VOLUME 31/3 – 2021
LOGOPLASTE THE NATURAL CHOICE MÖLNLYCKE A HEALING EXPERIENCE
MAKING NET-ZERO POSSIBLE
IE TALKS TO ETC’S LORD ADAIR TURNER ABOUT THE ROUTE TO NET-ZERO
The Long and Winding Road M uch of Europe is now, tentatively, beginning to emerge from this year’s extended winter cold, much of which was spent under lockdown, and things are starting to resemble a kind of normal, with vaccinations finally being rolled out, shops, bars and restaurants stuttering back to life, and economies revving back up again. While a glimmer of light at the end of the long Covid tunnel is great of course, the world continues to turn and continues to warm, and the race to green up our industries is still far from over. Recent news that carbon emissions levels have reached new record highs despite the pandemic, and that fossil fuels are still being more heavily subsidised than renewables, should be met by businesses and consumers alike as a sobering reminder that words are not enough and sustainability is more than just a nice thing to shoehorn into a press release. While platitudes make good PR, they won’t mean much to sweltering future generations with waterlogged homes having to deal with the sharp end of an ecological fallout. The pressure needs to remain on governments and businesses to keep ploughing ahead with the transition. Of course, energy is not the only transition in town right now. Lest we forget, we are still in the midst of Industry 4.0 which means connectivity is king and CEOs have a lot to think about. This edition of Industry Europe puts these things into focus as we take these issues and apply them across four sectors. For many businesses, SMEs especially, the green transition presents a host of opportunities but also a baffling array of new technologies, methodologies, and potential pitfalls. The issue of climate change and how individuals, businesses, industrial sectors, and governments can adapt to it is immense - even daunting - given the scale of the issue and the high stakes involved. When faced with a problem so massive, we humans can sometimes freeze on the spot, like rabbits in the proverbial headlights, not doing anything for fear of the wrong thing.
In late May I spoke to Lord Adair Turner, the co-chair of London-based global thinktank the Energy Transitions Commission, to discuss two reports the group had recently published on electrification and green hydrogen. Both these reports throw new light in the direction the road to net-zero could take. He argues that the development of clean electricity and clean hydrogen together make up the large part of how we can achieve a zero-carbon economy. It was a wide-ranging interview, covering everything from carbon capture to cobalt, synthetic meats to methane, and most importantly offering some practical insights into ways we can reach the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement. Read the full article, ‘Making Net-Zero Possible’, on page 6. Our Healthcare focus feature comes from George I’ons, who is Head of Product Strategy and Insights at Owen Mumford Pharmaceutical Services. In his article, ‘Let’s Talk Sustainability and Single-Use in the Pharma and Medical Sectors’, he takes this theme of sustainability and examines it more closely through the lens of the Healthcare sector. According to the World Bank, Healthcare currently accounts for 5% of global carbon emissions. The sector faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to sustainability and finds itself performing a balancing act between waste reduction and the push towards a circular economy, with the need to keep patients and healthcare workers safe. This delicate balance is all being managed to the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has only served to highlight all these issues further. For infection-control reasons, most medical products and devices are not made to be reused. This means that 90% of the sector’s waste is made up of single-use, disposable products, which are typically incinerated. While one obvious option would be sterilisation, the process often uses harmful chemicals and demands high energy use, thus shifting the environmental impact somewhere else, rather than eradicating it. I’ons argues that the situation leaves medical product manufacturers with just
three viable options to tackle sustainability issues. Find out more on page 8. We have only just begun to see the economic and societal changes brought on by the pandemic and the ensuing national lockdowns. This edition’s Consumer Goods focus story – ‘The Pandemic has Increased “Conscious Consumption” Habits’ – saw IE’s Ash Jones talk to Accenture’s Kim De Maeseneer about some of those changes in consumer behaviour. Research by the company has shown that a noticeable shift in consumer priorities has taken place and that throughout the pandemic, consumers became more acutely aware of the environmental and social impact created by the products they buy. According to the research, issues such as food waste, plastic bags and packaging, as well as labelling standards have become far higher priorities. Whilst the trend towards sustainability has been something of a hot topic for a while now, De Maeseneer says that the pandemic brought these issues to the fore and that ever-more-vocal consumers are now expecting more than just low prices. Check out the full article on page 10. The Transport and Logistics focus looks at the way that Predictive Analytics – the use of historical data, algorithms and machine learning to predict the probability of future outcomes - is changing the supply chain sector. Written by Shippeo’s Northern Europe Director, Dennis van Bodegom, ‘How Predictive Analytics is Reshaping Transportation Management’ looks at the ways in which actors along supply chains are benefitting from the technology: in terms of day-to-day operations but also in building growth strategies, reducing expenses, enabling better stock, time and delivery management, and ultimately gaining a competitive advantage as a consequence. Van Bodegom argues that as connectivity increases, and the Internet of Things continues to roll out, Predictive Analytics as a tool is becoming more powerful than ever providing customers with real-time ETAs, and heightened visibility. He goes on to say that the ability to use and effectively incorporate it into planning and execution phases will become a major separator of organisations. The full article n is on Page 12. Industry Europe 3
Editorial The long and winding road
Focus on Sustainability 6
IE talks to ETC’s Lord Adair Turner about the route to net-zero
Let’s talk sustainability in the medical sector George I’ons of Owen Mumford Pharma talks recycling and medical waste
Focus on Consumer Goods 10
The pandemic has increased "Conscious Consumption" habits IE talks to Accenture’s Kim De Maeseneer about changing consumer habits
Focus on Transportation 12
How predictive ªnalytics is reshaping Transportation management Shippeo’s Dennis van Bodegom explains
PA’s effect on the sector
Predictive maintenance of rotating equipment Relayr
Aerospace & Defence 18
Reliable connections H.B. Fuller Chemicals & Biochemicals news
70 A Healing Experience Mölnlycke 74 Simplifying logistics leads to success Scan Global Logistics 76 Healthcare news The latest developments in the sector
Metals & Mining
78 Metals & Mining news The latest developments in the sector 80
Politics & Economics news The latest developments in Politics and Economics
Engineers of productivity Festo Smooth integration GEA Technology & Innovation news The latest developments in the sector
The latest developments in the sector
Ultimate perfection TOS Varnsdorf Construction & Engineering news The latest developments in the sector
Consumer Goods 32 36 40 44 48 51
The latest developments in the sector
82 86 90
The latest developments in the sector
Construction & Engineering 26 30
Energy for life Riello Technology meets tradition LOVATO Electric Energy & Utilities news
Technology & Innovation
Aerospace & Defence news
Chemicals & Biochemicals 20 24
60 64 68
Politics & Economics
Also Featured 14
The latest developments in the sector
Energy & Utilities
Making net-zero possible
Focus on Healthcare 8
The master of fibres Yünsa Consumer Goods news
The goodness of tomatoes CONESA Redefining the concept of packaging DS Smith The natural choice Logoplaste For a greener world Unilever Complete cooling solutions RAAL The nordic glow Lumene
92 96 100 103 106 110 114 117
Safe journey Greenbrier Smooth journey SOR Libchavy Top quality guaranteed Agrikon Kam Logger’s best friend Ponsse The Finnish touch Sisu Axles Staying in the flow Tristone Century of excellence KONČAR Transportation news The latest developments in the sector
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Industry Europe 5
FOCUS ON – SUSTAINABILITY
MAKING NET-ZERO POSSIBLE Industry Europe spoke to the energy transitions commission co-chair, Lord Adair Turner, to find out more about the potentials and the pitfalls of the push to Net-Zero.
ith a light finally appearing at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, the world is starting to turn its attention back to an even bigger existential crisis – the climate emergency. Not that long ago, it was hard to imagine that governments, industries, and citizens worldwide would perform a rapid volte-face and start taking climate change seriously. Nonetheless, it has come to pass. One of the pivotal moments was undoubtedly the Paris Climate Accord, signed in 2015 by 194 states and the European Union. Such a rare showing of international unity sent a powerful message to multinationals and citizens everywhere. And despite a short blip, when former US President Donald Trump withdrew his country’s support – something his successor Joe Biden reversed almost immediately upon taking office – there has been demonstrable action by governments and businesses everywhere to clean up their acts. However, a problem as massive as climate change requires a clear, coordinated approach. In April, the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), a London-based international think tank comprised of leaders from across the energy sector worldwide, produced two reports – one on clean electrification, the other on clean hydrogen. The reports go handin-hand and outline ways in which the energy transition can practically be achieved, whilst expanding the global economy, and keeping the global temperature rise to below 2°C, or ideally 1.5°C, as laid out in the Paris Accord. In a wide-ranging conversation, Industry Europe spoke to ETC co-chair, Lord Adair Turner, to find out more about the potentials and the pitfalls of the push to net-zero. The reports were born out of a previous ETC report published in 2018 called Mission Possible, which focused on decarbonising the ‘harder to abate’ sectors of industry such as petrochemicals, cement, aviation, shipping, and steel. ETC concluded that 6 Industry Europe
one key technology in making the change in those sectors would be hydrogen, which itself could come from electricity. This led to the realisation that more electricity would be needed than previously thought, which ultimately led to last month’s reports. Aimed at investors, policymakers, and private businesses, Turner described the reports’ overriding message to those groups as making them “realise that hydrogen and electricity together is not just part of the story of how we get to the zero-carbon economy, it's 80% of the story. It requires a massive scale to get there, but it's all doable. The technologies are available, but
Leader Event of COP 21/CMP 11 - Paris Climate Change Conference. Image: Flickr
it requires a huge amount of investment and some very determined policies.” The remaining 20%, he said, was comprised of several technologies and largely dependent on the nature of the sector, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and bioenergy. “Sustainable biofuels and CCS may be crucial to decarbonise long-distance aviation. Short distance aviation will be electric or hydrogen-electric hybrid. And I can't see a way to decarbonise cement production without CCS. I think CCS may also play a role in the chemical sector.” Lord Turner also pointed to the problem of methane emissions. While much is known about the “more measurable” issue of CO2
emissions, there is less certainty with methane in terms of how much is leaking out due to fossil fuel production. “We should be really tightening up on the measurement and regulation of methane emissions,” he said. “We should be using satellite infrared, which can see the methane emissions and clusters. We should be regulating the fossil fuel industry very heavily. “And to be blunt, there are good people there, but there are some people who are not so good. We can’t just trust the industry. We need to work with the good guys to help design tight measurement and regulation systems.” He added that although the Trump administration “deliberately took the regulations backwards”, he was heartened to see the new Biden government “playing catchup fast”. Discussing the ongoing problem of deforestation, which is increasing in places like Brazil, driven by rising demand for food and timber, he said it is a “trickier part of the story”. One potential answer could be synthetic meats. “What can we do about [deforestation]? Will we be able to create synthetic meats? Can we persuade people to change their diets? All of which I think is more difficult and uncertain than the energy question. “There is a technology called precision fermentation, and there is a case for longterm techno-optimism there. Every year, it gets 10 to 15% more efficient, unlike cows. My gut feeling is there may be a big breakthrough at some stage.” With so many new technologies being developed at an unprecedented speed, there is cause for techno-optimism. Nonetheless, with changes happening at such a pace, there are also concerns that some sectors of society will be left behind. The obvious example of this is in the jobs market, which combines with concerns, especially amongst older workers, that retraining will not be forthcoming in their cases.
One of the major sectors which is set to be impacted heavily in this regard is auto manufacturing, as well as maintenance and repair. Electric vehicles are much easier to manufacture than combustion engines because they are less complicated to build, contain far fewer moving parts, and are not as susceptible to breaking down. Job losses are also inevitably predicted in the fossil fuels sector. However, this Lord Turner believes can be mitigated by a jobs boom in other areas such as insulating homes, installing heat pumps and energyefficient systems. “There are potential negatives and potential positives. Yes, we will lose jobs in the fossil fuel sector, but at least during the process of installation of wind and solar, there's probably something like 20 million jobs created worldwide.” This is where the government must play a role, he argues. It is down to governments to identify where the increases and the losses will be and to create opportunities for retraining. “We have to identify the positives and negatives within the energy transition, but also realise the challenge of dealing with job losses in some areas, while job creation elsewhere is continually growing.” To illustrate this, he points to the impact that Covid-19 has had on jobs in the bricksand-mortar retail sector. While, according to some estimates, the pandemic will take around 750,000 jobs from traditional retail, it has created far more in warehouses and delivery. Another area, which is often seen as something of an uncomfortable reality for the green transition, is that of natural resources – in particular cobalt and lithium – which are essential for electric vehicle batteries, as well as for permanent magnets in wind turbines and for energy storage. Around 60% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and its extraction has been
linked to child labour and other human rights abuses in what is one of the world’s poorest countries. Similarly, lithium which, while being found in more countries than cobalt including Australia and Portugal, much of the world’s reserves are in South America. The intensive process involves a lot of salt water, which often ends up as waste, damaging local ecosystems. “There are a set of reputational and political risks [in the DRC]. It’s not a totally stable part of the world. Its ability to impose local environmental standards is much less than in other countries. And you have an informal mining sector. “This is why there's been a lot of focus on reducing the amount of cobalt needed in batteries. The amount found in NMC batteries (nickel, manganese, cobalt batteries) has continually gone down. And it is possible to make batteries that don't require any cobalt at all. This is why, looking at the forecasts for increases in the main mineral demands over the next 10 years, people are talking about 10 times as much lithium and nickel, but only twice as much cobalt because there's been a heavy technological focus on it. “How do we minimise the demand? With international standards. The major responsible mining companies have to make sure that they are imposing good labour and environmental standards in anything they do in the DRC. But there is also a technological response to reducing our reliance on cobalt, which we realise is trickiest because of where it's located.” In terms of lithium, he points to the environmental damage caused by extracting the estimated 1 million tonnes per annum required when compared to the impact of mining hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal. “If we manage it well, this will be a far, far, far cleaner system than the one that we're moving away from.”
Lord Turner retains a note of cautious optimism about the mammoth task in hand. To conclude our chat, we turn to the younger generations, many of whom are angry with their parents’ generation and worried about the state of the world being bequeathed to them. Does he have a message for them? “We should have started on this 30 years ago,” he says with an air of resignation. “If we had, we’d already be using electric vehicles. There were deniers, there was short-termism, there were vested interests. The inability of humans to respond until very late in the day. I think young people can legitimately say to the previous generation, “Thanks. You've given us a bit of a problem here. Thanks. But no thanks”. “We need to move as fast as possible. I think we can get to net-zero by 2050. I don't think we can do it by 2030. I think it is close to impossible,” he said, adding that some countries should go faster. The adoption of the technologies he mentioned are an important part of that, he said, along with an understanding that there is a responsibility among consumers in the developed world to “subsidise actions which put an end to deforestation and drive reforestation”. “In the UK, for example, we have a plan to get to net-zero by 2050. But in addition, we are responsible, through our consumption, for some emissions elsewhere in the world. And our consumption emissions are higher than our production emissions. And we have been responsible for a lot of emissions in the past. And in relation to those consumption emissions and the legacy emissions, I think that is where we should step up to support the finance flows required for these actions.” So it’s not too late? “Look, it would’ve been better to start earlier, but we can go pretty fast now.” n Industry Europe 7
FOCUS ON – HEALTHCARE
LET’S TALK SUSTAINABILITY & SINGLE-USE IN THE PHARMA & MEDICAL SECTORS The World Bank estimates that the healthcare sector makes up approximately 5% of global carbon emissions – to which the European Union contributes significantly. In recent years, however, the sector has witnessed a tangible shift in mentality when it comes to environmental sustainability.
regulators, hospital systems, governments and consumers increasingly demand proof of environmental credentials, sustainability has quickly become an essential part of the medical device manufacturer’s corporate agenda. When it comes to meeting climate objectives, the healthcare sector faces a unique challenge that other sectors do not: manufacturers must reconcile a reduction in waste and disposables with the need to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and patients alike. This balancing act became particularly evident with the onset of the global pandemic and the ensuing need for more personal protective equipment (PPE). Today, as the vaccine rollout gathers pace, vaccination material such as glass vials and syringes are further contributing to the 8 Industry Europe
George I’ons is Head of Product Strategy and Insights at Owen Mumford Pharmaceutical Services.
growing amount of medical waste. While we know that single-use plastics are harmful to the planet, these medical products and devices are designed in accordance with regulations that specifically discourage reuse for infection-control reasons. As a result, 90% of medical device waste is made up of disposable, one-timeuse products or components.
What Happens to These Single-Use Products? In Europe, medical devices are typically disposed of via incineration which releases nitrous oxide and well-known carcinogens, though these are controlled via strict emission limits. Alternative solutions include sterilisation, but this does not necessarily curb environmental
The Manufacturing Process Up Close Manufacturers can also minimise their carbon footprint by evaluating the energy efficiency of their plants and ensuring that all energy comes from clean renewable sources. Reducing water use, optimising logistics and reducing their use of polluting chemicals can make a difference to manufacturers’ overall carbon output. This is an attractive route for any business given the energy savings that trickle down from implementing such changes. New generation manufacturing technology can also help to reduce energy consumption by streamlining processes and the use of resources. These productivity gains and energy savings can contribute towards financing the whole sustainability programme, or even making the investment cost neutral. impact given that sterilisation often deploys harmful chemicals such as glutaraldehyde or ethylene oxide, and demands high energy volumes. This leaves manufacturers with three viable routes to tackle the sustainability issue: choosing recyclable plastics, optimising manufacturing processes, and rethinking product design. George I’ons, Head of Product Strategy and Insights, Owen Mumford Pharmaceutical ServicesThe author George I’ons is Head of Product Strategy and Insights at Owen Mumford Pharmaceutical Services.
Careful Consideration of Materials Safely reusing the device itself may not be feasible, especially as this option comes with additional regulatory requirements under the EU Medical Device Regulation. However, it may be possible to reprocess the materials in the device. Some materials, like PVC for example, can be recycled several times without losing their critical properties. There is scope to make greater use of more easily recyclable plastics, such as renewable polyethylene (PR) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). However, to ensure that these products are then recycled, closed-loop systems must be put in place to allow waste materials from hospitals and patients to be brought back into the recycling process.
A Closer Look At Product Design Sustainability should be a priority at the very beginning of a product’s life cycle, right from concept development. For instance, reducing the number of components at the device design stage can both simplify the manufacturing process and reduce waste and transport impact. Likewise, products with minimal components that are easy to disassemble will also facilitate recycling. By selecting more environmentally friendly materials, toxic air emissions during disposal or incineration can also be minimised while cutting waste processing costs. It is likely that parenteral or other invasive products will continue to include a disposable component in order to meet safety and hygiene regulations. However, factoring in sustainability considerations when designing devices, planning manufacturing processes, and assessing end-of-life recycling options could play a big part in making the n healthcare industry more sustainable. Read Owen Mumford Pharmaceutical Services’ report on this topic – ‘Sustaining the Pace: Three perspectives on how sustainability is being achieved in the medical device market’. www.ompharmaservices.com Industry Europe 9
FOCUS ON – CONSUMER GOODS
THE PANDEMIC HAS INCREASED
"CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION" HABITS "Conscious consumption" habits - being more acutely aware of the environmental and economic impacts of the goods and services you use - have risen sharply throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
% of consumers have reported shifting their priorities to tackling food waste and two-thirds believe governments should introduce legislation that promotes this, such as charging for plastic bags or standards for labels, according to global data gathered by consultation firm Accenture. The firm claims around half of the respondents did not truly know which brands operated using more sustainable methods and those that did not. 69% answered that it should be in the consumer company's best interest to relay this information in a bid towards transparency. “The pandemic is making consumers think more about the impact their purchasing decisions are having on the environment and society at large,” said Oliver Wright, senior managing director and global lead of Accenture’s consumer goods industry group. "Consumers’ focus on areas like the provenance of ingredients and raw materials, working practices, the environmental impact of finished products and packaging, 10 Industry Europe
calls for companies to ensure the agility and capability to be relevant to consumers and customers," he added. Half of consumers will also look to shop more health-consciously, the research claims, following a health kick craze that swept Britain during the early months of the pandemic. Initial research found that roughly 45% of respondents also committed to making more sustainable choices in their shopping, however, updated statistics place this number closer to 66% as the new year rolled around. "This is a trend that was very much in place before the pandemic," according to Kim De Maeseneer, the European head of Accenture's consumer goods division in an interview with Industry Europe, adding there were metrics to suggests these habits are here to stay. "What has happened is that this has put the trend of consumer sustainability and conscious consumption on steroids. The effects - the silver lining - of the pandemic
and its effects on this industry are completely unforeseen," she added. De Maeseneer said that effects that were years in the making were compressed into a matter of weeks and months and her team expect the trend of conscious consumption to outlast the pandemic. Since the pandemic began, news outlets have been posting anecdotal testimonies on public awareness of consumer consciousness, with many claiming it was a temporary fad. NGO OnePlanet claims the pandemic has influenced trends that match some of the data gathered. Based on data gathered in July last year, as many as 19 million Britons were eating healthier as a result of the pandemic. There are also concerns over company transparency regarding what companies put into their products and how they are sourced. This also appears to have been something many companies, particularly within consumer goods have already begun making strides in improves sustainability across their supply chains.
