend", that can learn a user's preferences and communicate smoothly with the user. "The future cars will be the robocars, which possess L5 level autonomous driving ability, speech and face recognition capacity analysing the potential needs of users and actively providing services," Li said at the unveiling at Baidu World 2021. "They will drive autonomously, act as both an intelligent assistant and loyal companion, and be self-learning," he added.

Autonomous driving is categorised across five levels. The higher the level, the smarter the technology, with L5 representing fully autonomous driving. In addition to unveiling the robocar, the Chinese tech giant also launched a new autonomous robotaxi platform called Luobo Kuaipao, which is seen as a push to accelerate the commercialisation of self-driving technology. Baidu says that in the first half of 2021, its Apollo self-driving service completed more than 400,000 rides and drove over 14 million km (8.7 million miles) in the two years since it has been set up. The service has been available in four cities across China - Beijing, Guangzhou, Changsha and Cangzhou - and the company says the technology provides a solid foundation to transition its robotaxi to a commercial operation. Beijing-based Baidu has invested heavily in selfdriving technology in recent years and is planning to expand its autonomous taxi services to 30 cities across China over the next two to three years. Visit: ir.baidu.com


TRANSPORTATION NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS Glencore Invests In Britishvolt For First UK Gigafactory by Ash Jones

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ining company Glencore has acquired a stake in battery startup Britishvolt, which has plans for a gigafactory intended to power the UK automotive industry's switch to an electric future. According to the agreement, Glencore will also supply cobalt - one of the vital raw materials used in electric vehicle batteries - to the gigafactory, which is currently being constructed in Northumberland, Northeast England. The partnership is seen as the highest endorsement so far for the UK's first gigafactory - a £2.6 billion (€3.04 billion) project that supporters say is essential for the country's homegrown electric car sector to take off and to reach the government's carbon reduction goals. The UK has set a target of 2030 to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars and the auto sector is racing to establish an electric vehicle infrastructure, including battery supply, capable of producing at scale. "From Britishvolt’s perspective this is a major milestone, securing responsibly produced raw materials to help de-risk the project," said Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt’s CEO and founder.

"If you look at global cobalt production two players stand out - Glencore and the Chinese." The amount invested by Glencore in Britishvolt has not been disclosed but it will make the mining firm one of the startup's largest investors Glencore is the world's largest cobalt producer and will supply Britishvolt with 30% of the metal it requires between 2024 and 2030. Its use in the burgeoning global electric vehicle industry has made cobalt one of the most sought-after raw materials in the world. The company already supplies cobalt to Tesla and BMW from its mines in Australia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Glencore and other mining companies have been working to develop a blockchain platform to ensure the metal's ethical production in the DRC. Britishvolt is one of just a handful of gigafactories in Europe to have secured planning permission and is mulling going public in London or New York. The battery plant will be constructed on the site of a decommissioned coal-fired power station in Blyth, northeast England and will initially employ 1,000 people. This number is set to increase to over 3,000 once the gigafactory is at full capacity.

The 93-hectare plot was chosen because of its access to a deep-sea harbour and its electricity grid connection. The plant has a targeted capacity of 30 GWh/year - equivalent to around 300,000 battery packs - with the first production expected at the end of 2023. Although several companies are in talks with the UK government about building battery gigafactories, only Britishvolt and Nissan have declared their plans publicly. Glencore’s head cobalt trader David Brocas welcomed the deal with Britishvolt. "Our commitment to support our partners in meeting their requirements for essential battery ingredients is key to underpinning long-term supply agreements," he said. "As the mobility and energy transition accelerates, so does forecast demand for future-facing metals such as cobalt, copper and nickel." Visit: www.britishvolt.com

Vietnam's VinFast Expands Into Europe And North America by Ash Jones Credit: CravenA / Shutterstock

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ietnam's first commercial car manufacturer VinFast has expanded its operations into Europe and North America opening offices on both continents, as it seeks to break into both continents' electric vehicle markets. The company has been in business since 2017 and released its first set of cars onto the streets of Vietnam in 2019.

The firm is a subsidiary of Vingroup, which currently stands as Vietnam's largest corporation and operates within the technology, industry, real estate development, retail and services. The group revealed the expansion in a statement, which read: "VinFast has set up representative offices in five international markets and will soon open showrooms in California. "VinFast USA's CEO has already relocated to the US from Vietnam recently." The company has ambitions to sell as many as 55,000 cars by 2022, but this was scaled back due to the semiconductor shortage currently ravaging the automotive industry. Reuters reports the company is still operating at a loss and sells roughly 30,000 cars manually. In order to maximise its operations, it will be seeking public listing in the US to generate enough cash to support its growth. The company has plans to roll out its first fully electric, self-driving SUVs later this year. Company executives compared the features present akin to Tesla's offering, but at a far lower price. The first of these models is set to hit Vietnam in October, with the other two set for commercial release in Europe and North America in 2022, the company's CEO revealed to Forbes. Visit: vinfastauto.com Industry Europe 101


TRANSPORTATION NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

New developments in the Transportation

Maersk Orders Carbon-Neutral Vessels In Decarbonisation Push by Steven Gislam

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anish shipping giant Maersk has ordered eight new vessels, each with a capacity of 16,000 containers, that run on carbon-neutral methanol in a push to decarbonise its fleet and meet increasing consumer demand for greener transportation. The company has pledged to only order new vessels capable of running on carbon-neutral fuel as part of its goal to achieve net-zero by 2050. Most vessels have a lifetime of 20-35 years meaning that they must have a carbon-neutral fleet by the end of this decade to achieve this.