"Sustainability" has become something of a hot topic over the past 18 months, with many industries, from tech to energy, shifting towards more economically viable models. This can be seen through greater pushes for equality or more modern taken on corporate human rights crises. Both the semiconductor shortage and the green transition have highlighted how unsustainable some old business models can be. However, there are concerns from critics who state many companies are doing the bare minimum for the sake of optics or spreading misinformation about their sustainability footprints, also known as "greenwashing." De Maeseneer said: "There appears to be a trend, particularly in the consumer goods industry of pushing towards greater sustainability and the pandemic has shown that this cannot be ignored. "All that matters now is for companies, in the end, is for consumer needs and nothing more. We have seen that consumers have become very vocal with what they expect and this push for transparency has become a real mantra for the industry, and, also something of a PR move." She added much of this innovation has been spurred by startups, owing to it being "much easier and less cost-intensive" to be conscious and sustainable in terms of their production processes, claiming the large companies "will have to follow." She defined current sustainability goals as emissions cuts, the push towards the circular economy - recycling and packaging, water waste and management, and ingredient sourcing - and pushing towards trackand-tracing to increase user functionality. "Increasing sustainability throughout the whole supply chain ecosystem is important," she added. "Streamlining processes is important at every step, from the farmer to the consumer and we're seeing pushes towards these trends for the retail companies, the consumer goods companies, the logistics companies - we're really seeing a need to act across these four dimensions." Interconnectivity is becoming a large part of ensuring supply chain resilience. The different companies involved with the value chain are beginning to cooperate more and this could stand to alter and affect every aspect of the supply chain, Accenture warns. Companies are under pressure to deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Develop-
ment Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and mitigate future economic shocks. This includes reducing operational environmental footprints, increasing water recycling and grey water utilisation and the shift towards net-zero goals. The report suggests a key part in helping consumers to reduce waste and become more sustainable could be through education. "The more the consumer gets educated, the more outspoken the consumer becomes, and the more the pressure rises on every area of the value chain," De Maeseneer said. De Maeseneer is particularly focused on the aspects of labelling standards in the consumer goods industry and sees this as an essential part of educating the public on topics of conscious consumption. "A decade ago it would be difficult to find relevant information on labels, such as ingredients or any potential intolerances because products were not clearly labelled," she added. The legal frameworks around food packaging are a relatively new concept. While some form of labelling regulation has been in place in the EU since at least 1992, new laws came into effect in 2011. These also currently still affect the UK, with new legislation due to come into effect in late 2022. Research suggests that people will be more on the lookout for ways to be informed about the ethical practices and standards of companies. De Maeseneer said: "Even something simple, such as a vegan logo or a traffic light simple will make it easier for consumers to make informed decisions and there have been a number of initiatives in this regard... Standards need to be in place." The chocolate industry has been embroiled in a number of ethical issues, particularly regarding human rights violations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Outside of sourcing, the traceability of the ingredients has always been a contentious topic and different schemes, such as Fair Trade, have propped up in the last few decades in order to increase the industry's sustainability footprint. Cholocate industry lobby group Make Chocolate Fair launched a campaign to the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO) in 2015 to demand universal standards in the industry in a bid to reduce the number of concerns with the industry,
Kim De Maeseneer, the European head of Accenture's consumer goods division. Credit: Accenture
from unsustainable farming methods to inhumane working conditions. However, a 2019 study by Green America found many industry players faltered on many fronts for improving conditions and working towards sustainability targets. De Maeseneer also referred to similar issues facing alcohol production, particularly regarding traceability and the fair treatment of farmers. Issues such as ensuring ingredients like water and sugar are ethically sourced are areas in which companies may look to increase transparency, the research claims. Many of these sectors are facing the same kind of scrutiny the plastics industry has been under for decades. Technology remains a constant barrier for issues of true ethical transparency. De Maesseneer concluded: "The requirements in terms of changing the manufacturing facilities are really intensive and so the trend you see now is pushing towards digital manufacturing - creating a digital twin of your manufacturing processes which all you to measure and correct and predict and ultimately change your process. "There has been a push towards investing in these kinds of technologies across many industrial sectors in order to deliver on the sustainability targets demanded by the wider world... It would be completely expected if there was a boom in this area due to the increased demand for these kinds of technologies and the cheaper and more widely available this technology becomes, the faster change will happen." n Industry Europe 11
FOCUS ON – TRASPORTATION Photo: Krone
HOW PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS IS RESHAPING TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT Business success tends to require a good understanding of numbers, and this has only become more important in the age of big data. New technologies have made it possible for us to collect vast amounts of information, but the real benefit derives from what it’s used for. The author, Dennis van Bodegom is Director of Northern Europe at Shippeo.
redictive analytics is described as “the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data”, where the end goal is not only to understand what has happened but to provide the best assessment of what is going to happen in the future. This is done by leveraging science and analytical trends to create algorithms and formulas, which are fed market insights, economic data and other relevant data and 12 Industry Europe
trends to produce accurate predictions useful for decision making and planning.
Why the use of predictive analytics is growing Organisations are using predictive analytics more and more to help overcome difficult challenges and make new opportunities possible. Common uses include reducing risk and improving operations, detecting fraud, and optimising marketing campaigns.
By identifying patterns and preparing for the likelihood of events to come, companies can run their day-to-day operations much more smoothly. Predictive analytics are being more frequently used across all business functions, in different ways, to help anticipate events, avoid risks and create new solutions. This can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. For the manufacturing and automotive sectors, predictive analytics are used to
identify factors leading to reduced quality and production failures, as well as to optimise parts, service resources and distribution. In the energy industry, they help to predict equipment failures and future resource needs, mitigating safety and reliability risks, or improving overall performance. Retailers are using predictive analytics for merchandise planning and price optimisation, to analyse the effectiveness of promotional events, and to determine which offers are most appropriate for consumers.
Predictive analysis in the supply chain When it comes to the supply chain sector, predictive analytics benefits organisations both in the day-to-day execution of operations and in building tactical and strategic programmes to achieve growth and revenue targets. By forecasting future supply chain and logistical events, they can gain a competitive advantage and reduce expenses associated with stocking inaccuracies and poor management of goods, deliveries and time. In transportation, predictive analytics aid in decision making and bring automation to supply chain processes. Supply chains are dynamic, constantly evolving in response to market demand, competitive pressures and supply constraints. Sometimes growth opportunities are missed or costs increased in response to unforeseen challenges or disruptions. The ability to predict these could help many organisations save money and be more efficient and productive by being able to “skate to where the puck is going to be rather than to where it is”. Observing historical patterns and applying instincts are no longer enough when competing in our increasingly digitalised world.
The ability to forecast accurately is what separates organisations. For this reason, the use of accurate and timely data and analytics is now deeply incorporated into the planning and execution phases of any supply chain. And as supply chains become increasingly filled with connected sensors and IoT technologies, predictive analytics is becoming more powerful than ever before.
Moving from reactive to predictive supply chain transportation An end-to-end transportation visibility platform’s primary role is to predict an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). Obtaining an ETA for a shipment in transit has a wide range of benefits. Giving advance notice of delays allows for reactive measures to be taken, mitigating negative customer impacts, which in turn leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. These benefits summarise the way in which visibility of ETAs unlocks greater value from a supply chain, shifting its capabilities from ‘reactive’ to ‘predictive’. And sharing ETAs with customers provides them with visibility of their shipment while helping shippers to manage expectations, ensuring deliveries are on time, avoiding production line halts or stocks outs.
Forging the future of trailer transport with real-time data Take Krone, for example. The company is one of Europe’s largest trailer manufacturers, generating €1.9 billion in sales annually, providing transportation vehicles and equipment in 15 key markets throughout Europe. Facing growing demand for trailers with built-in ETA prediction capabilities to manage transportation more effectively, Krone
wanted to add more world-class connected services to their portfolio to better serve shippers’ evolving digital requirements and help the company achieve its mission to offer the most complete connected trailer service within the Logistics 4.0 world. As a first step towards Krone’s ambition of leading the market on a new trailer-asa-service (TaaS) business model, Krone embarked on a global strategic partnership with Shippeo to collaborate on real-time data-integrated services for customers using their own telematics solution. This new collaboration saw Krone become the first trailer manufacturer to provide real-time ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) predictions within their own trailer management solution, Krone Telematics. Powered by Shippeo’s proprietary machine learning algorithm, which references over 200 data parameters, the ETA service for shipments and deliveries now available for these customers is the most accurate and reliable on the market. Supply chain visibility enables companies to make more accurate forecasts based on shared data and insights. Real-time access to an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA) helps to streamline and optimise operations. The resulting transparency increases network stability, shortens the reaction time needed to take preventative action and creates cross-functional cost efficiencies – all vital components when it comes to saving costs and becoming more competitive. n The author, Dennis van Bodegom is Director of Northern Europe at Shippeo. Visit: www.shippeo.com Industry Europe 13
NEW PERSPECTIVES: PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE OF ROTATING EQUIPMENT R
otating equipment is central to industrial production and manufacturing. That’s why reliability is essential. To ensure reliability, operators of rotating equipment seek to keep factors like alignment and balance at peak potential. But constant stress on machinery components poses the continual threat of failure and unwanted downtime. Considering the variety of pressure points and torsional stress points at every connection in a piece of rotating equipment, it comes as little surprise that proper maintenance is priority number one to keeping runtimes steady and uninterrupted. With high pressure and intense rotational power at the core of these technologies, stress points are focused on the seals, belts, brakes, and bearings that connect the moving parts of a rotating machinery asset.
The Status Quo In general, there are three main strategies or philosophies about maintaining equipment assets: reactive, preventative, and predictive. Reactive maintenance, the earliest and most basic form, is the ‘strategy of reaction’ or deciding to repair or replace a part only after it has broken or become worn down to the point of failure. Unfortunately, this strategy often leads to service providers focusing on fixing symptoms rather than addressing the core problem itself. This can mean that a part is repeatedly replaced or repaired after being 14 Industry Europe
worn down when the root cause could have been identified and managed before the endless repair loop started. Preventive maintenance (sometimes called ‘planned maintenance’) describes the strategy of implementing scheduled service tasks over a defined period while the equipment is still in regular operation to avoid unexpected part breakdowns (and their extra costs) over the lifetime of a piece of equipment. Equipment assets are temporarily taken offline at predefined time intervals where predefined maintenance and replacement tasks are carried out. Studies show that preventive strategies can provide 12-18% cost savings on average compared to reactive strategies.
The Way Ahead Is preventive maintenance the most efficient approach to keep rotating equipment at peak performance? Measurements of alignment, balance, vibration, lubrication, temperature, and shock are among the most important numbers to monitor to prevent unnecessary breakdowns. Sensors could be used along the production chain to monitor these numbers. The more sophisticated the system, the earlier that potential problem areas can be isolated and corrected before more costly damage occurs. The next generation of condition monitoring goes beyond ‘preventing’ failures to ‘predicting’ failures. It takes advantage of modern
sensor technology combined with artificial intelligence to offer the user unprecedented levels of oversight and predictive analysis. Predictive maintenance is the newest iteration of maintenance strategy, given its reliance on digital technology and IIoT implementation. It is probably also the fast-growing mode of maintenance strategy, taking into consideration its long-term financial benefits. By actively monitoring equipment performance with comparative analytics, industrial companies can make predictions about when and where an asset will fail, thus allowing service professionals to take steps to correct an issue before it reaches the point of failure. Predictive maintenance strategies, when properly implemented, are superior to both reactive and preventive strategies in that equipment is neither run to failure (as in the former) nor are parts unnecessarily replaced (as in the latter). Ideally, an innovative predictive maintenance implementation will allow companies to make maintenance operations at the opportune time, not too early (thus wasting parts) or too late (missing root causes). Studies have shown average cost savings of 8-12% in
predictive strategies compared to preventive ones. However, there is plenty of evidence that the upside advantages are even greater when considered over the entire lifecycle of a piece of equipment.
Getting to the Root Early warning systems are essential in rotating equipment to escape cascading impairment chains that lead to exponential damage, repair costs and, ultimately, failure. Maximizing efficiencies while minimizing downtimes is the name of the game. Identifying mechanical faults is a constant challenge for operators of rotating machinery such as engines, motors, turbines, pumps, conveyors, compressors, gearboxes and the like. Most faults are detectable, experts say, though the appropriate sensor technology and IIoT interface is not always installed. Root causes of failure can be identified with sufficiently advanced condition monitoring, whether they be factors of misalignment, unbalance, under lubrication, looseness, etc. Having the right condition monitoring system in place with the right digital solution (AI) gives operators the tools they need to identify the root causes of mechanical failure and boost reliability to its highest possible level. Furthermore, early warning with condition monitoring and eliminating root causes can ensure users of rotational equipment the longest possible life and value on their initial investment (ROI). A new white paper from relayr presents the benefits of predictive maintenance solutions when combined with digital service-first business models. n
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New developments in the Aerospace & Defence
United Wants To Revive Supersonic Aviation With Boom Supersonic Deal by Steven Gislam
nited Airlines has signed a deal with Denverbased start-up Boom Supersonic with which it aims to revive the era of supersonic commercial aviation nearly 20 years after it ended with Concorde's retirement. The US carrier has made an order from Boom for 15 aircraft able to fly faster than the speed of sound with the aim of beginning commercial flights by 2029. The agreement is still conditional on "safety, operating and sustainability requirements," United said. The so-called Overture aircraft, if developed successfully, will be able to fly at Mach 1.7 - 1.7 times the speed of sound - cutting flight times by as much as half. A trip from San Francisco to Tokyo could be made in just six hours. The two companies say that Overture will also have a 65 to 88 passenger capacity and a range
of 4,250 nautical miles, as well as the capability to use sustainable aviation fuel. United aims for the first flight to be made in 2026 with passengers coming on board in 2029. The deal also allows for the option to purchase a further 35 aircraft. Full terms of the agreement were not disclosed, though it is being seen as a vote of confidence in Boom, which was set up in 2014 and raised more than $270 million (€221.6 million) in investment. While the company has yet to build an aircraft that has flown, it says that the XB-1 - a prototype aircraft - will fly later this year or early 2022. Several challenges still face the start-up such as securing Federal Aviation Administration approval in the US. Boom says it is aiming for Overture to be "75% less expensive than Concorde for airlines to operate and profitable for airlines at fares similar to business class."
Airbus & Air France To Stand Trial Over Fatal 2009 Crash by Steven Gislam
Source: Agência Brasil
irbus and Air France are to stand trial over a 2009 air crash that killed all 228 people on board, following a decision by a French appeals court to overturn a previous decision not to press ahead with charges. The frigate Constituição arrives at the Port of Recife, transporting wreckage of the Air France Airbus A330 that was involved in an accident on 31 May 2009. Source: Agência Brasil, CC BY 3.0 BR On June 1, 2009, Air France flight 447, which was powered by a twin-engined Airbus A330, crashed into the Atlantic whilst en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, after stalling during a thunderstorm. All 216 passengers and 12 crew members were killed, making the incident Air France's deadliest crash. 18 Industry Europe
Last week, French appeals court judges said that the two companies should stand trial for "involuntary manslaughter", according to a court spokesperson. No date has been set for the trial yet. In 2011, both companies were put under formal investigation for the same charge. The court decision overturns a previous ruling, in 2019, against a trial, which judges at the time blamed on human error, saying "accident is evidently due to a conjunction of elements that had never occurred before, and thus highlighted dangers that could not have been perceived before this accident." In 2019, prosecutors recommended that only Air France be put on trial. Danièle Lamy, President of Entraide et Solidarité AF447, the primary organisation for the victims' relatives, said: "It is an immense satisfaction to have the feeling of having finally been heard by the courts." "We regret, however, that it took twelve long years to get there," she added. Both companies said that they would appeal last week's ruling. Air France, which is part of group Air FranceKLM and 28% owned by the French state, said
Supersonic commercial flights ended in 2003 when Concorde was retired. In July 2000, a Concorde caught fire not long after taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, killing 113 people and leading to the planes being grounded for nearly a year. The final straw for supersonic aviation came the following year with the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and the ensuing slump in passenger travel leading Air France and British Airways to close it down. Visit: boomsupersonic.com
Photo: Boom Supersonic
in a statement that it had "taken note of the decision" and that it "maintains that it did not commit any criminal fault in this accident, tragic as it was". Airbus, one of the world's largest aircraft manufacturers, said: "The court decision that has been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation that led to the dismissal of the case." The long-running case centres around the way in which the Air France pilots responded after losing speed readings when the pitot probes - sensors sitting outside the body of the plane - became blocked with ice, meaning the autopilot was switched off and the pilots took control manually. Prosecutors believe Air France should be held responsible for the inadequate training of its pilots, and that Airbus had "underestimated the seriousness of the failures" of the pitot probes, according to reports in Reuters. A civil investigation conducted in 2012 by French air accident investigation office BEA emphasised the pitot probes' failure, the "crew’s failure to diagnose the stall situation and consequently a lack of inputs that would have made it possible to recover from it", cockpit problems and inadequate pilot training.
AEROSPACE & DEFENCE NEWS
INDUSTRYNEWS Virgin Galactic Performs First Manned Test Flight by Ash Jones
irgin Galactic, the spaceflight wing of UK billionaire Sir Richard Branson's company, completed the first of three key manned test flights on May 22 as it seeks to enter the commercial spaceflight market. It marks the culmination of 16 years of preparation, with Galactic having stocked tickets for commercial spaceflight since at least 2005. The news comes nearly three weeks after Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin announced an auction for a single seat for a maiden voyage on June 20. The VSS Unity took off from its base in New Mexico and flew 88.5 km (55 miles) to the edge of space before returning to Earth. The company reports 600 people have bought tickets so far since they first went on sale 16 years ago with a number of the rich and famous including musicians and movie stars - awaiting their voyage. The Unity was piloted by CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay, while Kelly Latimer and Michael Masucci piloted the carrier craft that aided liftoff. This marked the third time the company, which was founded in 2004, performed a flight into space. Sir Richard Tweeted: "Delighted to be on the flightline to watch VirginGalactic’s first human spaceflight from the majestic Spaceport America." This comes at a crucial time for Branson, forming part of what has been referred to as the "billionaire space race," seeing Virgin, Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX vying to be the first to capitalise on the commercial spaceflight craze. The company fulfilled a number of test objectives during this flight, including research experiments as part of NASA's Flight Opportunities programme, collected data for verification reports needed for the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) spacecraft operators licence and tested and upgraded the crafts horizontal stabilisers. "We will immediately begin processing the data gained from this successful test flight, and we look forward to sharing news on our next planned milestone,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier. "Space
Credit: Virgin Galactic via Twitter
travel is a bold and adventurous endeavour, and I am incredibly proud of our talented team for making the dream of private space travel a reality. “Today’s flight showcased the inherent elegance and safety of our spaceflight system while marking a major step forward for both Virgin Galactic and human spaceflight in New Mexico," he added. To celebrate the first test flight, New Mexico's flag was displayed on the exterior of the ship. It marks fifteen years since the New Mexico spaceport was founded to achieve this very goal, Branson said. Branson, who witnessed the flight from the ground, added this marks "an important milestone for both Virgin Galactic and New Mexico," adding that he was grateful for the "support from the people of New Mexico" which he claims made the flight possible. New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham said the flight marks New Mexico's "scientific legacy." She added: "We are on the cutting edge, the forefront of innovation, and I plan to do everything in my power to keep us there, taking full advantage of our robust economic and scientific potential." The next test flight will see four Virgin Galactic employees join the pilots in the test flight. The following flight will see Branson himself make the trip in order to ensure the company is ready to operate commercial flights. For more, visit: www.virgingalactic.com
NASA & California Partner On Methane-Mapping Satellite Project
by Steven Gislam
he US State of California has partnered with NASA in a $100 million (€83 million) project aiming to use satellites to pinpoint large greenhouse gas emissions from individual sources such as oil refineries and power plants. The partnership, which also includes satellite company Planet, and four other institutions will launch its first two satellites in 2023. The project could help in putting further pressure on heavy polluting industries, which are already being targeted by investors and environmental groups, to clean up their emissions. Using satellite technology to identify large sources of methane - which is in the short term up to 80 times more potent than CO2 - is
becoming more common. Scientists say that identifying them is crucial to making the necessary emissions cuts. The project is operating as part of the Carbon Mapper non-profit organisation, which is funded by philanthropic organisations including former New York mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg. The satellites will utilise Nasa-develop technology which for the first time has the scale and accuracy to find and measure emissions at individual facilities. Other satellite technology is currently being used to map and monitor greenhouse gas emissions over larger geographical areas. The emissions data will be shared publicly but companies can subscribe to get early access allow-
ing them to make changes quickly, if necessary. Carbon Mapper CEO Riley Duren said the project will be "transformational", adding that there was "significant interest in using this type of technology" to locate emissions leaks. The use of satellites has grown from prior methane-tracking surveys that used planes to identify methane "super-emitters" in agriculture and the oil and gas and waste sectors particularly.
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RELIABLE CONNECTIONS H.B. Fuller adhesives are an integral part of nearly every kind of finished good in the marketplace – from electronic devices and building materials to packaging and filters and many others. With the increasing focus on sustainability and environmental protection, the company is at the forefront of innovative solutions that prolong product life with a limited environmental footprint. Romana Moares reports.
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CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS
ince H.B. Fuller’s beginnings as a one-man paste shop in 1887, the business has maintained a tradition of developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of a wide range of customers across many industry sectors. H.B. Fuller’s expertise is about more than understanding adhesives. With 55 manufacturing sites in 42 countries, it continually advances scientific and technical innovations. Around the world, the company’s Technology Centers of Excellence are connecting adhesive technology and market experts to its customers’ product design and development experts. The aim is to find new ways to bond complex substrates that result in lighter, faster, safer, smarter and less expensive consumer and durable goods.
Proven resilience Last year, the company took an active approach to participating in the effort to ease the Covid-19 pandemic, by developing special adhesives to be used in the pharmaceutical industry.
As proper packaging is essential to securely and reliably preserve and transport pharmaceutical products, including vaccines and medication, adhesives play a key role in packaging performance, especially in the face of strict storage requirements and the need to set up ultra-low-temperature freezers at vaccination centres. With Advantra 9280 EU and Advantra BOLD™ 9480, H.B. Fuller offers readily available extreme cold-resistant adhesive grades. These have been designed for tough surfaces and harsh conditions such as high-speed pharmaceutical packaging lines without counterpressure. Both solutions are commercially available in Europe, India, Middle East, and Africa, with equivalent performance grades available globally. In general, in 2020 the company demonstrated the resilience of its business strategy. Jim Owens, H.B. Fuller President and CEO affirmed that the company exited the unprecedented year much stronger. “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, adhesives have proven their enduring importance in the supply chain for essential goods around the world. As the leader in adhesive innovation for hygiene, health,
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consumer products and advanced adhesive applications, H.B. Fuller is well positioned to continue to create value for shareholders in 2021 and beyond.”
Minimising environmental footprint The pandemic has not been the only issue that has been a concern for the company in recent months. The increasing environmental awareness of consumers, strict legislation, and the move towards a circular economy is significantly affecting both markets and trade. In line with these developments, the company has mobilised its research capability to come up with several new products.
February 2021 saw the launch of a new generation of highperformance adhesives to create consumer-safe, liquid-resistant paper straws designed for fast-moving machines and improved sustainability. This technology offers paper straw producers superior performance in terms of consistent, easy machinability, cleanability, and overall productivity in response to the increased demand for safe and sustainable paper straws. The Swift tak 5730 water-based adhesive offers paper straw producers superior performance in terms of consistent, easy machinability, cleanability, and overall productivity in response to the increased demand for safe and sustainable paper straws. This new generation of plasticizer free, three-hour liquid resistant adhesive, which exceeds the liquid resistance market requirement for cold beverages, enables a high-quality durable straw and reduces operational downtime. Another innovation was introduced for packaging materials, a sector that has become of prominent importance as a result of the steep growth of e-commerce during the pandemic. In April, H.B. Fuller announced the launch of game-changing adhesives for flexible packaging under its worldwide renowned Flextra Evolution brand, addressing the topics of recyclability and compostability. In flexible packaging, the adhesive holds the whole structure together and, to make the whole package compostable, the adhesive must also be compostable.
Competing in a changing world According to the company, these new solutions have similar performance to conventional multi-layer packaging adhesives, show great printability and appearance, and work seamlessly with 22 Industry Europe
CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS
standard equipment. Most importantly, in industrial composting facilities, the adhesives decompose with no toxic residue, microplastics, or other pollutants. Jim Owens affirmed that in 2021, the company will focus on continuing to grow its business profitably by innovating and supporting its customers’ success in the current, high-demand and supplyconstrained environment. He further pointed out that leveraging the momentum that the company created throughout 2020, the H.B. Fuller team delivered exceptional financial performance of 30% growth in EBITDA in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
“We have done a remarkable job in supporting customers through effective sourcing strategies and supply chain management. In the second quarter of 2021, we have implemented significant price adjustments which will enable us to continue to seamlessly serve our customers in the coming months.” “It is clear that our diversified business model, coupled with a global focus on operational agility and market-driven innovation, are competitive advantages for H.B. Fuller in the adhesives industry, n especially in a changing world.”
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New developments in the Chemicals & Biochemicals
Prices Of Recycled Plastic At "Historic Highs", Says Industry Group by Steven Gislam
lobal prices of recycled plastics have risen to "historically high" levels, according to recycling industry federation, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR). The Brussels-based group, which represents over 760 companies and 37 national associations across 72 countries worldwide, said that the rising prices are the result of new challenges in 2021 including trade uncertainties created by amendments to the new Basel Convention in January and sky-high shipping and freight costs. Henk Alssema, chairman of the BIR plastics committee, said: "This has produced a run on raw materials, creating an imbalance between supply and demand. Experts are already talking in terms of a commodity ‘super-cycle', which means a long period of rising prices for raw materials. The previous super-cycle started nearly 20 years ago and lasted around 10 years. He added that this time last year, plastic recyclers were facing poor sales and large stockpiles, with many now having completely sold out. "The upward trend in prices began this year and has continued to historically high levels," said Alssema, who is also Chairman of Dutch recycling company VITA Plastics. He said that what was required in order to meet the new demand, is a focus on improvements in separation technology and on easier to recycle materials. However, he also gave a warning in relation to the challenges
posed by the circular economy, saying that there were some concerns within the sector that there may not be enough material in the future. Anticipated regulations mandating the use of recycled plastics in new products would lead to a further increase in demand, which could delay the supply of recycled materials to the plastics processing industry. "We can state unequivocally that there is an extremely fragile balance in the transition to a circular economy. Yet we all know that an extremely limited percentage of plastic is recycled around the world and that there is much more plastic waste available than the amounts currently recycled by our industry. "The quality of the plastic waste now going to incineration or to landfill will have to improve dramatically in order to supply the industry with raw materials that fit a circular model." He said that cooperation with the packaging industry was now "extremely important" in terms of sharing knowledge to ensure a larger percentage of recycled materials. "Fortunately, we are moving in the right direction," he added. Hank Alssema will be chairing an upcoming interactive discussion looking further into the issue at the BIR World Recycling Convention & Exhibition along with a number of Plastics Committee members and guest speaker Eelco Smit, who is Senior Director at the Philips Group Sustainability team. Visit: www.bir.org
Open Letter Calls For G7 Summit To Tackle Plastic Pollution by Ash Jones
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. 24 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. Credit: Aryfahmed
CHEMICALS & BIOCHEMICALS NEWS
EU Outlines Future Chemicals Strategy by Steven Gislam T
he EU Council set out its long-term aims for EU chemicals policy earlier this week, which it says will provide a "toxic-free environment" for humans and the planet, as well as "a more competitive chemicals industry". In its conclusions, the Council asked the Commission to implement the actions laid down in the strategy, including targeted amendments to streamline EU chemicals legislation, substituting and minimising substances of concern, and phasing out the most harmful chemicals for non-essential societal uses. The strategy specifically targets the most harmful chemicals contained in some consumer products such as cosmetics, toys, detergents, childcare items, furniture, textiles
or materials that come in contact with food. It is looking to phase these out except in situations where they are deemed essential for health, safety or the functioning of society, or if no alternative is available. The strategy also aims to phase-out hazardous chemicals that affect vulnerable groups.
Overall, all chemicals should be used more sustainably and safely. This new chemical strategy marks a shift in focus for the bloc, towards a "safe and sustainable-by-design" approach. Member states support this life-cycle approach that takes into account the toxicity of chemicals at all stages of their existence - from manufacture to use, recycling and disposal. The purpose is to prevent hazardous chemicals from entering products already at the design phase. This approach also aims to boost innovation and sustainability in the chemicals sector. The Council endorses the EU taking a leading role at the global stage, by promoting its rules on chemicals as the golden standard, as well as ensuring that the EU has secured access to chemicals that are critical for health and the functioning of society.
EU Court Uphold Bayer Pesticide Ban Linked To Killing Bees by Ash Jones
he EU's top court on Thursday upheld the bloc's ban on three Bayer insecticides linked with killing bees, preventing their use on certain crops. Bayer launched an appeal on the original 2018 ruling, which the EU Court of Appeals dismissed. The company has recently auctioned off its pest control unit following the slew of lawsuits after its infamous glyphosate weedkiller Roundup was linked with cancer. The company inherited thousands of court cases after buying Roundup's owner Monsanto and is attempting to cut its debt, which may reportedly fetch up to a staggering €2 billion. The 2018 ruling covers three Bayer products: imidacloprid, developed by Bayer CropScience; clothianidin, developed by Takeda Chemical Industries; and thiamethoxam, developed by Syngenta. The bloc claims these products stand to cause harm to Europe's honeybee population. The EU Court dismissed the claim after ruling there were no legal errors in the Commission's decision to impose tighter restrictions on the substance's use. The court ruled the Commission is “is entitled to consider that a risk to the colonies could not be ruled out scientific uncertainty at this stage as to the rate of mortality of individual bees.” Bayer has stated it supports the 2018 ruling, and that it "stands by the safety of its products" despite them "being approved by multiple regulators." However, Bayer appears to be disappointed with the new ruling, claiming there is little scientific backing for it. A spokesperson for the company confirmed this. "The verdict seems to allow the Commission almost carte blanche to review existing approvals upon the slightest evidence, which need not even be new scientific data," they said in an emailed statement. The use of neonicotinoids was restricted by the Commission in 2013, meaning they could no longer be used on plant crops such as maize. In
2018, EU countries voted to extend this ban to apply everywhere, except for greenhouses. The Commission claims the products causes the entire plant to become toxic to bees. Many studies seem to support this conclusion, although many also point out the evidence to be conflicting. France partially uplifted the ban for seed coatings until 2023 after suffering losses from beet yellow virus by insects that neonicotinoids can help control. Other emergency authorisations have been granted by the EU since the 2013 ban for the use of neonicotinoids in certain situations. Visit: www.bayer.com
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ULTIMATE PERFECTION A combination of high performance, progressive design and reliability is the hallmark of TOS Varnsdorf, the producer of machine tools supplied to global markets. Unshaken by the pandemic, the company is expecting demand to return.
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OS Varnsdorf, located on the German border in the western part of the Czech Republic, is a world leading manufacturer of machine tools, specialising in the production of medium-class horizontal milling and boring machines and machining centres. Founded in 1903, the company boasts an impressive manufacturing tradition. Its top-quality products reflect the know-how and experience of generations of technicians and skilled workers as well as the innovative focus of today’s companies. They are used for machining of components for the transport, mining, construction, and energy industries, as well as for general mechanical engineering.
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
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Solid Range The company manufacturing programme includes four groups of products: table-type machine tools for universal purposes and highperformance parts machining, large WRD-series floor-type machine tools for demanding technological operations performed on the largest workpieces, machining centres with the most progressive modern tools, and gantry-type machining centres for general highperformance, high-precision machining of steel and cast-iron parts. The company has a strong service team to carry out all warranty requirements and customer servicing.
“Our flagship continues to be the WHN (Q) 13 CNC machine - a universal horizontal milling and boring machine designed for precise milling, line-coordinate drilling, boring and thread cutting of box- and board-type workpieces as well as complicated workpieces from cast iron, steel cast iron and steel with a weight of up to 25,000 kg. The first model of the machine was produced in 1968 and so far, nearly 2,700 units have been sold to global markets. Last year the WHN (Q) 13 CNC machine accounted for 40% of all production,” says the company’s Sales Director Mr Miloš Holakovský. He explained that TOS Varnsdorf has been gradually introducing the new dual-type WHT 110/130 onto the market – a milling and boring machine, a powerful, efficient representative of the company’s advanced generation, which responds to the needs of modern progressive technology. “We have great ambitions for these machines and would like to see their sales gradually reach the level of the WHN (Q) 13 CNC. With this combination, we can offer our customers a classic powerful horizontal machine and a modern, fast, and highly productive machining centre. We believe that with today’s trend for using higher cutting speeds and feed rates, customers will be looking for these specific machines.”
The pandemic challenge TOS Varnsdorf operates a network of subsidiaries in China, Russia, and the USA - the company’s key markets - that provide spare parts, warranty, and post-warranty service. “Service and spare parts availability tend to be the decisive factors for customers when choosing a new machine. The immediate availability of spare parts and the professional approach of our staff help to open doors to 28 Industry Europe
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING RETOS VARNSDORF s.r.o RETOS VARNSDORF s.r.o. is a traditional Czech company. We are located at the premises, where in 1915 under the name „Arno Plauert, Maschinenfabrik“ the first horizontal boring mills were produced. In 1993, RETOS VARNSDORF was founded as a remanufacturer for TOS VARNSDORF machines. Our products benefit from the experience, know-how and the network in the region. Today, we also produce and sell world-wide horizontal boring mills of our own design. We have specialised in specific boring mills including table type, floor type and T-type machines in CNC or conventional versions, among them the famous solid conventional W100A.
new customers as well as satisfy the needs of existing customers,” claims Holakovský. “The company manufactures over a hundred machines per year and 85% of total production is exported. “Depending on its size, it takes four to eight months to manufacture a machine. This is then partially dismantled and sent to the customer, where it is subsequently installed over a period of three to eight weeks,” Holakovský adds, describing a standard contract. “The coronavirus crisis has impacted this process significantly due to travel restrictions, we could not visit clients, they could not come to the factory for machine handover and our fitters could not travel to site to assemble the machines.” “And then there are the thousands of machines manufactured and supplied over the past years, which naturally require servicing from time to time. For us, the travel restrictions have presented the biggest pandemic challenge,” he admits.
buttons to get all the technical and technological information. Using mobile equipment, the machine can be positioned in the selected configuration virtually in the customer’s manufacturing hall. “We believe this will be the trend of the future – hard copy catalogues will soon be a thing of the past,” says Holakovský. Given its proven expertise and track record, the company has weathered the impacts of the unprecedented crisis of 2020 with flying colours. Now it is to be seen what the future brings. “The market has cooled down of course, and investment has virtually ground to a halt. Last year, while demand continued, contracts were being delayed. We are hoping n for a market revival in mid-2021,” he concluded.
The new normal The pandemic has further accelerated the trend of digitisation, and TOS Varnsdorf is venturing into new ways of communicating with customers, devising new ways of inspecting all machines virtually, of all sizes, equipment levels and technological accessories. The customer can thus move around a virtual manufacturing hall and see a machine from all sides and use POI (Point of Interest)
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New developments in the Construction & Engineering
B9Creations And Black Hills Works Partner For 3D Printed Disability Assistance by Ash Jones
D printing company B9Creations has partnered with South Dakotabased Black Hills Works to deliver 3D printed assets to aid and assist over 600 people with disabilities. The project will target those already in Black Hills' network, which aims to offer housing, recreational activities and employment to many with impairment disabilities and the partnership with the 3D printers will enable them to deliver equipment that could aid in the handling of eating utensils to wheelchair grips, workplace tools and more. It is designed to give those with disabilities greater autonomy and independence and will be operated using B9's resin-based LCD manufacturing processes. The company is seeing a constant rise year-on-year, with over 700 solutions delivered in 2020 alone, a 54% rise from 2019. "The 3D printer will help us save money by making something rather than buying it," said Tammy Murner, the director for innovation and technology at Black Hills. "We will have the resources to individualise solutions to better meet the needs of the people we support." The partnership could stand to decrease the price of such assistive devices, which are currently very expensive and the market for them is nearly non-existent. Potential products range from mobility aids such as crutches and wheelchairs to advanced hearing aids and even prosthetic limbs. There has become a particular push within the healthcare sector to 3D print medical devices, which have seen a significant increase in demand during the pandemic. However, accessibility for 3D printing infrastructure is still relatively exclusive. The technology required may still be a significant hurdle in allowing complete market penetration.
However, recent reports estimate the 3D printing market as a whole clock in at roughly $13.78 billion for 2020 and is expected to see an increase of 21% annually between 2021 and 2028, according to one study. B9Creations provides 3D printed hardware for a number of key players across a number of industrial sectors, including Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, 3M and Procter & Gamble covering aerospace, healthcare, manufacturing, research and jewellery. Shon Anderson, CEO of B9Creations, highlighted the potential for this partnership and the vital role it could play in changing people lives. He said: “Assistive devices are vital to people’s lives, but are often costly, timeconsuming to produce, and unable to meet individualized needs. We are excited to partner with Black Hills Works to remove those barriers with accessible, fast, customizable parts in an easy-to-use, medical-grade 3D printer. "It is very rewarding to see technology being used to transform people’s lives and give them greater independence." Visit: www.b9c.com Credit: B9Creations
Montenegro Looks To Serbia For Joint Funding Of Highway Project by Steven Gislam Photo: Government of Montenegro
he European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano announced earlier this week that the bloc would not aid Montenegro in paying back a loan from a Chinese bank taken out to pay for the construction of a highway. 30 Industry Europe
Montenegro’s Minister of Capital Investments Mladen Bojanić said following the EU's refusal that he would speak to his counterpart in Serbia, Tomislav Momirović, about jointly applying for funds to complete the road, which runs from Belgrade to the Montenegrin port city of Bar in the country's far south. The Montenegro section of the highway, from Bar to the border town of Boljare, is proving problematic. The road is being built by Chinese construction firm China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and is being paid for mostly by a loan from China's Exim Bank. However, following delays, the cost has risen from the initially agreed €800 million to €1.3 billion. Bojanić said that "a new agreement was made (with CRBC), and they committed to complete this section by 30 November."
The minister added that the government in Montenegro wanted to complete the project, as well as the modernisation of the Belgrade-Bar railway, primarily because the government in Serbia has "serious plans" for the Port of Bar. The move comes in the wake of last month's announcement by the Montenegrin government that it was launching an investigation into environmental damage to the UNESCOprotected Tara River caused by CRBC during the motorway construction. The investigation came as a surprise to local environmentalists as the government had hitherto ignored repeated warnings that the project risked causing serious damage to the riverbed and the wider area through the construction of bridges and gravel and sand disposal. For more information: www.crbc.com
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING NEWS
INDUSTRYNEWS Mexico City Bridge Collapse Leaves Several Dead by Ash Jones
n overpass in Mexico City collapsed on Monday night after a train passed over it, leaving 70 people injured and as many as 20 dead, authorities report. When the bridge collapsed, the carriage and tracks plunged downwards, scattering rubble onto the road below. Several videos of the incident were posted on social media and Mexican news overnight. Of those injured, 49 have been seriously wounded, requiring medical attention. They have been taken to several local hospitals for treatment. Authorities have revealed that cars became trapped under the rubble and confirmed that children were among the fatalities.
Before its collapse, the bridge was suspended 5 metres (16 feet) above the road below and formed part of the city's newest Line 12.. Mexico City's Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum rushed to the area alongside dozens of rescuers. She took to Twitter to announce that "various public safety personnel are working" on the situation with "various hospitals" on standby to receive victims. She revealed local authorities would relay more information soon. She told reporters that "a support beam gave away" at 10:30 pm local time. Rough translation: " Most recent civil protection report. I'm still in the area of the incident. We regret the loss of life. We will give all the support to the relatives."
The Mayor reports at least one survivor was trapped in a vehicle beneath the rubble but has since been freed. She later confirmed no other people were trapped. Rescue efforts last night were temporarily suspended earlier in the night due to concerns over the stability of the train car, which was still dangling over the road. Credit: Luis Cortez / Reuters
Pulp & Paper Waste Could Be Used In Road Construction by Ash Jones
esearchers in Canada have been researching ways of using pulp and waste from the paper industry to aid in the future of sustainable road construction. A pair based out of The University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan have been looking into how paper waste can be used as a filler for cement - a process that has been in demand within the construction industry for a number of years. The team are particularly interested in the application of wood-based pulp mill fly ash (PFA), a non-hazardous waste product that was selected after the pair worked with "a number of industrial by-products." The North American pulp and paper industry reportedly generates over one million tons of ash annually by burning wood in power boilers units traditionally used in energy production. When transferred over to a landfill, the producer shoulders the cost of about $25 (£18) to $50 (£36) per ton, which has prompted producers to seek alternative uses for these by-products. “Anytime we can redirect waste to a sustainable alternative, we are heading in the right direction,” said Dr Sumi Siddiqua, associate professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering. Dr Chinchu Cherian, a post-doctoral researcher and the co-author of the paper, said: “The porous nature of PFA acts like a gateway for the adhesiveness of the other materials in the cement that enables the overall structure to be stronger and more resilient than materials not made with PFA. “Through our material characterisation and toxicology analysis, we found further environmental and societal benefits that producing this new material was more energy-efficient and produced low carbon emissions.” The new research explores the state of PFA as an economically sustainable, low-carbon alternative to traditional construction materials such as cement, specifically for use in road construction.
Dr Siddiqua has highlighted concerns from the construction industry about the potential for toxins to leak out of the reused materials. She said: “Our findings show that because the cementation bonds developed through the use of the untreated PFA are so strong, little to no release of chemicals is apparent. Therefore, it can be considered as a safe raw material for environmental applications.” Dr Cherian has revealed further research may be necessary in order to establish guidelines for PFA modifications to ensure its consistency, but she is confident their research is on the right track. She said the research indicates the potential economic and environmental benefits of using wood pulp and waste in road construction as well as aiding in making future projects cost-neutral. She added there were "not just benefits for the industry," but the findings could stand to "benefit society as a whole by reducing waste going to landfills and reducing our ecological footprints.” Visit: ok.ubc.ca
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OF TOMATOES Written by Romana Moares
With its worldwide footprint CONESA Group, the leading European tomato processor, remains unshaken by the Covid-19 pandemic. Faced with rising consumption, the company is set to meet the demand for high-quality tomato products.
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he global tomato processing market is recording the rising production as well as consumption of processed tomatoes. In 2020, 42 million tonnes of processed tomatoes were consumed globally. This consumption is expected to grow further, growing at a CAGR of 3.8% in the forecast period of 2021-2026, to attain 51 million tonnes in 2026. The trend is welcomed by tomato processors, who are ready to respond to the rising trend of healthy eating accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Spanish CONESA Group is the leader in the tomato processing sector in Europe, with an input capacity of around 25,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes per day resulting in a total volume of close to one million tonnes of fresh tomatoes processed per campaign. This also makes the company one of the top five companies worldwide in terms of fresh tomato processing volume. Founded in 1976 as “Conservas Vegetales de Extremadura” with wholly private capital, CONESA has experienced dynamic growth throughout its history, which has accelerated in the last five years as result of several important acquisitions on a global scale. Today, the family-owned company based in Las Vegas Bajas del Guadiana, in the province of Badajoz, in south-western Spain, runs multiple production facilities on three continents. Spain, Portugal,
China and the United States are four of the most important countries in the tomato sector in which the company is present.
Close Connections With growing public awareness of food quality and rising interest in product origin (traceability) as well as in the hygiene standards and the actual manufacturing process employed for food production, pressure on food producers is increasing. CONESA’s Agricultural Department, aware of this market trend, maintains direct contact with farmers and tomato growers to make Industry Europe 33
sure that the supply chain runs smoothly and efficiently, with the aim of supplying fresh tomatoes of the highest quality in quantities suited to each factory’s capacity. The company covers the full scope of tomato products, says Mr Manuel Vázquez, CEO of the CONESA Group. “In the first processing category, we cover the full range including highly concentrated products (paste from 22/24 brix to 36/38 brix with many different specifications), low brix products (passata and crushed tomatoes from 06/08 brix to 14/16 brix), diced tomatoes of different sizes and tomato powder. “The second processing, i.e. finished products, covers different types of tomato sauces, ketchup, crushed tomatoes (tomato triturado for the Spanish market), tomato frito and similar,” he continues, pointing out that the very breadth of the product portfolio constitutes a significant competitive advantage, supported by the different packaging options and the ability to meet individual customer’s needs. The company has recently invested in its R&D and expanded the range of products to include a wide variety of sauces as well as other canned vegetables.
Quality and Service The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the usual practices of factories, by imposing demanding and restrictive operating rules to guarantee the best health and safety conditions for all the personnel involved, but also for the products themselves and for the entire supply chain, from the field to the end-consumer.