Maersk is expecting to receive the eight vessels, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, in early 2024, with an option to order another four in 2025. The move makes the shipping group - the largest in the world - the first to place a large order of carbon-neutral vessels capable of making the journey from China to Europe and across the Pacific Ocean. Each vessel comes with a price tag of around $175 million (€149 million), which is about 10-15% more expensive than a traditional ship. Also, carbon-neutral methanol presently costs almost double that of bunker fuel, though Maersk has said that more than half of its 200 largest customers, including Disney, Amazon and Microsoft, themselves in the process of cutting supply chain emissions, would be willing to pay for greener transport. In a statement, Maersk CEO Soren Skou said: "This order proves that carbon-neutral solutions are available today across container vessel segments and that Maersk stands committed to the growing number of our customers who look to decarbonise their supply chains." Around 90% of global trade is transported by sea and the global shipping sector accounts for almost 3% of the world's CO2 emissions. The new vessels are to be fitted with engines that can run on green methanol - produced by using renewable sources like biomass and solar energy, as well as traditional bunker fuel, as the availability of carbonneutral fuel has still yet to reach demand. However, some critics have argued that using green methanol make little sense as the CO2 is first absorbed during production, and emitted again when burnt, instead of sequestering the greenhouse gas. Visit: www.maersk.com

Introducing "Leo", The Flying Electric Hypercar by Steven Gislam

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rban eVTOL, a new US-based company, has pledged to deliver a three-seater "flying electric hypercar" which boasts a top speed of 400km/h (250 mph) and a range of over 480 kilometres (300 miles). The company was formed in Spring 2020 by Pete Bitar and Carlos Salaff and is a joint venture between the former's Electric Jet Aircraft and the latter's SALAFF Automotive. According to the company, the Leo was designed by Salaff and features "a revolutionary, proven electric propulsion system created by Pete Bitar". Bitar, who has been devising vertical propulsion systems for decades, also has a DARPA (the US Government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) contract to develop the electric jetpacks that he invented. He also won one of nine NASA "Future-Scaping Our Skies" awards for his work on-ground infrastructure and air traffic control for the burgeoning eVTOL industry. 102 Industry Europe

Salaff has a background in automotive design, including the Mazda Furai concept car. Urban eVTOL is billing the Leo as "the brainchild of two passionate creators who desired to build an aircraft unlike the aeroplane or helicopter" and "an automobile for the sky - as science fiction has foreseen." The company has now released the first renders of the three-seat lift-and-cruise design Leo, which runs 16 electric ducted fans for vertical lift, designed by Bitar, and several more at the rear for horizontal thrust. The hypercar’s propulsion system has also recently been awarded funding by DARPA which will allow for further development of the design. In terms of flight time, Bitar has claimed that the Leo's relatively lightweight and the efficiency of its ducted fans together with its high speeds will equate to around an hour and 15 minutes, including five minutes for takeoff and landing. In an interview with New Atlas, he said: "With our high forward speed of 250 mph (400 km/h),

you’re looking at nearly 300 miles, or 450 kilometres, roughly, on a single charge. "We’ve done the math on that. We’ve empirically tested the forward thrusters and the vertical thrusters, so we know what we’re going to be burning. And that’s running the vertical thrusters for as much as two or three minutes on takeoff and landing, to account for the forward speed we need." Beyond being an innovative idea for personal transport, Urban eVTOL says that the compact form will make Leo "ideal for fire rescue, medevac, Coast Guard, tourism, exploration and most any terrain without developed road infrastructure." Visit: www.urbanevtol.com




Articles inside

The green drive Scania

4min
pages 96-99

Inventory-sharing solutions for industrial automation Automa.Net

6min
pages 90-93

Strong as steel Texor

4min
pages 82-85

Driving innovative change Poclain Hydraulics

4min
pages 78-81

Commitment to innovation Oerlikon Balzers

5min
pages 74-77

Towards green horizons Rainpower

4min
pages 66-69

Consumer Goods news

8min
pages 64-65

Creating trustworthy packaging Supravis

6min
pages 60-63

Making a positive impact Procter and Gambler

5min
pages 56-59

At the forefront Pavan

4min
pages 52-55

Growing in partnerships Sampierana

4min
pages 46-49

Enhancing the view NorDan

4min
pages 38-41

The right cover Wienerberger

4min
pages 42-45

Harvesting the future CLAAS

4min
pages 30-33

Filtration solutions for a cleaner tomorrow Mann Hummel

4min
pages 34-37

Reliable partner Nuova Solmine

4min
pages 24-26

Aerospace & Defence news

8min
pages 18-19

Revealing hidden secrets of paraffin Polwax

4min
pages 20-23

An Office for a post-pandemic world

7min
pages 16-17

Editorial Cleaning up industry’s biggest emitters

4min
pages 3-5

The Importance of Air Filtration

8min
pages 14-15

Harnessing Hydrogen for Green Steel

7min
pages 6-9

Manufacturers must adopt Industry 4.0

4min
pages 12-13

Zinnwald – Europe’s first lithium project

6min
pages 10-11
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