It has also profoundly changed the context – in the strictest sense – of companies, which are launching into the season with stockyards and stores almost devoid of stocks from previous seasons. According to the actual comments of local operators, the exceptional demand recorded during the crisis, in particular during the harshest months of confinement (March and April) reduced the quantities of products available to the most meagre level. “We have not experienced such a situation for many years,” confirms Manuel Vázquez Calleja. “Consumption increased dramatically in March and April, then stabilised in May and June, although demand remained strong, meaning that at that stage there was no longer any product in stock, as all the products had been sold.” The increase in demand has also resulted in a 10% to 15% increase in the price of products, compared to the reference value. This progression is good news for the industry, reflects Mr Vázquez, affirming that going forward, CONESA will stick to the principles that have supported its growth. “We will continue working under the principles of quality and service, our main goal being to improve and introduce cutting-edge technology in the area of tomato growing, processing and transformation and our new products, working under the principles of quality and service. The result is a guarantee of high-quality products n to meet our customers’ and the market’s needs.”
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REDEFINING THE CONCEPT OF PACKAGING Sustainable packaging, paper products and recycling services provider DS Smith has used the lockdown as an opportunity to further intensify its focus on circularity and environmental performance. Romana Moares reports.
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S Smith, which started as a box-making business in East London in the 1940s, is today a major organisation employing over 30,000 people in 30 countries. The company’s core business is the design and manufacture of innovative, sustainable packaging that takes the entire supply chain into account. DS Smith’s products can improve transport and storage efficiency, boost retail presentation and increase product sales for its customers – this is done with sustainable corrugated cardboard. At DS Smith sustainability is the foundation of the business. The company has recently defined its ‘Now and Next Sustainability Strategy’ focusing on closing the loop through better design, protecting natural resources, reducing waste and pollution with recycling, and training people to achieve the transition to a circular economy. By 2023, the company is set to manufacture 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by training its designers in ‘Circular Design Principles’ and making recyclability mandatory in new product development. By 2030, the company is aiming for all its packaging to be recycled or reused.
Circular Design Principles Given that to a large extent, the environmental impact of a product is determined during the design stage - from the materials used to the way the products are manufactured - DS Smith decided to give this stage increased attention. Therefore in 2019, the company started to collaborate with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to design the Circular Design Principles in 2020. The aim is to deliver packaging that is circular economy-ready by helping designers adopt a re-use, return, repurpose and recycle mindset during the design stage and encourages them to follow the company’s ‘Materials Hierarchy’, where 100% of DS Smith’s solutions are reusable or recyclable and are fully optimised for customer supply chains. In May, the company announced that it has achieved its target of training all of its designers - across 26 countries - in its Circular Design Principles. “By achieving this milestone, we have set an industry standard for design and innovation. We can proudly claim that from the start of
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Packagers can demand faultless boxes and expect no machine downtime associated with defective cases when their suppliers rely on ClearVision Inspection Technology for their Flexo-Folder-Gluers, Rotary Die-Cutters or Specialty Folder Gluers. Controlled from one single screen, ClearVision software can inspect up to 6 features of every single box such as glue patterns, codes readability, printing, print-to-print and print-to-board registrations and the correct position of scorelines. ClearVision provides custom solutinos that can be adapted to each product specifications. GlueChek camera verifies glue presence, and its correct placement and volume to validate that every pattern has been properly applied. By measuring distances between printing and borders, RegChek detects variations in the print-to-print and print-to-board registrations. CodeChek camera verifies the readability of any barcode or 2D code printed on any place of the package and avoid mixed copies problems. ScoreChek verifies the correct scorelines position to determine that the blanks have been fed correctly. Finally, color, unwanted spots, marks, missing printing, board damages, smearing… can be inspected with PrintChek. Box suppliers working with ClearVision’s system guarantee that packagers will only receive defect-free boxes, avoiding subsequent machine downtime, product waste or end user complaints. ClearVision is Valco Melton’s quality inspection technology division, a leading supplier of gluing systems for the corrugated, folding carton, packaging, paper converting and other industries. Specifically designed for the packaging industry, ClearVision has also developed the PackChek camera, that inspects the already closed boxes for the correct hot melt pattern application for a perfect end-of-line box sealing.
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the design process we are working towards our purpose, ‘Redefining Packaging for a Changing World’,” says Alan Potts, Design and Innovation Director.
Circular Design Metrics In May, DS Smith achieved another milestone by unveiling its ‘Circular Design Metrics’, an industry first that allows customers to rate the circularity of their packaging. This pioneering initiative provides a unique insight into how companies’ packaging choices can reduce their impact on the environment. Through the collaborative design process, customers will be able compare the environmental performance of different solutions, in order to create more circular packaging. The Circular Design Metrics is a breakthrough new tool that makes it possible to see and compare the performance of a packaging design across a range of indicators, such as recyclability, renewable content, supply chain optimisation. The metrics include eight different indicators that provide a clear indication of circularity performance and help identify areas with potential for improvement. The tool is a first of its kind for brands that want to drive sustainability performance through their packaging. Stefano Rossi, Packaging CEO at DS Smith, commented: “Our new Circular Design Metrics is a game changer in driving environmental performance in packaging. We’re excited to use our expertise to help companies, large and small, on their journey to become circular economy-ready.”
In line with market developments, DS Smith has recently announced that it will double investment in R&D to accelerate its work in the circular economy. The £100mn (€116mn) investment over a period of five years will cover the creation of a new breakthrough technologies hub in the UK, new materials development to replace plastics, and a pilot to gauge G-force shock in home delivery packaging. The company is also investing nearly €17 million in its German plant, which specialises primarily in innovative packaging solutions for the e-commerce and FMCG sectors. These investments underpin the company’s circular economy-led sustainability strategy to replace a billion pieces of supermarket and e-commerce plastic by 2025. DS Smith Chief Executive Miles Roberts said: “We are now investing more than in previous years to ensure that we can offer customers packaging that has less impact on the environment. DS Smith makes sustainable packaging that is fibre-based and fully recyclable. We continue to focus on reducing the impact of our operations on the environment but more importantly, we are able to contribute to wider society by providing circular packaging solutions and supporting our customers in transitioning to a circular economy.” n
Doubling Investment There is increasing evidence that since Covid-19, consumer attitudes towards sustainability have strengthened and circular procurement will have a vital role to play in winning and retaining business. Industry Europe 39
THE NATURAL CHOICE Logoplaste, a global designer and manufacturer of rigid plastic packaging for fast-moving-consumer-goods brands, has entered the post-Covid era under new ownership. However, the company’s commitment to its sustainability goals remains unchanged. Romana Moares reports.
ounded in Portugal in 1976, a company that started with Yoplait yogurts and Nestlé caps has come a long way since then. Over the years, the business developed its innovative and customerservice-orientated approach beyond the pure manufacturing process, expanding into product design, material optimisation and full value-chain process engineering. Logoplaste currently manages 63 factories in 16 countries and employs more than 2,100 people. Its packaging, which is designed for a range of segments including food and beverage, personal care, cosmetics, household care, oil & lubricants, and healthcare, is produced using the most advanced technologies in injection, stretchblow and extrusion moulding.
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The company’s expertise covers every aspect of packaging development, from concept, to design, to engineering, to implementation. Logoplaste’s business model centres on developing partnerships with customer, integrating dedicated facilities, eliminating secondary packaging waste, utilising just-in-time operations, and reducing transport needs. Logoplaste’s customer base includes some of the world’s best-known brands such as Danone, Nestle, Arla, Kraft Heinz, P&G and L’Oreal and many others.
The natural focus Sustainability and innovation have been integral to Logoplaste since its inception and are the key to its continued success. The company’s broad expertise is well demonstrated in the Ecover Ocean bottle. Created to raise awareness of ocean contamination by plastics and the importance of responsible disposal, it was the first bottle made from recycled Ocean Plastic and PostConsumer Recycled plastic, reclaimed from the ocean. Over the years, the company has won a number of awards, the most recent being the 2020 Ecovadis Sustainability Gold Rating. This places Logoplaste amongst the industry’s top 2% in overall score and top 1% in sustainable procurement. And the company goes further. For more than 25 years, the plastics industry has promoted Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), a campaign dedicated to helping every plastic resin handling operation achieve zero pellets, flake and powder loss. Logoplaste has been supporting OCS
for the past eight years and is now ready to go worldwide with proven best practices. By the end of 2021, the company wants to have all of its plants in compliance with OCS requirements.
Carbon-neutral On a different front, Logoplaste can be proud of another achievement. The company completed the leveraged loan market’s first institutional ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) term loan which links its interest payments to year-on-year growth of savings in CO2 emissions. These savings in CO2 emissions are achieved by increasing the number of wall-to-wall facilities (W2W), factories installed within the client premises, that avoid the transport of empty bottles and the use of secondary packaging. This unique set-up is far superior to a traditional off-site packaging approach from a sustainability point of view. Gerardo Chiaia, Logoplaste’s CEO said: “This is only one initiative in a well-articulated plan that includes actions such as an increase in the use of recycled content, reduction of waste and energy consumption. Our goal is very ambitious: we want to build plants that are at least carbon-neutral or even become regenerative from a CO2 emissions perspective.”
Next Stage of Growth In recent years, Logoplaste has performed consistently well. This has been achieved both organically, through investment in and develop-
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ment of additional facilities across Europe, North America and Brazil, and through acquisitions, notably a majority shareholding in Poland’s Masterchem. Supported by long-standing clients, the company’s activities in North America have more than tripled in the last five years, while in Europe the business has continued to expand. The company has a clear plan to continue to increase its presence in Europe and the Americas as well as to support clients in their international development in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. To help promote further growth and business development the company started to evaluate strategic options, including bringing in new shareholders. In February 2021, Logoplaste announced that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’) has agreed to acquire The Carlyle Group’s majority stake in the company. Current Logoplaste shareholders Filipe de Botton and Alexandre Relvas will retain their approximately 40% combined stakes in the business as it embarks on its next phase of growth. Gerardo Chiaia commented: “This marks an exciting new chapter for our company as we look forward to the continued growth oppor-
tunity for Logoplaste and its customers with backing from Ontario Teachers’. We also thank Carlyle for their partnership, expertise and support in maintaining Logoplaste’s position as a leading provider of rigid packaging solutions for the consumer goods industry and in driving continuous innovation with an integrated approach that is the n foundation of our company.”
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FOR A GREENER WORLD Unilever launches a range of ambitious new commitments and actions to fight climate change, protect and regenerate nature, and preserve resources for future generations.
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nilever, the British-Dutch transnational consumer goods group has a truly global footprint. With its portfolio of food and beverages, cleaning agents, beauty products, and personal care products used by 2.5 billion people every day, Unilever’s brands have become a household name in around 190 countries. The company is set to apply its global influence to help create a better world. In 2010, Unilever defined its Sustainable Living Plan that sets out to decouple the company’s growth from its environmental footprint, while increasing positive social impact. A lot has been achieved over the last ten years and despite a challenging 2020, Unilever remains firmly on track, creating positive change and promoting sustainable living for consumers throughout the world. “While the world is dealing with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us,” says Unilever CEO Alan Jope. “Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity – all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously.”
“In doing so, we must recognise that the climate crisis is not only an environmental emergency; it also has a terrible impact on lives and livelihoods. We, therefore, have a responsibility to help tackle the crisis: as a business, and through direct action by our brands.” To accelerate action, Unilever’s brands will collectively invest €1 billion in a new dedicated Climate & Nature Fund, which they will use over the next ten years on initiatives that protect and improve the health of the planet. These could include projects that restore landscapes, reduce carbon emissions, or reforest and reinstate wildlife habitats. “Our collective responsibility in tackling the climate crisis is to drive an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, not simply focus on offsetting – and we have the scale and determination to make it happen,” explains Marc Engel, Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer. “But this is not enough. If we want to have a healthy planet long into the future, we must also look after nature: forests, soil biodiversity and water ecosystems.
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Towards zero emissions The Group has committed to halving the greenhouse gas impact of its products across their lifecycle and making all its product formulations biodegradable by 2030. The Group has also committed to removing ingredients derived from virgin fossil fuels by 2030, instead of using a variety of carbon sources. For example, plant-based stain removers have been introduced into Unilever’s OMO detergent, also known as green carbon. In Chile and Vietnam, Unilever has launched a dishwashing liquid (Quix) with
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a new biosurfactant which is renewable, biodegradable and ultramild on hands. And in India, the first laundry powder (Surf Excel) made with soda ash from captured CO2, also known as ‘purple carbon’, has been launched. In line with its plan to achieve zero emissions across its operations by 2030, Unilever is now working on expanding circular models which minimise waste and carbon emissions. Its Pouso Alegre site in southern Brazil, for example, is Unilever’s first zero-carbon operational site in the Americas. Its two 500 sq
metre greenhouses use the factory’s plant-based waste to enrich their soil. Both greenhouses now produce enough vegetables to supply the factory’s restaurants two days a week. Another great example is Unilever’s Ceytea site in Agarapathana, Sri Lanka. Today 73% of the waste produced by the site is used to create green energy, while the remaining 27% of spent leaf is turned into organic fertiliser which is used to replenish the surrounding tea gardens.
Making flexible plastics recyclable Unilever is battling climate change and promoting environmental protection on many fronts. In the UK the Group has joined forces with four other branded manufacturers in the UK to launch The Flexible Plastic Fund – a new £1 million fund and cross-industry collaboration to drive flexible plastic collection and recycling in the UK, so it can be reused again and again. The Fund’s ambition is to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution by creating more value from the material. The Fund will guarantee a minimum price per tonne for all flexible
plastic that is properly recycled and ready to be re-used in new plastic products. By incentivising investment in jobs and the infrastructure needed to create a circular model for flexi-recycling, the Fund will help flexible plastics to be kept out of the environment and instead be re-used back in products again and again. Participating retailers Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have launched instore flexible plastic collection points in selected outlets throughout the UK, making it convenient and easy for customers to recycle their flexible plastics by bringing them back to the store. The collected n plastic will then be transported to approved recyclers.
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COMPLETE COOLING SOLUTIONS H
eadquartered in Bistrita in Transylvania, northern Romania, RAAL is a manufacturer of cooling systems and heat exchangers made of aluminium alloys and stainless steel, in brazed construction: radiators, oil coolers, air coolers, condensers and evaporators, designed for agricultural, construction, industrial equipment and automotive applications. RAAL has two production two sites - Bistrita (12,500 m2) and Prundu Birgaului (32,000 m2), and a strong R&D capability to design 48 Industry Europe
RAAL, the manufacturer of cooling systems and heat exchangers, boasts a comprehensive in-house capability from design to dispatch, enabling rapid product development and a fast manufacturing cycle - benefits highly rated by leading global players from the automotive through to the energy sector.
programmes for its customers’ new products, providing a differentiation factor based on innovation and performance. Over the last three decades, the company has completed thousands of projects of various designs and dimensions, always providing the greatest flexibility, and striving for technological and research advancement. Around 99% of the output is sold in export markets either directly or via its branches in various countries in Europe and dealers further afield.
Delivering Performance The Romanian company was established in its current form in 1991 but draws on the wide-ranging experience of its predecessor, which had operated in the cooling system business for many years. In 2007 the company commissioned its second, brand-new cooling system factory in Prundu Birgaului, northern Romania, in the Transylvanian region, and in 2015 began a major investment in the manufacture of steel and aluminium structures to deliver both cooling systems and metal structures. In 2017 RAAL reached another significant milestone by opening a new production hall for automotive applications, housing production of heat exchangers for electronic circuits and batteries for hybrid and electric cars.
“We have also invested heavily in the research and development department, a testing centre with advanced equipment and patents for fins and new solutions,” says General Manager Paul Ilies. “With our highly skilled designers and R&D specialists, we can offer fast development of a product that delivers outstanding performance in terms of corrosion resistance and a high degree of complexity.” RAAL performs the sizing of heat exchangers and cooling systems using its own software, based on theoretical studies and on the results of thousands of performed tests. RAAL uses FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to simulate structural, flow and vibration-stress conditions. The performances and structural features of new products are validated in the RAAL testing centre, based on the technical specifications and the parameters obtained by data acquisition on the customer’s equipment.
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One of the company’s strengths is its high degree of flexibility. Its modular heat exchangers and cooling systems are adapted to its customers’ needs and are developed in partnerships with customers’ designers. This trust and an open-minded approach towards the latest technical solutions and customer focus are the core values of RAAL, the very basis of long-term business relationships, says Ilies.
Recognised expert Heat exchangers and cooling systems are RAAL’s core product groups. The heat exchangers are designed and made in the following structural solutions: plate&bar, tube&fin, shell, extruded tubes, brazed plates and “in-tank”. The company offers custom cooling solutions for hundreds of applications; and has delivered tens of thousands of different products in small, medium, and large series. RAAL offers stainless steel heat exchangers, suitable for high pressures, high temperatures and corrosive environments, using vacuum furnace brazing technology. RAAL designs and manufactures complete cooling systems, composed of brazed aluminium heat exchangers and metallic structures, frames, expansion tanks, fan cowls, fan guards and
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ensures systems equipment with fans, motors, other components. These systems boast high cooling performance, compact construction, modular solution using various design types and configurations, a “drop-in-place” concept for integration into equipment, and the company has full responsibility for the entire cooling system. The company has a dedicated manufacturing hall for the production of heat exchangers in brazed plates constructive solution. RAAL brazed-plate heat exchangers have been designed to increase the thermal performance in fluid-to-fluid cooling applications. This type of heat exchanger is fully made of aluminium alloys using controlled atmosphere brazing technology. Different working fluids can be used: water, oil, air, refrigerant, etc. The company’s production hall, opened in 2017 specifically for hybrid and electric vehicle applications, houses the manufacture of products designed for shipping to car manufacturers in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Once the products are completed, RAAL can provide customised logistics services, i.e. transport, storage and distribution as required, completing the last stage of the whole process, delivering the products direct to the customer’s premises. n
THE NORDIC GLOW Last year, Lumene, the Finnish skincare and cosmetics producer, celebrated its 50th anniversary and continues to reinforce its Nordic heritage message of living in harmony with nature - a concept that appeals to consumers around the world.
umene, a Finnish manufacturer of cosmetics, was founded in 1970 and has built a brand based on the quality of its products and a unique viewpoint on beauty, creating skincare and makeup ranges using wild arctic ingredients and state-of-the-art extraction processes. Within three years of its introduction, Lumene had become a market leader in Finland and started to expand, first into Russia, and soon to be followed by other countries. In the early 2000’s the company entered the US market and became an instant success. At this time, the company was renamed Lumene Oy. In 2016, Lumene carried out an extensive rebranding project. The formulation strategy was expanded to include not only berries but also other northern plants. The target was to continuously increase the vegan volume and diversity. In 2018, a vegan skin care assortment and foundations were launched. Over five decades Lumene, with its heritage in wild Arctic nature, has created powerful radiance-boosting skincare and makeup that work to restore the skin’s natural strength, beauty, and luminosity.
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According to the company, all of this has been done with the ultimate intention of bringing balance and harmony to consumers’ skins, minds, and souls.
Born of Arctic Light Nordic nature has always been Lumene’s source of inspiration. The brand was named after Lake Lummenne, located in Kuhmoinen, central Finland. Lumen is also the Latin word for light. The company offers rare, precious formulas that are infused with potent natural antioxidants and nutrients, and exceptionally pure, oxygen-rich, skin-friendly pH Finnish Arctic spring water for healthy, youthful, glowing skin. Lumene’s beauty rituals are rooted in Finland’s north, one of the purest and most unspoiled regions where a unique blend of resilience, mindfulness and harmony with nature is deeply rooted in everyday life. Berries, seeds, plants, tree saps, and even mushrooms have evolved in the wild over thousands of years to survive and thrive under a uniquely disruptive and challenging annual light cycle. According to the company, the secret lies in eight months of purifying, unbroken winter darkness, save for the Northern Lights, followed by four consecutive months of intense life-giving light 24 hours a day. This light phenomenon, further amplified by an unusually stable low ground temperature, stimulates Arctic plants to produce unparalleled high levels of potent nutrients and antioxidants.
Lumene’s principle is to offer products which are as natural as possible without having to compromise on the efficacy and safety of the products. The company follows the latest studies and research regarding the safety and environmental effects of cosmetic ingredients.
In Synergy with Nature Most of Lumene’s wild Arctic and Nordic ingredients have been developed from side streams of the food or forest industries materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste. An important principle for Lumene is to utilise all possible components from plants foraged or collected from nature. Sustainable production and minimal waste are at the core of the business. Lumene Oy’s state-of-the-art cosmetics factory in Espoo started its operation in 2002, and most of Lumene’s products are designed and manufactured there. Lumene complies with the ISO 14001 environmental standard and remains in keeping with its product philosophy as well as in compliance with EU legislation. Products are never tested on animals, with the company opting to use alternative methods that ensure the highest safety standards. Carefully following the principles of sustainability when harvesting Arctic ingredients, Lumene collects plants in synergy with the environment in which they grow to ensure each year’s harvest is as fruitful as the last.
GEKA GmbH - We are the make-up performance leader for liquid colored cosmetics with more than 600 patents and 4,000 brush designs to our name. With a strong heritage dating back to 1925, we provide a vast range of impressive brushes, applicators, a wide range of beauty accessories as well as complete packaging systems, all of which can be delivered fully finished and ready for sale. Our product portfolio comprises solutions for mascara, brows, lip gloss, eyeliner, liquid eye shadow, liquid foundation and concealer. In addition, we design, develop and source all types of beauty accessories. geka-world.com
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CONSUMER GOODS BALLERSTAEDT & CO. OHG Sealing lids ensure the quality and durability of sensitive cosmetics! BALLERSTAEDT aluminium seals harmonize your content with an aesthetically pleasing closure system and help you to achieve a high-quality end product. Your benefits: A sealing system ensures a tamper evident closing, protection against light, oxygen, germs and foreign aromas, absolute tightness, consumer friendly handling and an exclusivity thanks to an individual print or embossing design that perfectly showcases your brand. Protect your products with reliable sealing systems made in Germany for all types of jars, bottles and containers!
Closed Loop With its ever-increasing focus on sustainability and environmental protection, Lumene’s goal is a closed-loop recycling system. The idea is to use a larger proportion of recycled materials in packaging and to ensure that the materials also return to circulation. “Attention must be paid to the entire life cycle of a product, from raw material to the production of energy required to manufacture products and packaging,” says Tiina Isohanni, Vice President of Innovations and Development at Lumene. “Our aim is to improve recyclability and decrease the amount of materials used in our packaging. We are going to increase the use
of recycled plastics and evaluate using materials made of renewable raw materials, which can be either bio-based or bio-degradable material. We are also going to increase the use of fibre-based FSC or PEFC certified carton board.” While the company’s global reach has increased over the years, it still emphasises its Nordic heritage. Today, Lumene’s products contain up to 99% naturally derived ingredients, 100% of the skincare and foundation formulas are vegan and 50% of the Nordic ingredients used are developed from side-streams from other industries. With its five decades of growth, Lumene is set to continue its journey as a Nordic pioneer in the n circular economy within the beauty industry.
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THE MASTER OF FIBRES Yünsa, a major European integrated fabric producer, brings significant innovation to the textile industry. The company has developed an environmentally-friendly BioGreen fabric with minimum environmental impact, setting a new benchmark for the sector. Romana Moares reports.
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ounded in 1973, Yünsa is the largest integrated high-segment worsted wool fabric manufacturer in Europe and one of the five largest in the world. With an output of 4,500 tonnes of yarn annually and the capacity to weave 12.5 million metres of fabric, the company successfully represents Turkey in the international arena for top-segment innovative products. About 63% of total sales are exported to more than 50 countries. The company has agents in 20 countries, sales offices in England and Germany, and design offices in Turkey and in Italy. Yünsa’s product portfolio consists primarily of 100% wool bur, but other fabrics such as cashmere, silk, viscose, polyester, lycra, cotton and linen blend fabrics are also available. Produced using the latest technologies, the fabrics can be water repellent, UV protected, selfcleaning and natural stretching. The company has a strong R&D department aiming to develop innovative products that are environmentally friendly with a long economic life. In recent years, the R&D specialists have intensified efforts to develop sustainable products reflecting environmental
considerations, which will help to keep the planet in a healthy state for future generations. Examples of the company’s ‘green’ products include the mini eco-fabric collection based on the recycling of fabric waste. Within this process, waste produced by apparel manufacturers using Yünsa ‘s fabric, along with the company’ own waste, was utilised. Benefits include up to 70% reduction in the cost of material per kg, increased awareness of waste being a valuable raw material, and a significant CO2 reduction.
The new fabric The most recent outcome of Yünsa’s R&D Center is the environmentally friendly BioGreen fabric, processed with an oil-based softener made from the seeds of natural wild plants. This process makes BioGreen fabric highly biodegradable in nature. Given its minimal environmental impact and innovative technology, which uses natural and renewable resources, BioGreen stands out as one of the most environmentally friendly applications in the textile industry.
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Yünsa CEO Mustafa Sürmegöz said: “Yünsa’s priority is to bring innovation to the textile industry. These days, sustainability is the most important topic on the global agenda. We believe every industry should assume responsibility for sustainability, and at Yünsa we try to do our best in this respect: environmentally friendly, sustainable solutions and innovations are at the heart of our operation. “We are committed to ensuring that our production has as little environmental impact as possible, by reducing our energy and natural resources consumption and our carbon footprint. The BioGreen fabric developed by our R&D team is the result of these efforts.” He further explains that the production of BioGreen fabric uses environmentally friendly green chemicals instead of petroleumbased products, which significantly reduces the release of hazardous substances into the air and water, and eliminates the use of fossil fuels. “This finishing technique has an 8 times smaller carbon footprint when compared to similar techniques. We are very proud to be the first and only company in the world to use this technique on woollen fabrics.”
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Excellent performance The company’s quality and reliability, as well as its excellence in management and manufacturing, have been awarded several times. The latest international recognition was received in February 2021. Yünsa won the TPM (Total Production Management) Excellence Award from the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM) for its exemplary production and management standards, becoming the first and only textile company in Turkey to receive this prestigious award. In line with the Total Productive Management approach, which covers the entire operation including both blue-collar and white-collar employees unlike similar models, Yünsa has proven its excellence with successful business results in a wide range of areas from OHS, manufacturing, quality and delivery to maintenance, cost management, environment, sustainability and employee motivation. “Yünsa boasts a pioneering position in Turkish textile industry,” says Mustafa Sürmegöz. “At Yünsa, we are glad to see how well our efforts to improve our production and management processes have paid off. Yünsa is the first and only textile company in Turkey to receive the TPM Excellence Award. This award is the result of the hard work of all Yünsa staff and I’m confident that there are many more awards to come for Yünsa thanks to their commitment, loyalty and dedicated efforts.” n
New developments in the Consumer Goods
Nestlé Admits 60% Of Food Products Are Unhealthy In Leaked Document by Steven Gislam
internal presentation circulated among executives at the world's largest food company, Nestlé, has acknowledged that over 60% of its food and beverage products fail to meet a "recognised definition of health". The document, which was seen by the FT, also said that "some of [Nestlé's] categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate". There was also an acknowledgement that just 37% of Nestlé's food and drink portfolio - not including medical nutrition supplements and pet food - achieve a rating of more than 3.5 under the Australian health star rating system. The system gives food products a score out of five stars and is seen as a key barometer for research by groups such as the Access to Nutrition Foundation. Nestlé considers a score of 3.5 stars to be the lowest threshold of a "recognised definition of health". Breaking down the company's food and beverage portfolio further, the presentation said that 70% of its foods, 96% of drinks (excluding pure coffee) and 99% of its ice cream and confectionary did not meet that 3.5-star threshold. Fairing better was water and dairy items, with 82% and 60% meeting the threshold respectively.
The presentation said that while Nestlé had "made significant improvements to our products... our portfolio still underperforms against external definitions of health in a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing." The data accounts for around half of Nestlé's €84.1 billion revenues, excluding pet food, coffee, baby formula and the health science division which specialises in foods for people with medical conditions. The leaked document comes at a time when food companies are under pressure as part of a global trend towards healthier eating and to combat obesity. Nestlé executives are aiming to unveil plans regarding nutritional commitments later in the year, as well as updating its own internal standards of nutrition.
Brussels Presents Plan To Boost Organic Farming by Ash Jones
rexit has seen a big decline in food and drink exports to the European Union, according to an analysis released by the UK's Food and Drinks Federation (FDF). Exports to the bloc were down 40.9% in February 2021 from the same period last year, although they have seen an increase from the 76% drop reported in January, shortly after the Brexit transition period ended and the UK formally left the EU. The Federation represents over 800 companies in Britain and shows overall statistics were at around £578.7 million compared with over £1 billion in net exports for February 2020. Milk can cream were hit particularly hard, with the report indicating sales dropped by as much as 96%. Chicken and beef also reported a sales decline of as much as 80% for the same period. 58 Industry Europe
By contrast, food and drink exports to non-EU countries increased by 8.7% over the past year. Food imports from non-EU countries also increased by 5.7% for the same timeframe. The FDF claims the pandemic has had an effect on exports but pins much of the decline on Brexit bureaucracy, stating the British government must re-enter talks with the EU to resolve the crisis. The Federation's head of international trade Dominic Goudie also mentioned that exports to Ireland have also declined as a result of the EU withdrawal by roughly two-thirds. He added: "UK businesses continue to struggle with inconsistent and incorrect demands at EU borders, and small businesses have been hardest hit due to the collapse of groupage distribution into the EU. “New EU import requirements for composite products entered into force this week, adding
CEO Mark Schneider has previously acknowledged the consumer trend towards healthier diets but rejected the notion that "processed" foods including those made by Nestlé were often unhealthy. The presentation highlighted several of the company’s products such as a DiGiorno threemeat croissant crust pizza, which includes about 40% of a person's recommended daily allowance of sodium, and a Hot Pockets pepperoni pizza that contains 48%. Separately, strawberry-flavoured Nesquik contains 17g of sugar in one glass along with small amounts of colouring and flavouring. The product, which is designed to be mixed with milk, is described as “perfect at breakfast to get kids ready for the day”. Nestlé said it "is working on a company-wide project to update its pioneering nutrition and health strategy. We are looking at our entire portfolio across the different phases of people’s lives to ensure our products are helping meet their nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet. "Our efforts build on a strong foundation of work over decades . . . For example, we have reduced the sugars and sodium in our products significantly in the past two decades, about 14-15% in the past seven years alone." Visit: www.nestle.com even greater complexity, cost and uncertainty for UK exporters. "It is essential that the EU-UK Partnership Council and its Trade Specialised Committees are convened to urgently address problems with the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure small businesses are not shut out of trade by this trade deal." Earlier today, the European Parliament ratified the post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, though labelled the British decision as a "historic mistake". It is currently unknown what effects this could have on trade between the two parties, but analysts have described it as a "stumbling block" between their trade relationship. Further friction between the two powers may also be the result of the ongoing dispute with AstraZeneca about Covid vaccine deliveries, which, earlier this week the European Commission announced it was seeking legal action over. Visit: www.fdf.org.uk
CONSUMER GOODS NEWS
INDUSTRYNEWS UK Food Businesses Warn Brazilian Congress Over Amazon Land Bill by Steven Gislam
group of over 40 food businesses in the UK have sent an open letter to the members of Brazil's National Congress urging them to reject proposed legislation that could legalise the private occupation of public land, and threatening to stop sourcing goods from the country if it continues. The letter expresses concern about the "extremely high" levels of deforestation in Brazil, which it says could accelerate further if the bill is passed. It also notes the "increasingly inadequate" targets for reduction and budgets to deliver them. The proposed legislation, which is expected to go before the Senate within days, comes just months after the country pledged an end to illegal logging. The open letter has been signed by some of the biggest names in the British food sector including The Co-operative Group, the British Retail Consortium and Greggs, as well as most of the major supermarkets such as Aldi, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's. The companies said that they "consider the Amazon as a vital part of the earth system that’s essential to the security of our planet as well as being a critical part of a prosperous future for Brazilians and all of society." The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and often referred to as the "lungs of the world" due to its critical role in storing carbon and mitigating the effects of climate change. It is reported that levels of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon are the highest they have been since 2008 under the leadership of President Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in 2018. According to the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, some 430,000 acres of the Amazon have been burned or logged this year alone. The majority of the land is cleared for the grazing of cattle for beef exports, or for growing soy, which is used in animal feed.
At last month's virtual Leaders' Summit on Climate, hosted by US President Joe Biden, Bolsonaro pledged to end illegal logging in Brazil. The letter points out that the measures contained in the bill are "counter to the narrative and rhetoric we have seen internationally from Brazil as recently as 22 April 2021 at the summit with US President Joe Biden". The proposed bill, which was put forward by Senator Irajá Filho of the centre-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party, contains measures that would enable the sale of land that has been illegally occupied since 2012, potentially allowing the illegal occupiers to buy it. A raft of similar measures was put forward in a different bill last year which were later withdrawn after a group of over 40 organisations made similar threats to end supply chain sourcing. "The existing protections and land designations enshrined in Brazilian legislation have been instrumental in our organisations having trust that our products, services, investments and business relationships in Brazil are aligned with the commitments we hold as environmentally and socially responsible enterprises, and that our customers and stakeholders expect of us," the letter said. It went on to say that the "door remains open to work with Brazilian partners on supporting the development of sustainable land management and agriculture." The companies also described themselves as "willing partners" in supporting economic development and stressed the importance of upholding Indigenous Peoples' rights. The open letter ended by saying that if this bill or similar measures that undermine existing protections are enshrined into law, they will be left with "no choice but to reconsider our support and use of the Brazilian agricultural commodity supply chain."
EU Competition Watchdog Launches Investigation Into Coca-Cola Co. by Steven Gislam
ntitrust regulators in the EU have commenced a preliminary investigation into The Coca-Cola Company, the European Commission has announced. A Commission spokesperson confirmed that questionnaires had been sent out as part of the investigation. "The preliminary investigation is ongoing. We cannot comment on or predict its timing or outcome," she said, without providing any further details. The soft drinks giant confirmed that it had received a formal request for information. "While we will co-operate fully with the Commission, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further while the process is ongoing. We abide by European competition law, as well as all other applicable laws and regulations," a Coca-Cola spokesperson said.
In a statement, the group's Director-General Christian Verschueren said: "We have for many years pointed to the problems our sector faces with the makers of 'must-have' products using their market power to impose unilateral conditions and limit competition to their advantage. "Coming on top of other recent investigations into the practices of large multinational manufacturers... we are pleased that the Commission has taken up this investigation, which we believe will shed further light on how large suppliers use their market power to the disadvantage of consumers and with no benefit to farmers." He added that the investigation may be connected with allegations about the practice of tying or bundling - whereby Coca-Cola made it compulsory for shops to buy less-popular products - such as Vanilla Coke or Sprite - in order to be able to stock big-sellers such as regular Coke or Fanta.
The news of the investigation was first reported in German retail and consumer goods industry publication Lebensmittelzeitung. This is not the first time the world's mostrecognisable beverage company has been under investigation in the EU. In 2004, the bloc's antitrust authorities concluded a fiveyear investigation into the company's sales practices, which was launched in response to a complaint made by Coca-Cola's historic rival Pepsi. The two sides reached an agreement whereby Coca-Cola would end its practice of forcing retailers to sign "exclusivity agreements", which enabled the company to monopolise the market, by excluding major competitors, as well as the practice of tying or bundling less popular products to its biggest names. Visit: www.coca-colacompany.com Industry Europe 59
Riello, a company specialising in the production and sale of burners for residential, commercial and industrial applications, managed to navigate the crisis of 2020 unscathed. A combination of technological innovation and extensive experience helped the business to sustain its market position. Romana Moares reports.
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ENERGY & UTILITIES
eadquartered in Legnano, Italy, Riello is a major force in the burners and heating sectors and an international expert in combustion technology, offering systems and technology for air-conditioning and heating for all environments. Riello group owns more than 50 patents and seven brands. The group has eight production sites and five research centres, employing around 8,000 people which includes its own employees, external agents and independent distributors. It also owns four permanent organisations abroad and a commercial network of 13 foreign subsidiaries serving thousands of customers in over 120 markets. The Riello organisational model focuses on the quality of its industrial processes and products, business autonomy, effective commercial strategies and service efficiency. The commitment to the company’s core product - the burner - has led Riello to have the industry’s largest and most advanced manufacturing plant in the world, and a modern, highly efficient organisation concentrating on highly qualified technical, industrial and commercial skills.
The group offers a wide range of products: from large powerful burners to produce heat in commercial and industrial applications, to smaller burners for residential applications; from wall-hung and floor-standing boilers to water heaters, air conditioners, system accessories, as well as solar heating, photo-voltaic, geothermal and cogeneration units. Focusing on ways to conserve energy and reduce environmental impact, Riello has prioritised cogeneration and renewable energy use, mostly using solar panels. Today the company offers state-of-the-art technologies for the most sophisticated heating and air-conditioning systems that work in line with new standards in terms of efficiency, reduced energy consumption and environmental protection.
The Polish foothold Its direct presence through subsidiaries is critical in markets considered to be particularly strategic in terms of volumes, required product characteristics and the specific nature of the territory and the economic scenario.
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In Poland, the group is represented by several brands across several market segments: the Beretta brand - rooted in Poland as a major producer of reliable condensing boilers for heating homes, apartments and companies; the Riello brand - a supplier of gas and oil burners for many market segments from the food sector to heavy industry; and the Sylber brand - condensing boilers available in DIY stores. Riello’s story in Poland began at the turn of the century, when the company opened a green-field facility in Toruń (northern Poland) in 2001, focused on the production of Beretta condensing boilers. Since then, the product range has expanded to include wall-hung boilers and water heaters. Today, RUG (Riello Urządzenia Grzewcze S.A.) in Toruń employs over 400 people and enjoys a growing market position. Riello’s second Polish production facility in Wrocław, opened not long after RUG, is today the number one producer of burners in Poland. RUG Riello competes with the quality of its products, its flexible response to market demand, technical support to customers and product innovation. The company’s core asset, however, is its experienced staff who design and manufacture comprehensive solutions from gas and oil burners and condensing boiler solutions and modern control devices.
The product offering has recently been expanded to include the BREVA air conditioner, a new wall mounted split air conditioner with R32 environmentally friendly refrigerant reaching the A++ efficiency class, which reduces operating costs. The new product is offered in 4 versions for the greatest comfort and maximum efficiency. Just recently the company has launched another new product range - Hydronic Unit B HE air-to-water heat pumps. The Unit B is a quiet mono-block heat pump with compact dimensions, designed for installation in single-family houses. The unit includes a rotary DC inverter compressor, electronic expansion valve, fans with a brushless EC motor and a finned coil with a hydrophilic coating. The pump can work with external temperatures down to –20 °C. The Hydronic Unit B HE pump can be installed as a stand-alone heat source or be part of a hybrid system. More innovations are in the pipeline. The company’s strategy for the coming years is very simple: offering the best products and the best service, caring for the environment and continuing development n and improvement in each area of the company’s business.
Green innovations Recent innovations include the BeSmart App - a remote control for the operation and programming of the boiler and thermostat, providing full control and diagnosis of boilers at a distance, and enabling definition of different heating zones with individual programming of temperature and operating hours. Industry Europe 63
TECHNOLOGY MEETS TRADITION For nearly a century, LOVATO Electric has been designing and manufacturing low-voltage electrical devices for industrial applications. The last four decades have been a period of persistent international expansion, which even a global pandemic has not hindered. In 2020, LOVATO expanded its family of companies with LOVATO Electric in Switzerland. Romana Moares reports.
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ounded in 1922 in Bergamo, Italy, LOVATO Electric is a privatelyowned company, and has been managed by the same family of entrepreneurs for four generations. LOVATO Electric was amongst the first Italian companies to achieve ISO 9001 certification in 1992. Today, the company offers a range of more than 20,000 products complying with the strictest requirements of international standards. Motor protection circuit breakers, contactors, pushbuttons, switch disconnectors, limit switches, digital multi-meters, energy meters, soft starters, AC motor drives, automatic power factor controllers and engine and generator controllers are just a few of the products designed and built by LOVATO Electric. The company’s mission is to provide competitive products and services in industrial automation and energy management and being close to its customers is part of this mission. LOVATO opened its first factory outside Italy in 1979 and international expansion has continued until the present day. The company’s 15 international subsidiaries and a network of over 90 importers ensure the availability of LOVATO Electric products in more than 100 countries across all continents.
New offering A focus on continuously innovating the product range has helped pushed the company’s growth and expansion. LOVATO’s R&D laboratory, specialised in R&D testing, was born of the need to expand
the company’s testing capabilities for the development of new highperformance products, ensuring the highest standards of safety and reliability while reducing time to market. The laboratory, which is accredited by LOVAG, allows LOVATO to carry out tests independently of third parties, and thus to have the quality of its products under direct control. The state-of-the-art laboratory makes LOVATO Electric one of the elite manufacturers of low-voltage switchgear in the world. Unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has launched a number of new products in recent months. In May, a new solution was introduced for power generation applications - an alternative to the UPS solution. This is the PMVFUPS01, a modular backup power supply for DIN rail installation, powered at 230V AC, which ensures continuous operation thanks to its use of capacitor technology. This accumulator device is also completely maintenance-free in comparison to battery-powered UPS systems, the operation of which must be constantly checked, thus incurring costs in terms both of time and money. In April, LOVATO Electric’s offering of modular solutions was expanded with a new range of 1 to 4 pole switch disconnectors. The new P1MS units are the ideal solution for all applications requiring the disconnection and isolation of electrical lines. They are primarily used in distribution enclosures, but are also often installed on board the machine itself.
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ENERGY & UTILITIES
Designed with the typical form of lever-actuated modular switches, this new product family solves the critical requirement to disconnect power so that operators and service technicians can work on a machine in complete safety. They are fully compatible with products mounted in electrical enclosures with modular windows like miniature circuit breakers, residual current-operated circuit breakers with overload protection and residual current-operated circuit breakers.
Expanded reach These innovations, together with many others, including the AC3 contactors for 160A to 230A, the compact and easily configurable ADXN series soft starters, and the new series of pushbuttons and selector switches are included in the new comprehensive but easyto-use 2021-2022 general catalogue, just published. With over 20,000 articles grouped into 31 product families, the catalogue showcases the wide range of the company’s offering and its latest solutions for industrial automation and energy manage-
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ment. The cover celebrates the company’s 100th anniversary, featuring the skyline of Città Alta in the city of Bergamo, where LOVATO Electric was born and still has its headquarters. But it is not just the product range that has been expanded. Last year, LOVATO Electric announced the opening in Switzerland of its 15th subsidiary, LOVATO Electric AG. The new subsidiary is located close to Zurich and has both sales offices and a warehouse. The staff are well-trained and boast lengthy and broad experience in the Swiss electrotechnical market. The aim of this operation is to reinforce the LOVATO Electric brand in the Swiss market while offering even better service to its clients in terms of technical sales support and speedy deliveries. This is in line with the company’s philosophy, which has remained unchanged throughout its history, as confirmed by Managing Director Massimiliano Cacciavillani: “Making reliable, innovative products and offering services to meet customer expectations has been our company’s n mission for four generations.”
New developments in Energy & Utilities
Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Record High, Despite Pandemic by Ash Jones
evels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have reached their highest point since records began, according to the latest tests taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at its observatory in Hawaii. Scientists from both the NOAA and Scripps Institution for Oceanography at the University of San Diego, California revealed levels for May peaked at just short of 420 parts per million (ppm), the highest level since they began taking measurements in 1958 despite the effects the pandemic had on global carbon levels. The coronavirus pandemic actively reduced global consumption as industry ground to a halt and fewer people commuted to work or travelled casually. The various lockdowns reduced overall carbon emissions, but not by nearly as much as was expected. Emissions levels fell by 6.4% for 2020. This level is significant but fell short of the reductions predicted by many climate scientists. While the year-to-year increase of CO2 levels was 1.8 ppm in the May CO2 peak, seeing a reduction from the years prior, levels taken during the first five months of 2021 saw an average 2.3 ppm increase when compared to the same period last year. The metric used to measure CO2 levels is referred to as the "Keeling scale," named after the first scientist to begin taking measurements at the facility, Charles David Keeling.
The facility is currently perched on top of the Mauna Loa volcano, which forms an integral part of the island of Hawaii. It stands as a benchmark for modern measurements of atmospheric carbon levels. He added: “That is a mountain of carbon that we dig up out of the Earth, burn, and release into the atmosphere as CO2 - year after year. If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution to zero at the earliest possible date.” Atmospheric carbon levels are now comparable to what they were 4 million years ago during the so-called "Pliocene Climatic Optimum" - a period of intense global warming, also known as an "interglacial period" - where sea levels averaged 73 metres higher than they do today. This could mean a bad sign for the polar ice caps, of which greenhouse emissions hasten the melting process, leading to a rise in sea levels and excess freshwater entering the world's ocean, which could lead to a disruption of the ocean currents that control the weather for much of the globe. Global temperatures during the Pliocene Optimum averaged 7°F higher than pre-industrial times. Tans concluded: "The solution is right before our eyes. Solar energy and wind are already cheaper than fossil fuels and they work at the scales that are required. If we take real action soon, we might still be able to avoid catastrophic climate change.”
Possible avenues to tackling the issue include an increase in carbon capture technology, either through traditional means, such as planting forests or investing in new technologies to sequester excess carbon released into the atmosphere. These technologies are considered essential in the journey towards net-zero as more global leaders look to set themselves climate goals as part of their pandemic recovery schemes. However, some climate goals are not as ambitious as others, with many leaving enough room to take very little action regarding their carbon footprints. Royal Dutch Shell was recently forced to increase its carbon emissions targets by a Dutch court following a landmark case brought by climate activist group Friends of the Earth. This has left room open for legal intervention for other key energy players whose climate goals are not ambitious enough to meet the global net-zero requirements. It also marks the first time a court has imposed stricter carbon emissions. Visit: www.noaa.gov Credit: Pexabay / Pexels
Governments And Businesses "Must Work" Together To Meet Climate Goals by Ash Jones
joint report from Orsted and the World Resources Institute (WRI) has declared that global governments and the private sector must work together to speed up decarbonisation efforts and incentivise investment in renewable energy. It claims the current rate of adoption for renewable energy is not enough to ensure the world meets net-zero targets and much of the technological push in this field will be driven by private companies as they transition to greener methods. The report indicates a number of ways "barriers" to adoption could be reduced for companies. This includes reforms to planning and permitting policy, and pushing for "market instruments" to increase investments in the necessary technologies. 68 Industry Europe
A major priority for nations is the complete decarbonisation of the energy sector, with a particular emphasis on green electricity. This represents a burgeoning technology market that is currently not on track to be able to avert the worst effects of climate change, the report states. Challenges that inhibit decarbonisation have been split into three major categories: investments that lack market calalysation; lack of public support for renewable development; and incompatible or inadequate grid structure. The report suggests the adoption of longterm climate goals and an "enabling environment" - likely referring to tax incentives of stimulus packages - to help drive development while investing in modern grid systems and
improving planning infrastructure and increasing public engagement. Manish Bapna, the President of the WRI and Mads Nipper, Orsted's CEO, issued a joint statement: "There has never been a more decisive moment for the energy transition. Analysis shows that the world must produce nearly six times more renewable energy by 2030 to avoid the worst climate impacts. "60 countries and counting have committed to zero carbon targets and nearly 1,500 companies have adopted science-based emission reduction targets. We must now focus on the enabling environment that will unlock capital at scale for renewable energy." Read the full story at: industryeurope.com
ENERGY & UTILITIES NEWS
Global Renewable Capacity Sees 45% Climb For 2020 by Ash Jones
lobal renewable energy capacity grew by 45% to almost 280 GW for 2020, seeing the highest year of growth since 1999, according to the latest data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The "Renewable Energy Market Update 2021: Outlook for 2021 and 2022" report suggests renewables were the only sector to sustain growth during the coronavirus pandemic, which also saw the price of traditional fossil fuels continue to fluctuate. The price of oil also fell below zero for the first time in history last April before quickly rebounding back above $1. The IEA predicts that exceptionally high capacity additions will become the "new normal" from 2021 onwards with renewables accounting for 90% of new power expansions globally coming out of the pandemic. Around 270GW of new renewable energy is on track for installation in 2021, the report shows, followed by a further 280GW for 2022. The analysts said previous forecasts have been raised compared to the latest estimates, released in November. World governments auctioned record capacities this year, although analysts report significant investment will be required in order to reach the Paris Climate Agreement's targets. Global wind additions doubled last year to approximately 114GW. This graph represents global renewable capacity increases between 2011 and the 2022 forecasts. Credit: IEA Markets such as China are due to see slight decreases as demand drops slightly, and the European renewables market has been aided by a boom in the corporate PPA market, the research suggests.
The updated forecast for the United States is more optimistic because of federal tax credit extensions. New US emissions reduction targets and the infrastructure bill, if passed, will boost renewables expansion after 2022. Furthermore, India is expected to reach new records for capacity for 2021 and 2022 after seeing a decline of almost 50% in 2020 as delayed projects from previous competitive auctions are commissioned. The IEA also predict that solar PV installation will continue to break records, with annual additions reaching 162 GW by 2022 - representing a 50% rise on 2019 levels. This has seen a particular increase in counties such as Spain, which are increasing reliance on self-generation. The report also suggests the synthetic biofuels - particularly the US's globally-supported Hydrotreated Vegetal Oil (HVO) project - will continue to increase going forward, although the report that transport biofuel production is expected to bounce back in 2021. However, there are concerns renewable capacity is not increasing at levels adequate to meet the climate goals laid out by a number of nations. A report released last month by WindEurope suggests the EU alone will need to install 27GW of new wind capacity per year in order to meet its 2030 climate goals. €43 billion was invested into new wind farms in 2020 alone, representing roughly 20GW in extra capacity. Furthermore, another report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) suggests global capacity needs to move at least three times faster within the same timeframe in order to meet the various net-zero targets. Visit: www.iea.org
Biden Approves US's First Major Wind Farm by Ash Jones
he US is hoping to catch up to Europe in terms of domestically-produced offshore wind as Biden approves the construction of the nation's first major wind farm. The 800 MW "Vineyard project," set to be located off the coast of Massachusetts, will contain 84 turbines and may create enough energy to power over 400,000 homes and businesses. The US president recently pledged to make climate change a national priority and bills this as the first major step in creating a sustainable energy industry that will help the US move away from carbon-heavy industries. However, the decision has been met with a swift rebuttal by the local fishing industry who claim the project could have calamitous effects on local fish populations owing to increased vessel traffic. While standards groups claim their pleas have fallen on deaf ears, the developers claim they will take every precaution to minimise the environmental impact.
President Biden has revealed the US's plan to install 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, in order to allow the country to better deal with the effects of climate change in an attempt to meet similar climate targets set out globally in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement. The government are also drafting up proposals for two further farms, located in New York state. “A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States," said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the Administration's goals to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation." “Today is one of many actions we are determined to take to open the doors of economic opportunity to more Americans," she added. This news comes in stark contrast to former President Trump, who often downplayed the effects of global warming in a bid to increase the US's fossil fuel industry, which has faltered under the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump cancelled the Vineyard project's planning process late last year, but it was resumed by Biden once he took office. The administration claims the plans to build America's new wind power infrastructure will create thousands of living wage-paying jobs and "positioning the US to be a leader in renewable energy." The $12 billion is being spearheaded via a joint venture between Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Prior to construction, Vineyard Wind must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report. These engineering and technical reports provide specific details for how the facility will be fabricated and installed in accordance with the approved Construction and Operations Plan. The project is expected to be up and running by 2023, according to the developers. Industry Europe 69
A HEALING EXPERIENCE
Mölnlycke is a world-leading manufacturer of wound care and singleuse surgical products and a major service provider to the healthcare sector. In response to increased demand for its advanced solutions, the company is expanding its global operations.
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riginally founded in 1849 as a textile company in Gothenburg, Sweden, today Mölnlycke is a global healthcare solutions provider with 17 modern manufacturing plants in Europe, the United States and Asia. The company’s products can be found in over 100 countries worldwide. Although a global company, its headquarters continue to be in Gothenburg – just a short distance from the town of Mölnlycke, the place where the company was founded in 1849 and the origin of the Mölnlycke name. The company is a healthcare products pioneer. It was in the 1940s that Mölnlycke first entered the field for which it is now so highly regarded throughout the world – that of wound care products. Since then, Mölnlycke has introduced a range of revolutionary products and that focus on innovations is what keeps the company at the forefront today. The company’s core business lies in two areas: Wound Care and Surgical Solutions. In Wound Care, Mölnlycke has a portfolio of solutions designed to help wounds heal effectively and efficiently. Over the coming years, the company plans to expand its focus on key therapy areas, such as pressure ulcers and skin tears, and develop existing and new product platforms based on customer needs.
In the Surgical Solutions initiatives, the key drivers for growth are the global focus on staff protection and infection prevention, and improving healthcare economics to meet the customer need for increased efficiency in the operating room. The portfolio includes surgical gloves, masks, gowns, antiseptics and many others.
Asia Expansion Given last year’s unprecedented developments and the skyrocketing rise in the need for medical solutions, the company has invested in further business growth. In early 2021, Mölnlycke saw the start of construction of its new surgical glove factory in Malaysia, increasing its manufacturing capacity to ensure that it can continue to satisfy the growing demand for Biogel® gloves. Malaysia is the home of Mölnlycke’s surgical glove business. The company currently has four manufacturing plants. In recognition of the company’s long-term ambitions for Biogel, one of the plants will be relocating to a new site with a built-on area of 31,000m2, increasing total glove manufacturing capacity by 60% The first gloves are expected to roll off the lines in May 2022. When fully operational, the new factory is expected to employ some 800 Mölnlycke employees, who will benefit from the high standard of working conditions at Mölnlycke.
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In addition to production lines, the plant will include a 4,000 m2 office building, housing R&D offices for Biogel gloves, several laboratories, the APAC IT service desk, a cafeteria and other facilities. JC Guillou, General Manager of Mölnlycke Health Care Sdn. Bhd., commented: “This is a great milestone for Mölnlycke Health Care Sdn Bhd. This significant investment shows the board’s support for, and confidence in the future of the gloves franchise business and in our execution capability. This new plant will show Mölnlycke as a modern, responsible and attractive company and help retain and attract new talent. This is more than ever a great time to be part of the Mölnlycke family.”
Solid platform Unlike many companies decimated by last year’s pandemic restrictions across various industries, Mölnlycke achieved strong organic sales growth in 2020, as documented in its recently published Annual Report. This was partly through supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the company also welcomed its new CEO Zlatko Rihter, launched its innovative Advance® Solo battery-powered single-use negative pressure wound therapy solution, and opened a new UK distribution centre, strengthening customer access to quality Mölnlycke products via a new, more robust supply chain solution delivering environmental benefits. Mr Rihter summarises last year’s developments: “2020 was dominated by Covid-19. To provide healthcare professionals and patients with vital face masks, isolation gowns and other protection, Mölnlycke employees worked around the clock, supported by our network of contract manufacturers and raw materials suppliers. In spite of Covid-19, our base business grew year on year and we managed to keep close to customers by engaging digitally and offering professional training online.” 72 Industry Europe
“We continued to invest in people, processes and documentation to make sure our business is fit for the future. We developed our commercial capabilities in both new and traditional markets and overhauled our product lifecycle management tool.” He affirmed that with the pandemic expected to recede during 2021, the company will slowly move towards a new normal, with the ambition to grow by increasing sales of bordered foams, trays and single-pack staff clothing and protection. “2020 has seen us strengthen our relationships with all our stakeholders. These relationships, coupled with our product portfolio, pipeline planning and internal investments, give us a solid platform n for the future.”
Simplifying logistics during the
pandemic led to successful
delivery of 384 million face masks In a turbulent logistics market, heavily impacted by the worldwide pandemic, creativity and a “can-do” attitude was essential when leading medical supplies company, Mölnlycke, needed to move large quantities of face masks, hospital gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to Europe.
ince the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for PPE in the health sector has been enormous in order to respond to the virus. As such, Mölnlycke needed to move large quantities of PPE from China to Europe with a high degree of urgency. During the past year, Scan Global Logistics has supported this urgency delivering the spectacular amount of 384 million face masks and 17.5 million hospital gowns among other PPE goods. Mölnlycke awarded Scan Global Logistics a certifi74 Industry Europe
cate of excellence in honour of the results obtained from going the extra mile. With capacity and disruption challenges in the transportation industry, the typical mode of ocean freight, was not a viable solution for shipping. Therefore, alternative means of transportation had to be found, while still sticking to the existing logistics budget from Mölnlycke. With container capacities going down, and prices going up, Scan Global Logistics was confronted with yet another obstacle. “At Scan Global Logistics, we are problem-solvers by heart, so this challenge was more than welcome. We want to bring a human approach to everyone, everywhere, and especially in this case we have certainly proved that no system or formula can compensate for the energy of good people. We have been proactive and flexible, enabling Mölnlycke to respond quickly to their
customers’ requirements,” says Kim Fischer, Corporate EVP Global Sales and Strategic Accounts at Scan Global Logistics. One of the key ingredients for succeeding was an entrepreneurial mindset involving teams across Denmark, China, Japan, and Malaysia. With global buying power, transport was bought where it was available, adapting the solution to the mode of transport, making it possible to minimise costs and deliver fast. By utilising the available ocean freight capacity and opting to send the rest of the goods by rail freight, the result included four dedicated block trains going out of China. One of these block trains was the first of its kind departing from the station in China, showcasing the entrepreneurial mindset from Scan Global Logistics of finding completely new departure points in China and thus succeeding n with the delivery.
New developments in Healthcare
Jazz Pharmaceuticals Break Into Cannabis Medicines With GW Purchase by Ash Jones
ublin-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals has agreed to purchase GW Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in cannabis-based medicines from the UK in a $7.2 billion deal in a bid to expand its neuroscience division. The deal is expected to come into fruition in the second quarter of 2021 and will give Jazz access to Epidiolex, a drug developed by GW to treat childhood epilepsy, which became the first cannabinoid to receive US approval in 2018. There have been greater moves across the globe for the legalisation of both medicinal and recreational marijuana use, providing a fastgrowing pharmaceutical market, particularly in the EU and North America. Medicinal marijuana use was legalised in the UK in November 2018 following several highprofile cases of children suffering from epilepsy having their symptoms reduced through the use of cannabis oil.
Cannabis use has also been linked with the ability to cure chronic pain and is often prescribed for conditions such as arthritis. Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, said: "We are joining two teams that share a passion for, and track record of, developing differentiated therapies that advance science and transform the lives of patients. This will help facilitate a successful integration and bring added capabilities to Jazz. "Given the strength of our balance sheet and the meaningful financial drivers of the transaction, we are confident in the value we can deliver to both companies' shareholders and patients. We look forward to welcoming the GW team to Jazz to build an even stronger company." Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, said: "We have a shared vision of developing and commercializing innovative medicines that address significant unmet needs in neuroscience and an approach of putting patients first.
Together, we will have an opportunity to reach and impact more patients through a broader portfolio of neuroscience-focused therapies than ever before." Jazz wishes to expand its portfolio to include treatment for things such as sleeping disorders, oncology and various epilepsies. Visit: www.jazzpharma.com Source: Flickr
Sensyne Health Gets Approval For AI Covid Test Algorithm by Ash Jones
ritish biotech company Sensyne Health has received regulatory approval in the UK for the first of a string of machine learning algorithms for Covid-19 risk prediction. The programme, known under the codename of "SYNE-COV," analyses over 60 variables in the patient electronic health record to generate a prediction of the likelihood of a Covid-positive patient developing a severe disease - those requiring intensive care of excess ventilation. The prediction, alongside solutions, are presented to doctors and health professionals to offer bespoke management options for patients admitted to hospitals with a Covid infection. SYNE-COV was developed in collaboration with Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and will now be offered to NHS Trusts across the UK. It is the first algorithm of its kind to be given approval in the UK. The UK has currently vaccinated around 15 million people, but active cases continue to be high. The program could help alleviate some of the stress on healthcare services are facing before cases begin to plataeu. The government hopes to have most people in the UK vaccinated by June 21 and is planning on slowly easing lockdown restriction between now and then. Dominic Conlin, a hospital director for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re excited by the possibilities this offers. This is individualised care by using patients’ own data to stratify risks and predict responses to clinical treatments, informing and Industry Europe 76
supporting clinical decision making. This is a real step in taking forward digital innovation, data integration and analytics to enhance patient care in the NHS.” Lord Paul Drayson PhD, theCEO of Sensyne Health, said: “This is the first Sensyne Clinical AI algorithm to achieve regulatory approval that has been developed using our SENSE clinical AI platform. "The SENSE engine is expected to be able to generate clinical algorithms across a range of medical conditions that will provide real-time clinical decision making support. Achieving the first regulatory approval is an important milestone for the Company and we look forward to being able to roll SYNE-COV out to the NHS.” Visit: www.sensynehealth.com
UK Regulators To Review AstraZeneca's €32bn Alexion Buyout by Steven Gislam
he UK's competition regulator is reviewing AstraZeneca's €31.9 billion acquisition of US biopharma company Alexion amid concerns it could lead to reduced competition in Britain or elsewhere. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has invited interested parties to comment on the deal in order to help it make an assessment with a deadline of June 3 for submissions. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca, which became a household name with its Covid-19 vaccine, agreed to the Alexion purchase in
December 2020 in its largest deal ever. The move was seen as a bet on rare disease and immunology drugs as well as a push to diversify from its rapidly-growing cancer business. AstraZeneca shareholders approved the proposed purchase at a general meeting earlier this month. The deal has already been cleared in other countries including the US, Brazil, Canada and Russia. "The commencement of the UK CMA’s formal review is another important step towards the closing of the proposed acquisition, which we continue to expect will be in the third quarter of 2021," said an AstraZeneca representative. Alexion's top-selling drug Soliris is used to combat a range of rare immune disorders including paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, which causes anaemia and blood clots. AstraZeneca hopes an improved version of the medicine will have even greater market potential and expects to boost growth by introducing Alexion's rare-disease drugs to China and other emerging markets. Visit: alexion.com
Covid Vaccine Shelf Life May Create Supply Vacuums by Ash Jones
lobal Covid vaccine rollout has come across a major pitfall as inefficiencies in rollout have caused some vaccines to expire past their shelf life before they could be administered to the public. This has most recently been seen in Malawi. which was forced to burn a little under 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last month despite assurances that the shelf life would allow for rollout. Many shots in the nation were marked with an expiry date of April 13, although the manufacturer has hinted it may be safe to use the vaccines for a further three months. The country's health minister Khumbize Chiponda revealed the country will be extending the shelf life of the vaccines to "maintain confidence" in the vaccination scheme. There have been issues of wealthier countries hoarding vaccines, which could create a significant supply vacuum should more doses fail to reach particularly vulnerable places. Many of these countries also have far worse healthcare access, likely meaning the general death toll and effects from the Covid pandemic will be far more severe. A March report from UNAids claimed that, at the time, many richer countries were vaccinating one person every second, whereas poorer
nations had yet to inoculate a single person. This has since changed as a result of vaccine intervention schemes from major players such as the EU, which is allowing for a supply of vaccines - albeit in relatively small numbers - to reach poorer countries. The topic of vaccines expiry dates is causing issues worldwide. The issue has caused some countries to manually extend the shelf life of major vaccines in order to allow for rollout and prevent surplus vaccines from falling out of use. Health Canada on Sunday revealed that its plans to push back the expiry date of nearly 50,000 vaccines from May 30 to July first was "backed by science." A spokesperson for the firm estimated there were 49,000 AstraZeneca shots with a May 31 expiry date. Officials had previously approved a six-month shelf life or AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine. More than 55% of Canada's population has been inoculated since vaccine rollout began a few months ago. As of the latest estimates by the Canadian "Covid tracker" app, 91% of all vaccines delivered to the provinces have been delivered. On May 20, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved a
design that improves vaccine storage, which is set to allow an increase in vaccine storage from 5 to 30 days, the government claims. This specifically applies to the Pfizer/BioNTech shot, which should make longer-range transportation easier and allow for greater efficiency when giving out shots. Hong Kong is also reportedly struggling to vaccinate its large population, Hawaii Public Radio reports. These shortfalls are primarily attributed to the jabs' expiry date and not supply, as the city-state looks to administer jabs to its 7.5 million residents. Hong Kong commenced vaccine rollout back in February and has currently inoculated over 2.5 million residents. As of May 30, more than 1.8 billion Covid vaccine doses have been given to people worldwide. China, the US, India, Brazil and the UK currently lead in terms of doses given, all with over 60 million jabs deployed.
Credit: AlexRaths Industry Europe 77
New developments in Metals & Mining
Rare Buckwheat Provides Hurdle For US Lithium Mining by Ash Jones
rare wildflower endemic to western Nevada may hinder progress for the US's lithium mining sector following a US environmental agency proposal to list it as endangered, which should provide some degree of legal protection. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced last Thursday it will be seeking to list the Tiehm's Buckwheat under the US's Endangered Species Act, reflecting ongoing tensions between environmentalists and US industry as the nation looks to decarbonise key sectors. If successful, the listing will not immediately halt the project, but it may hinder funding and permitting, which could have severe effects on the project and its future. The land is currently being developed by Sydney-based Ioneer. The company aims to mine the land for lithium to be used in lithiumion batteries, as part of the "Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron" project which was slated to commence construction this year and begin operations in 2023. The company claims this project contains the largest lithium reserves in the US. If completed, it should be able to provide lithium for 400,000
electric car batteries a year, as well as boron for use in wind turbine production. Ioneer also claims it will remain committed to the future of sustainable mining. Another proposed lithium mine in Nevada, Thacker Pass, is also facing pressure from conservation groups, according to the FT. The agency claims the damage the mining sector could do to the Tiehm's buckwheat could be "irreversible" and "permanent" in a statement on Thursday. The New Scientist claims only around 40,000 specimens of the flower remain in the wild, likely due to its small range. A recent incursion by local squirrels, as well as the mining project, could stand to reduce the flower's population by anywhere from 70% to 88%, the wildlife agency claims. US President Joe Biden announced last week he intends to look abroad for key metals for automotive electrification in a bid to placate environmentalists. The FWS's proposal is currently open for public discussion and could come into effect by the end of the year. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy
Director Martha Williams said the agency remains committed to protecting the US's wildlife and fauna. "[We hope] to work with diverse federal, Tribal, state and industry partners to not only protect and recover America’s imperilled wildlife but to ensure cornerstone laws like the Endangered Species Act are helping us meet 21st-century challenges. “We look forward to continuing these conservation collaborations and to ensuring our efforts are fully transparent and inclusive.” Ioneer issued a statement supporting the decision to list Tiehm's Buckwheat as endangered, adding that it was taking "every precaution" to minimise the impact its mining will have on the flower's population. "We fully support and share the FWS's commitment to protect and preserve Tiehm's buckwheat," it added. "The latest finding was in line with our expectation, and we support the FWS's deliberations on a final listing decision." "The process will provide greater certainty around our schedule and diminish the prospect of future litigation," it added. The mining firm also said the flower is being threatened by animals, drought and climate change. Visit: www.fws.gov
Poland Signs 'Historic' Deal To Close All Coal Mines By 2049 by Steven Gislam
Source: Kamil Porembiński / Flickr
he government of Poland and several trade unions have signed an agreement with the coal mining sector for the phasing out of coal production by 2049. The deal, which will involve severance payments for workers in the Silesia coal basin, marks the first time the country's powerful coal sector has agreed to reductions. The state assets ministry, which negotiated with the sector on the government's behalf, described the deal as a "historic agreement". However, the agreed subsidies for the coal miners represent a large budgetary burden for the state. It is also not clear whether the move will be in violation of EU regulations related to subsidies to industries that are being phased out.
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"It is hard to be satisfied when you are liquidating such an important industry," said Dominik Kolorz, head of the Solidarity union, to the national daily, Gazeta Wyborcza. "We did what we needed to do, which was to assist the workers," Kolorz said, adding, "It's not like everything ends today. We have a lot of work to do to create alternative jobs." The agreement was signed on Wednesday 28 April in Katowice, a city in the coal heartland of Silesia, in the country's south. The action has made way for approval by the European Commission, with the final signing expected in May. Employment in the coal sector has become a politically charged topic in Poland. The country is dependent on the fossil fuel industry for around 70% of its energy needs, though it is planning to bring that number down to 11% by 2040. From there, the country would need to end its use completely before the EU-wide deadline of 2050. The 2049 deadline has been criticised by environmentalists as not being early enough. The coal sector is experiencing a decline in most parts of the world, with the prices of renewable energy sources dropping and the public increasingly rejecting the continued use of environmentally damaging fossil fuels. Polish coal is also becoming increasingly uncompetitive, with stockpiles being common as the country imports cheaper coal from Russia and elsewhere.
METALS & MINING NEWS
INDUSTRYNEWS Russian Gold Miner Polyus Claims It Now Uses 100% Renewable Energy by Steven Gislam Source RusHydro
ussian gold miner Polyus has acquired I-REC green certificates to offset emissions from the remaining share of its energy consumption that is not yet met by renewable sources. The company claims that this, combined with the large-scale hydropower contracts signed earlier this year, Polyus now covers 100% of its electricity demand with renewable energy. The certificates acquired by the group for Q1 2021 represent a total of 303.5 GWh produced from renewable energy sources. Polyus says that it now expects the amount of I-REC certificates purchased to begin declining in the second quarter of 2021 following the
recent agreement for the supply of environmentally friendly hydropower its Krasnoyarsk Business Unit. Polyus CEO, Pavel Grachev, said: “Polyus has now become the first major gold mining company globally to cover all of its electricity needs with renewable energy sources." "We hope that both Russian and international peers will be encouraged to follow our lead in supporting the advancement of renewables, which is in all of our interests,” he added. I-REC certificates represent documented records of certain amounts of energy produced from renewable sources. Certificates can be issued by energy producers and purchased by third-party legal entities. I-REC certificates are a standardised and globally recognised mechanism to compensate for emissions and support the advancement of renewable energy. Polyus says it intends to continue to purchase I-REC certificates to fully offset the energy consumed from non-renewable sources. In this way, the group aim to cover 100% of the electricity it consumes via direct green energy supply and the purchase of I-REC certificates. Acquiring green certificates represents one of the mechanisms for Polyus to implement its long-term transition to renewable energy, as part of its decarbonisation pathway. The Company said in a press release that it is currently developing its climate strategy which will comprise of a set of measures related to renewable energy. Visit: polyus.com
Anglo American Explores 3D Printed Mining Tech by Ash Jones
ining giant Anglo American has partnered with the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and US-based Ivaldi to explore the possibility of distributing spare mining parts and processing equipment manufactured using 3D printing. The company is looking at branching into a digitally distributed supply chain, including manufacturing, testing and shipping the parts as well as assessing its current inventory of spare parts at its operations based in South Africa. Essential mining components such as impellers for pumps, shaft sleeves, gasket bonnet valves, and mining rock drill bits may soon form part of the mining giant's digital supply chain as it looks to bolster local businesses and forms part of the backbone of its push towards sustainability. Known as the "Collaborative Regional Development" (CRD) scheme, it looks to provide economic stability for local communities beyond the lifetime of a mine, the company claims.
Anglo American launched the Impact Catalyst in 2019 together with its partners the CSIR, Exxaro, Zutari, World Vision SA and the provincial government of Limpopo. The company also announced its "FutureSmart Mining" programme earlier this month, which looks to address the common issue of environmental footprint within the mining sector. Mining is currently one of the world's largest polluters and many key industry players are looking to shift towards more carbonefficient operations. As part of this, Anglo American has looked to explore a South African hydrogen valley with energy company ENGIE to help power its operations at a platinum mine in the Bushveld area in South Africa. The miner has also demerged its coal operations in the country as it looks to shift towards decarbonisation. Anglo American's head of socioeconomic development Matthew Chadwick said this programme provides them with a "unique"
opportunity for innovation and to help support local communities in the future. He added: “The ability to send files – not physical spare parts – will reduce our carbon footprint, delivery lead times and logistics costs. Importantly, this has the clear potential to create industrial and service jobs for host communities and surrounding regions through on-demand manufacturing systems to produce spare parts locally." Ivaldi's CEO Espen Sivertsen said that digital distribution forms a "key part" of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. "We are now practically demonstrating that there are significant savings for businesses and a net positive impact for the environment and associated communities," he added. Visit: www.csir.co.za Industry Europe 79
New developments in Politics & Economics
Nord Stream 2 Complete And Ready To Be Filled With Gas, Says Putin by Steven Gislam
ussia has completed the first line of its controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Germany, President Vladimir Putin has said during an address to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The €9.9 billion project - the longest subsea gas pipeline in the world - is expected to pump around 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany every year, doubling Russian exports to Europe's largest economy. "The first line of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was completed today, two and a half hours ago. The work on its second line continues," Putin told attendees during the plenary session at the Forum. He said that some pipes on the Russian side still needed lifting and welding, but the actual pipe-laying was complete. "Gazprom is ready to fill Nord Stream 2 with gas," he said during the speech, adding that the project "will ensure energy security and reliable gas supplies for the Europeans." "We are ready to implement similar high-tech projects with our European and other partners in the future, and we hope that the logic of mutual benefit and mutual profit will inevitably prevail over all sorts of artificial barriers in the current political environment." The pipeline was initially scheduled to start pumping gas at the end of 2019 but has faced fierce international opposition with delays and setbacks caused by planning permission issues, and financial and legal sanctions imposed by the US and some EU states. Some eastern European countries, especially Poland and Ukraine, have vehemently opposed Nord Stream 2 citing concerns over the EU's energy security as well as the impact that losing lucrative gas transit fees would have on the Ukrainian economy.
In April 2019, Denmark's Energy Agency put a temporary stop on the project's construction, calling for an environmental impact assessment to be carried out on a different route to the two originally proposed through its waters. In early 2020, a Trump administration defence bill placing sanctions on companies working on Nord Stream 2 was passed by the US Senate, which led a number of European firms to pull out, most notably Swiss contractor Allseas. This led to Gazprom having to refit some of its ships to lay the remaining pipeline itself. The news comes less than two weeks before Putin is due to meet US President Joe Biden in Geneva for talks aiming to ease tensions between Russia and the west. Last month, in a tacit admission that Washington was unable to prevent the pipeline's completion, Biden announced the waiving of further sanctions against the pipeline's operator. Berlin has been backed the pipeline since its inception, despite the opposition. The first Nord Stream pipeline was approved in Germany by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who signed the deal in the weeks before departing office. After completing his tenure as chancellor, Schröder accepted the nomination by Gazprom to sit as the head of the Nord Stream 2 AG shareholders' committee, which raised questions in Berlin over a potential conflict of interest. In 2016, he was made manager of Nord Stream 2 AG. During his speech, Putin also addressed accusations that Russia is not interested in environmental issues. "This is nonsense, a myth, and sometimes outright distortion. Like other countries, we feel the risks and threats in this area, including desertification, soil erosion and melting permafrost. Many of those here work in the Arctic and know that we have entire cities built on permafrost in the Arctic. If it all starts to thaw, what consequences will Russia face? Of course, we are concerned," he said. Visit: forumspb.com
EU Suspends Investment Deal With China Over Sanctions by Steven Gislam
iplomatic tensions between the European Union and China have put a years-in-themaking investment deal between the two in jeopardy, officials have claimed. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, at the EU-China virtual leaders' meeting on 30 December 2020. Source: Lukasz Kobus / EC - Audiovisual Service EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told AFP that the approval process for the deal had been effectively put on ice. "We now in a sense have suspended political outreach activities from the European Commission side," he said in an interview. "It's clear in the current situation with the EU sanctions in place against China and Chinese counter-sanctions in place, including against members of European Parliament (that) the 80 Industry Europe
environment is not conducive for ratification of the agreement," Dombrovskis added. A European Commission spokesperson told Germany's DW that the process of ratification had yet to begin and was still subject to legal review. The spokesperson also said that ratification had been effectively suspended because it "cannot be separated from the evolving dynamics of the wider EU-China relationship," describing the Chinese sanctions as "unacceptable and regrettable". Beijing and Brussels signed a new investment agreement last year, the aim of which was to ensure a stable framework of conditions for trade and investment in one another's markets. The two sides signed the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in December 2020 after seven years of negotiations. However, before the deal comes into force, it requires ratification by the European Parliament and EU member states but faces massive opposition.
The deal would allow European companies access to Chinese markets and facilitate Chinese investment in the EU. The deal also sets rules for a level playing field, preventing the undercutting of competition through state assistance, as well as provisions for sustainable development. Tensions between Brussels and Beijing began deteriorating in March following the imposition of sanctions by the EU on China over its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region. They were the first human rights-related sanctions against China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Beijing immediately retaliated with a round of counter-sanctions against some European Parliament members, and other officials. Opposition to the deal has been rising in recent months, with some human rights groups urging the EU to scrap the deal entirely.
POLITICS & ECONOMICS NEWS
INDUSTRYNEWS Eurozone Growth Rocketed In May As Lockdowns Ease by Steven Gislam
urozone business activity saw a surge in May as the lifting of lockdown restrictions injected life into the EU's services industry, a survey by IHS Markit showed, echoing data published earlier in the week which showed factories had their best month on record. A ramping up of vaccine programmes across the bloc and a fall in reported daily cases of Covid-19 has enabled governments to remove some measures imposed to stop the spread of the virus. IHS Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), seen as a barometer of economic health, jumped to 57.1 last month from April's 53.8, its highest level since February 2018. May's final reading was ahead of a preliminary 56.9 indication and comfortably above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction. An index covering the service industry soared to a near three-year high of 55.2 from 50.5, just beating the 55.1 flash estimate. "The eurozone composite and services PMIs for May came out in line with expectations and continue to show that confidence is high," said Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at UK-based asset management firm Premier Miton.
"With ongoing government support and loose policy from the ECB it should be expected that the recovery will remain robust and also fed by the pick-up in activity around the world." The European Central Bank will start tapering its pandemic purchases later this year but won't raise interest rates until at least 2024, according to a Reuters poll published earlier on Thursday. ECB chief Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday the Bank would support the eurozone "well into" its recovery from a pandemic-induced double-dip recession. Suggesting the upswing would continue, the services new business index was the highest since early 2018 the overall composite new orders reading bounced to a near-record 58.4 from 53.4 - its highest since June 2006 - as pent-up demand was released. German services returned to growth in May, helped by falling coronavirus infections and a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, lifting overall private-sector output in Europe's largest economy. French business activity surged as an easing of the coronavirus lockdown fired up the service industry while in Spain the service
Wales To Trial Universal Basic Income by Ash Jones
universal basic income (UBI) scheme - meaning adults, regardless of their personal income, will receive a regular sum of money - is set to be tested in Wales, according to First Minister Mark Drakeford. The concept of UBI is to cover the essential cost of living for every adult in the country, which can be supplemented by household income and has seen some cross-party support. The First Minister described the pilot as a test to see whether the promises associated with the scheme are "genuinely delivered." He said it would need to be "carefully designed to make sure that it is genuinely adding income for the group of people we are able to work with," referencing similar attempts to introduce a UBI scheme in Scotland. He added: "It'll have to be a pilot because we don't have all the powers in our own hands to do it on our own. "It'll have to be carefully crafted to make sure that it is affordable and that it does it within the powers available to the Senedd (the Welsh legislature). "We need to make an early start on designing the pilot to make sure that we have the best chance of operating a pilot that allows us to draw the conclusions from it that we would all want to see." He specified the need for cross-partisan support to introduce it, saying that 35 Senedd members have expressed interest.
sector expanded at the fastest pace since 2015. Meanwhile, Italy showed signs of recovery. In the UK, outside both the eurozone and the EU, the services sector recorded the biggest jump in activity in 24 years, after pubs and restaurants were allowed to resume serving customers indoors following months of lockdown. Alongside the recovery in services, eurozone manufacturing activity expanded at a record pace in May, according to a sister survey on Tuesday which suggested growth would have been even faster without supply bottlenecks that have led to an unprecedented rise in input costs. The euro area was expected to emerge from a double-dip recession this quarter and expand 1.5%, a poll by Reuters found. Following a slow start, vaccination drives across the region have accelerated and with restrictions being eased optimism about the year ahead increased. The services business expectations index rose to 71.2 from 68.4, its highest since January 2004. "The relationship between the surveys and GDP has broken down since the pandemic began, but the strengthening activity indicators bode well nonetheless," said Jack Allen-Reynolds at Capital Economics. Visit: ihsmarkit.com
Supporters of UBI claim it may be necessary in the face of unstable job markets, as well as increasing issues and job losses associated with technological progress such as manufacturing automation and continued offshoring of essential jobs. They also claim it will provide a greater safety net for unemployed or freelance workers or allow room for them to learn new skills or apply for new jobs. There are also claims it could help avoid the "poverty trap" pushed by normal benefits policies, although there is little evidence to support this, primarily owing to a lack of successful UBI schemes. However, critics claim it encourages people not to work, and express concerns over the potential for a tax hike associated with the policy as well as it covering people who may not need access to UBI owing to high household incomes. The Welsh Conservative party have also expressed scepticism at the programme, not wanting Wales to turn into a "petri dish of failed leftwing policies". Regardless, there has been a change in tone regarding UBI in the wake of the pandemic in the UK, particularly since the government's furlough scheme came into place. The UK Labour Party also pledged to trial UBI in its 2019 election manifesto. There are currently five different models for UBI, according to Citizens Income. It is currently unknown which model will be used in Wales, but it is likely some trial-and-error will be required. Industry Europe 81
ENGINEERS OF PRODUCTIVITY Automation technology powerhouse Festo is a world leader in technical training and further education. The company’s goal: to maximise productivity and competitiveness for customers in factory and process automation.
esto, named after its founders Albert Fezer and Gottlieb Stoll, is a multinational industrial control and automation company based in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. The company produces and sells pneumatic and electrical control and drive technology for factory or process automation. Festo Didactic also offers industrial education and consultancy services and is one of the sponsors and partners of the WorldSkills Mechatronics Competitions. The Festo Group can be found at 250 locations across the world with a total of 20,000 employees, and is a recognised innovator, with 8% of its annual turnover invested in research and development.
Pneumatic and electrical control In the 1950s, Festo became the first company in Europe to use compressed air as a drive medium in automation. The company now offers over 30,000 products and system solutions for pneumatic and electrical automation technology which, thanks to a large variety of modular systems, can be tailored to specific customer applications in many different factory and process automation industry segments.
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These include pneumatic and electric drives, valves, servo controllers, motion control, valve terminals, installation-saving connection technology, handling and assembly technology, air preparation equipment, fittings, vacuum technology, position and quality inspection, sensors and control technology. The core product range comprises components from every phase of the pneumatic and electrical control chain, with which around 80% of all applications can be accomplished effortlessly and quickly. Festo also offers a wide range of modular systems solutions and standard handling systems. Important industry segments are the automotive sector, the food and packing industries, electronics and assembly, biotech, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, medical engineering and laboratory automation, chemicals and water treatment and, with growing importance, the medical technology and laboratory automation (LifeTech)
segments, which have been in focus since the pandemic. Festo also supports all automated process steps in the field of electromobility, from battery production to the production of electric vehicles.
Digital transformation Festo is advancing digitalisation in all its corporate divisions. To this end, the company is developing new future-oriented concepts founded on the triad of innovative and energy-efficient technologies, intuitive humanmachine collaboration, and education and further training. As Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things inspire original equipment manufacturers and end users alike, production and the digital world come together: factory automation is becoming more flexible and energy efficient, logistics processes are more closely interlinked, the value chain is optimised, and all of this in process automation as well.
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Festo is playing a key role in shaping the move towards Industry 4.0 and promotes the development with an open automation architecture and a large product portfolio. Standardised software tools are also being developed: configurators for smart engineering, the Festo Automation Suite for easy commissioning and the digital maintenance manager Smartenance for reliable operation. Digitalised pneumatics such as the Festo Motion Terminal VTEM makes pneumatics more flexible than ever before. “The structural change in many sectors is clearly noticeable for us, from the electronics industry to electromobility and life tech. Electrification in the automotive industry is just gaining massive momentum. We are seeing strong demand for automation solutions for electric vehicle, in-vehicle electronics and battery production. In addition, there is a great demand for qualification in the entire spectrum of electrification. This offers us great growth opportunities over the next few years,” explained Chairman of the Management Board, Dr Oliver Jung.
Handling the challenge Throughout 2020, the Festo Group coped with a 7.5% decline in turnover due to the pandemic. However, the was still able to close with a higher overall operating result above the previous year. After a strong first quarter, the company is expecting a catch-up year in 2021. With smart and intelligent products as well as digital learning platforms, Festo supports the structural changes happening in industry and society – from eMobility to vaccine production and laboratory diagnostics, to energy efficiency and climate-neutral production.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Festo’s products make an important contribution to the fight against Covid-19 - laboratory automation enables high throughput in virus testing, and automation plays a key role in vaccine development and production. “Automation is the prerequisite for us to be able to supply and treat people worldwide quickly, safely and affordably with a high standard of medical quality – be it with medicines and vaccines, respirators or medical devices. We will therefore continue to strongly expand our LifeTech business in the coming years,” said Jung. However, the pandemic is not the only challenge that the world is facing, he affirmed. “As a company and a society, we have to manage the balancing act in the pandemic by simultaneously finding ways out of the crisis while pivoting to focus our future activities on sustainability. Automation and technical education are key to this. We also have a social responsibility for sustainable development
here. The goal is to gradually develop production in the direction of a circular economy.” For 2021, like most companies, Festo expects to be playing catch-up. “We started the year well, with strong growth in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the end of the pandemic cannot yet be estimated. We are therefore continuing our savings course. At the same time, we continue to invest in our growth and innovation strategy,” n Dr Jung concluded.
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SMOOTH INTEGRATION GEA is one of the largest suppliers of systems and components for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. Its extensive portfolio includes machinery and plant equipment as well as advanced process technology, components and comprehensive services.
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ounded in 1881, GEA has continued to develop and set new standards to meet the needs of the market and its customers. With more than 18,000 employees, the group generated revenue of over €4.6 billion in fiscal year 2020. A major focus is on continuously enhancing the sustainability and efficiency of customers’ production processes. GEA plants, processes and components help achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions, plastics use and food waste in manufacturing worldwide. In this way, GEA makes a decisive contribution toward a sustainable future, fully in line with its corporate philosophy of “engineering for a better world.”
Leading the sustainable way The group’s long-term success is based on a number of major global trends, including continuous growth in the global population; a growing middle class; increasing demand for high-quality foods
and beverages and greater demand for efficient production methods that also conserve valuable resources. The company’s performance and efforts towards a greener world have been acknowledged several times with awards. In March 2021, GEA for the first time attained the ranking of “Gold Standard” in the EcoVadis sustainability assessment. This achievement puts the company among the top 2% of all companies in the mechanical engineering sector ranked by EcoVadis. Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA Group AG, commented on this success: “GEA is one of the world’s major suppliers of machinery and plant to multiple critical industries, notably food and beverage and pharmaceuticals. This makes it all the more important that we manage our supply chain in a responsible manner. Winning Gold in this ranking strengthens our commitment to further expanding our sustainability strategy and activities with all our energy.”
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Process integrator The company is active on many fronts. In view of the growing demand for electric cars and smartphones, for example, and with steadily growing demand for lithium worldwide, GEA supports customers in the realisation of lithium processing plants with a comprehensive range of technologies for the production of pure lithium hydroxide, a key raw material for lithium-ion batteries. Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG), Netherlands, decided earlier this year to go for a GEA solution. GEA will supply AMG Lithium GmbH not only with a pre-concentration plant but also with the key crystallisation technology. The battery grade lithium produced in this plant is characterised by extremely low impurity content. The lithium hydroxide will be produced in a plant operated by AMG Lithium at Chemiepark Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. The first module will be commissioned in 2023 with an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide. According to AMG Lithium Managing Director Stefan Scherer, additional modules will follow in subsequent years, increasing capacity to up to 100,000 tonnes. The availability of battery materials is the key driver for the sustainable success of the mega-trends of electromobility and stationary energy storage. The new plant will process the lithium hydroxide so that it can be used in the production of electric vehicle batteries. According to AMG Lithium, this is the first plant in Germany to be able to produce lithium hydroxide to this degree of purity.
Going strong From yet another sector, GEA has recently received a multi-million Euro equipment order destined for the high-growth plant-based beverages market. The industrial technology group will build a new production plant for producing oat, rice and soy base for beverages and hand it over to Laiterie de Saint-Denis-de-l’Hôtel (LSDH), one of France’s leading manufacturers of liquid food and vegetable products.
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All process steps, from the raw material intake of grains and flour to in-line standardisation, will be incorporated into the plant, which is scheduled for stepwise commissioning from mid-2022. As a single source for all components in the extraction process, GEA shows its strength as a process integrator. What is more, GEA will supply a pilot plant for product development. The project is associated with a European protein research centre and subsidised under a national economic stimulus programme. These recent contracts are only a few of several other contract awards. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and high prior-year figures, the company saw slight organic revenue growth. In addition, GEA again substantially improved its cash flow, net working capital, and net liquidity. “Despite the still challenging market environment due to the pandemic, we performed very well in the first quarter of this year, paving the way for a successful fiscal year 2021,” claimed Stefan Klebert. “Positive sales developments in customer industries such as dairy processing, food and pharma more than offset the declines in other industries. GEA is clearly benefiting from its diversified portfolio and n its strong service business.”
New developments in Technology & Innovation
Spain’s Silence Help Drive UK’s Electric Vehicle Revolution by Ash Jones
panish e-mobility company Silence has opened up its “urban eco-mobility” headquarters in Solihull in the West Midlands as it helps to develop the area into a hub for electric vehicle manufacturing. The area has seen significant development in recent years as a leader in electrification and green travel within the UK as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) initiative to drive economic development in the idea. The authority’s guidelines are laid out in a strategic economic plan supported by the EU. It has emphasised the need to extend the use of the wide set of innovation infrastructures already available in the region to more businesses, especially to innovation inactive ones. This also pushes for increased infrastructure towards climate-aiding projects. The report claims the area contains some of the driving innovators for research and development in the furthering of environmental goals. The West Midlands is also looking to pioneer a plan for a Clean Air Zone this summer when the city of Birmingham is set to launch its vehicle charging scheme aimed at reducing emissions in the area, particularly from petrol and diesel vehicles in the city centre. This makes it only the second city in the UK, behind Bath, to adopt this policy. “Solihull makes the perfect location for investment, in the first phase of our launch and establishment of our UK headquarters,” said John Edwards, a founding member of Silence’s UK arm. “Not only is the West Midlands already a hub for electric vehicle businesses and research, but its leaders are focused on eco-mobility and infrastructure.” Vehicles driving in a Clean Air Zone may need to pay a small fee should their vehicle fail to meet certain emissions targets. Users can find out beforehand by registering their vehicle with a government service. Councillor Ian Courts, the leader for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said the investment shows confidence in the region as a potential hub for “low-carbon activity.” He added: “Transport currently accounts for 39% of Co2 emissions across the borough. Tackling this area is going to be key to unlocking
our low carbon future and achieving our netzero carbon aspirations for the region by 2041.” Silence has opened its flagship UK retail store on Haslucks Green Road in town, covering an area of over 700 square miles. The company are set to specialise in all-electric motorcycles and scooters, called “e-motos.” It claims these are equivalent to 50cc and 125cc mopeds and scooters and can travel 91 miles on a single charge. It will serve both retail and business customers, with the full UK range of Silence e-moto models available for test rides. Other stores are set to open up in Manchester and London at later dates to allow the company to cover a wider area. Dan Storer, the Chief Investment Officer at the West Midlands Growth Company, who is the automaker’s official promoter in the region, described its entrance as playing a “strategic moment” for the area’s evolution and growth towards becoming a green hub. “Building on a robust legacy of spearheading transport innovations, our region has a rigorous proposition to supercharge the future mobility ambitions of industry and Government,” he added. Electric vehicle markets are continuing to grow exponentially in the UK. The two-wheel EV market grew by 50% in 2020 and is almost up 300% in the first half of 2021 and by 550% in April alone, the company claims. It also claims these changes are being adopted across the consumer and business markets.
This may be aided by the UK’s decision last year to ban all fully-petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. The UK is also set to raise its emissions targets ahead of the COP26 summit this November. Lightweight travel has also seen a boom during the pandemic, particularly for delivery services. Reports claim that commuters are also choosing greener travel methods or outright choosing to work from home to save on their carbon footprints as part of an increasing trend towards conscious consumption as a result of the pandemic. Data from the University of Oxford also hints that making a switch towards “micro-mobility” services such as bicycles or electric motorcycles can reduce individual carbon emissions by as much as 84%. The research suggests the average reduction for switching to greener transport methods can reduce average emissions by around 67%. John Edwards added that the combined issues of urban air quality, congestion and cost are accelerating demand for smaller, affordable electric vehicles have driven up demand for electric vehicles, stating the West Midlands was “the right place to start.” He said: “We look forward to helping larger West Midlands businesses transform their fleet operations as well as supporting local independent operators such as restaurants and delivery riders to go electric.”
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New developments in Technology & Innovation
Ant Middleton And PhotonLens Partner For VR Everest Climb by Ash Jones
ritish smart glasses company PhotonLens has teamed with former SAS operator, author and TV personality Ant Middleton to create a virtual reality experience to recreate the latter's climb of Mount Everest. Author, TV presenter and former SAS operator Ant Middleton has been working with PhotonLens to deliver a VR experience detailing his 2018 Everest climb. Credit: PhotonLens The campaign is set to be produced by digital agency Be-Hookd and will immerse fans into a 360 virtual reality world and an intimate VR experience. This will follow Middleton as he discusses the mental and physical challenges that he battled during his death-defying voyage climbing Everest, as recalled in his recent book. Virtual reality is still a relatively fledgeling sector and is closely related to other interactive technology mediums such as gaming. It is still expensive to develop and affordable headsets are still uncommon. The campaign is donating 70 VR headsets with the Everest content pre-loaded to various universities to inspire technology innovation as well as looking to bolster mental resilience in users, particularly
young people, who are currently disproportionally involved in a mental health crisis. Referring to the partnership, Ant Middleton revealed he was excited to be teaming up with PhotonLens to provide an immersive experience into his "unique mindset" which may allow student firsthand experience in harnessing their fears to their advantage. He said: "It's pretty epic to work on a project inspired by my Everest climb for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own living rooms. "I'm also so pleased to be able to donate the mixed reality headsets to universities, to support students who have had a tough time over the last year, to help enhance their studies, encourage innovation and to share my own mental wellbeing advice that I ratified through my Everest climb." Over 4,000 people in total have climbed Everest since Edmund Hillary first conquered the peak in 1953. Middleton climbed the peak in 2018 as part of a TV show he was hosting. PhotonLens co-founder and chairman of gaming company Jagex Lisa Pan said the team were passionate about collaboration and using high-tech to create "unique and wonderful" experiences.
She added: "We have seen the detrimental effect the past year has on young people's mental health and the disruption Covid-19 has had on their studies. "We hope that in partnering with universities to donate PhotonLens headsets we might help contribute to the student's learning experience and help arm the next generation of tech innovators with inspiration as to what can be achieved." Be-Hookd Founder and CEO, George James said: "Whilst 2020 and likely much of 2021 has seen travel, music and entertainment, amongst other industries, hugely impacted by the pandemic, it has challenged us to think more creatively and design campaigns that will fill the void for those craving experiences - whether that’s an intimate gig or a treacherous mountain climb." Visit: www.photonlens.com
EU Must Be Tougher On Big Tech Say France, Germany & Netherlands by Steven Gislam
inance ministers from France, Germany and the Netherlands have said that the EU should take a tougher stance on Big Tech, calling for a beefed-up role for regulators to make it harder for tech giants to make so-called "killer acquisitions" of start-up rivals. A paper signed by French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, his German counterpart Peter Altmaier and Dutch economic affairs minister Mona Keijzer, criticised the EU's proposed legislation, the Digital Markets Act as lacking "ambition". The paper has not yet been published but it has been seen by the FT. It calls on the EU to strengthen and "speed up" the scrutiny of proposed mergers, especially in relation "to strategies of platform companies consisting in systematically buying up nascent companies in order to stifle competition". The three countries also urged the European Commission to grant them more powers in order to legislate and enforce tech policy at the national level. The news comes just days after Germany commenced antitrust investigations into both Google and Amazon. The ministers called for "swift and proactive co-operation" between EU member states and Brussels, as well as a broadening of the legal scope for countries to take action locally. 90 Industry Europe
With the Digital Markets Act passing through the European Parliament, the ministers want to see "clear and legally certain" merger and acquisitions thresholds, forcing more in-depth scrutiny. Big Tech companies have been long criticised for engaging in "killer acquisitions". The term relates to the practice of buying up potential competitors at an early stage. Often the target companies have little revenue but technology with a high potential value, such as Facebook's $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2021, and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. "Effectiveness lies in the combination of measures for all gatekeepers and a flexible approach on a case-by-case basis by taking targeted action against the very largest players. This includes our efforts to prevent them from buying up innovative start-ups on a regular basis. That is why we want all mergers and acquisitions by gatekeepers to be assessed by the regulator," said Keijzer. EU officials are reported to be concerned by the push for more powers to curb Big Tech by member states, as it seeks to enact bloc-wide rules and take a leading role. Earlier this year in an interview with FT, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, said it was in the tech companies interests to come on board with Brussels with one piece of legislation, or face the prospect of a plethora of national rules.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION NEWS
INDUSTRYNEWS Cybercrime Has Thrived During
The Coronavirus Pandemic by Ash Jones
he coronavirus pandemic has created the perfect environment for cybercrime to flourish as the manufacturing sector has seen a "substantial increase" in cybercrime, according to the latest report from Verizon. The unprecedented increase in the number of people working from home or furloughed during the various lockdowns has seen phishing attacks suffer an 11% rise while the volume of ransomware attacks increased by 6%, the report states. The Verizon Business 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report analyses 29,207 quality incidents of which 5,258 were confirmed breaches. The report found that 61% of the breaches analysed involved credential data, with 95% of the organisations targeted by personal breaches clocking anywhere between 637 million and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts through the year. Furthermore, instances of Misrepresentation increased 15-fold compared to the same period last year. The report also highlighted the challenges facing businesses as they move more of their business functions to the cloud - with attacks on web applications representing 39% of all breaches. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on many of the security challenges organizations are currently facing,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business. “As the number of companies switching business-critical functions to the cloud increases, the potential threat to their operations may become more pro-
nounced, as malicious actors look to exploit human vulnerabilities and leverage an increased dependency on digital infrastructures," she added. Within the manufacturing sector, there is a key relationship between security and safety, particularly when referring to the production line and supply chains themselves. Coordinated attacks on industrial infrastructure can often be catastrophic, such as with the Norsk Hydro incident in 2019 or Ukraine in 2016. The report found the financial sector was most at risk from ransomware - attacks which demand a financial bounty before the malware is removed. Similarly, the retail industry continued to be a target for pretexting and phishing attacks, usually by perpetrators seeking financial gain through stolen credit card information or any personal data. Phishing attacks are also very common in the public administration sector and the data suggests that actors who can craft credible phishing email correspondence are stealing data at "alarming rates" in this sector. Verizon estimates that at least 92% of the attacks analysed were done so for financial gain, whereas 6% were conducted for the purpose of espionage. As such, a breakdown of compromised data shows personal or credential information making up the majority of that stolen. Alex Pinto, the report's author, said: "It is tempting to think that a vast array of threats demands a sweeping and revolutionary solution. However, the reality is far more straightforward. He added: "The truth is that, whilst organizations should prepare to deal with exceptional circumstances, the foundation of their defences should be built on strong fundamentals - addressing and mitigating the threats most pertinent to them.” Visit: www.verizon.com
US Researchers Develop "World's Most Efficient" Microchip by Ash Jones
team of researchers based out of Brigham Young University in Utah have developed an ADC (analogue-to-digital converter) microchip which they claim is the most efficient of its kind. ADC microchips are commonly found in modern electronics devices with companies such as Apple and Samsung constantly competing to develop increasingly efficient chips for use in their products. The researchers claim power-efficient chips such as the one they have developed may help end the semiconductor shortage. Chips such as these constantly have their design modified in order to maximise battery life. The new BYU chip consumes only 21 milliwatts of power at 10 GHz for ultra wide-band wireless communication. The project's lead Professor Wood Chiang, PhD claims many current ADC models will consume multiple times this, with a potential to consume Watts of power at comparable speeds. Chiang, a professor for BYU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering said: "Many research groups worldwide focus on
Credit: Brigham Young University
ADCs; it's like a competition of who can build the world's fastest and most fuel-efficient car. "It is very difficult to beat everyone else around the world, but we managed to do just that." The professor co-developed the design for the chip alongside BYU student Eric Swindlehurst and a team of students. A central challenge constantly facing researchers is the increasing bandwidth speeds within communications systems leading to circuits consuming more power. Chiang, Swindlehurst, and their team set out to solve the problem by focusing on a key part of the ADC circuit called the DAC, which is a central piece that stands for the exact reverse of ADC - a digital-to-analogue converter.
They also grouped unit capacitors differently from the conventional method, placing together unit capacitors that are part of the same bit in the DAC rather than having them interleaved throughout. This enabled them to significantly reduced power consumption while increasing speed owing to the lower parasitic capacitance of the bottom plate. Finally, they also used a dual-pathed bootstrapped switch, with each path being able to be optimised separately. This method increases the speed but doesn't require additional hardware because it involves splitting existing devices and making route changes in the circuit. Chiang hinted the increased bandwidth allowance could see these ADC chips used in self-driving cars or wireless "smart" tech such as glasses or contact lenses. The more sophisticated design can allow for thousands of connections at once, he claimed. Any mistakes could have taken at least a year to correct. - The team's work was published in the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits. Visit: www.byu.edu Industry Europe 91
SAFE JOURNEY Greenbrier’s operations in Europe remain stable in the wake of the global pandemic. The freight railcar specialist with factories in Poland, Romania and Turkey continues its journey to becoming the market leader in European rail freight.
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reenbrier, headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is a leading international supplier of equipment and services to global freight transportation markets. Greenbrier designs, builds and markets freight railcars and marine barges in North America. The US company’s European operation was established in 2017 when Greenbrier’s European business in Świdnica, Poland, and Astra Rail’s manufacturing operations in Arad, Romania, were brought together to form an end-to-end freight railcar manufacturing, engineering and repair business, serving customers across Europe and in the nations of the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council). In 2018 Greenbrier Europe significantly extended its reach across the continent with the acquisition of a majority interest in the Turkish railcar builder Rayvag. The Turkish company now operates as an integral part of Greenbrier Europe, together with Poland’s Wagony Swidnica and Romania’s Astra Rail. As well as manufacturing railcars
Rayvag also provides maintenance services for railcars and manufactures bogies and spare parts for railcars in the region. Although Greenbrier Europe’s key sales markets are mainly the countries of the European Union, in the future, exports to the Middle East are set to pick up momentum. The management is focused on promoting the sustainable and long-term development of the group in its evolution into a technologically and financially strong market leader in Europe’s rail industry. Its long-term thinking takes precedence over short-term profit-driven considerations.
European foothold Greenbrier European facilities boast a long tradition and wide-ranging experience in the sector. The history of Wagony Świdnica, located in southwest Poland, started in the 1920s when the plant was built as a repair shop for the German Federal Railway. Wagony Świdnica was
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acquired by the Greenbrier Companies in 1998, and, in order to become a full-service company model, expanded its repair capability by acquiring two Polish repair shops. Wagony Świdnica has manufactured rail-freight wagons for customers from Europe, North America and the Middle East. The history of the Romanian facility in Arad dates back to 1891 when the Austrian industrialist Johann Weitzer founded the Johann Weitzer Maschinen, Waggonbau und Eisengießerei Aktiengesellschaft. The Romanian plant became part of Greenbrier’s operation in 2016, when the Greenbrier Companies and Astra Rail agreed to form a joint venture, 75% owned by Greenbrier, incorporating both of the company’s European operations as Greenbrier Europe.
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The Polish facility is now in the process of delivering a major contract, delivering the first batch of flat wagons to PKP Cargo, Poland’s largest rail freight operator. The vehicles have been manufactured at Greenbrier’s plants in Poland and Romania. 44 wagons were delivered in April 2021 as the first batch of a 220-unit order that was concluded in December 2019. The entire deal will be completed by the end of 2022. According to the technical specifications, each wagon can carry several configurations of containers at a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour: four 20-foot, two 40-foot or two 30-foot boxes. The wagons are equipped with composite brake blocks of the K-type.
Meeting demand In April, the parent company published its 2nd quarter results, summarising the outlook in the wake of what was described by the management as one of the most challenging years in the group’s history. William A. Furman, chairman & CEO says: “Our near-term outlook is becoming increasingly optimistic as rail fundamentals improve. Rail loadings are up year-to-date, driven by increased traffic in grain, intermodal and other categories. Proposed environmental and other regulations in both North America and Europe should support secular demand for rail as a growing mode for freight transport. Fiscal stimulus and proposed infrastructure legislation are expected to further add to demand.” Prospects look particularly good in Europe, where the railway sector has demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 crisis its resilience and adaptability to the new situation. The contribution of rail to reducing CO2 emissions was reflected in the European Commission’s strategy for sustainable and smart mobility at the end of 2020, in which it sets an objective to double rail freight traffic by 2050. As today rail is the most sustainable mass mode of transport and increasing the modal share of rail freight in the short term is considered fundamental to winning the battle against climate change, Greenbrier Europe can expect increased demand. Building on its solid track record, the Group will be an active participant in the move towards the EU’s longer-term sustainability objectives. Mr Furman concludes: “Greenbrier’s ability to adjust production capacity to meet our market outlook enables us to rapidly ramp manufacturing as we earn new railcar orders. We are ready to meet n increased demand.”
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SMOOTH JOURNEY SOR Libchavy, a leading Czech bus manufacturer has grown into a key player in the Central European market. A focus on innovation, a ‘green’ operation and passenger safety and comfort are only a few of the attributes that have driven SOR’s success and growth.
OR Libchavy is the second largest manufacturer of buses and coaches in the Czech Republic, drawing on a long history of engineering production. The company launched its flagship low-entry urban buses in 2008, and a year later, SOR won the largest ever public tender for standard and articulated buses for the largest city bus operator in the Czech Republic, the Prague Municipal Transport company. Other prime customers soon followed, both in the Czech Republic and further afield. Prestigious contracts included the delivery of urban buses to Iran, Serbia, Poland and other counties. This success is a reflection of the company’s strategy to develop and manufacture buses that are safe, eco-friendly and cost-effective, achieved
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primarily by the light vehicle structure with maximum unification across all bus models. Today, SOR operates a state-of-the-art plant equipped with the latest technology, including polyurethane bonding, laser cutting and robotic welding. The company has held the 9001 ISO Quality Certificate since 2001.
Optimum solution Currently SOR Libchavy manufacture buses 8.5 m, 9.5 m, 10,5 m, 12 m, 12.5 m and 18 m in length, designed for urban, intercity and long distance transport. They are equipped with engines meeting the EURO 6 standards.
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The customer may select the type of drive – either compressed natural gas (CNG) or electric. Both automatic and mechanical gearboxes are available, as well as independent axles, retarders, disk brakes, air-conditioning and other features. The key advantages of SOR buses include low unladen weight, low average fuel consumption (14.5% lower than that of other vehicles on the market throughout the vehicle’s service life), higher specific output and an effectively designed vehicle interior, including the driver’s cabin. All SOR buses are equipped with disk brakes on all axles. The lower part of the chassis structure is made from stainless steel profiles, and the body shell is made from plastic materials. Stainless steel materials are used for the bottom part of the bus at the places most prone to corrosion (underneath the vehicle floor, step plates, the area around the wheels, etc.). Parts subject to external stress are supplied by manufacturers who guarantee a long service life, including under harsh conditions. Over time, the company has also developed buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), electric buses and trolleybuses. Two experimental hybrid buses have also been created. The eco-friendly range includes the SOR NS electric - a modern all-low-floor electric bus designed for clean passenger transit in urban environments; the SOR EBN - suitable for transporting people in tourist areas, protected national parks or mountain resorts; and the SOR TNB - a modern, emission-free all-low-floor trolleybus designed for mass transport of people in urban areas. Within the inter-city range, SOR Libchavy offers the SOR CNG, a modern, ecological partial-low-floor bus powered by CNG, a showcase of new technology, high quality, reliability and unique design solutions resulting in economical operation. A wide variety of design features and colour options are available, allowing the company to offer customers the optimum solutions for their needs. 98 Industry Europe
Green and Clean Although the company has not been spared the impact of the pandemic, production continued and new business has been secured. The company won a contract to supply a set of buses to a Czech customer, to be delivered at the end of 2021 - the 12-metre SOR NSG bus has a capacity of 101 passengers, 33 seats and is equipped with air conditioning. The most recent contract was signed in April, when SOR Libchavy won a public tender from the Transport Company of the City of Prešov, Slovakia, for the supply of 10 articulated 18-meter and 5 standard 12-metre diesel buses. The low-floor vehicles, to be delivered over the next 21 months, will be equipped with a modern information system including LCD monitors, a check-in system for card payment, a camera system, automatic passenger counting and USB chargers.
SOR Libchavy has managed to develop a range of products that meet current needs, as the development of public transport is one of many initiatives that decrease negative impacts on the environment and increase urban sustainability. The electrification of public transport is a crucial element in improving energy efficiency, limiting emissions and reducing noise pollution. The electrification of public transport fleets is growing faster than that of passenger cars, and market penetration in Europe is expected to reach 75% by 2030. As European cities are starting to make headway in green technological initiatives and are transforming urban spaces to reduce carbon emissions, the future of SOR Libchavy and its modern, n advanced and eco-friendly vehicles seems highly promising.
Kovoplast Chlumec nad Cidlinou, a.s Rear-view mirrors are one of the important elements of the bus, as they ensure the correct view of the driver around the car. They have an impact on safety. Kovoplast develops and manufactures mirrors with an emphasis on safety and quality and offers a wide range of manually operated, electrically operated, heated mirrors, etc. In addition to our standard catalog solutions, we develop and manufacture mirrors at the customer’s request. We are a proud supplier of mirrors for SOR cars.
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TOP QUALITY GUARANTEED Agrikon Kam, a well-established manufacturer of cabins, draws on a long tradition of Hungarian machine production going back to the post-war period. The company is a trusted supplier to leading European manufacturers, including CLAAS and Caterpillar, and has built its reputation on high quality and a fast response.
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ocated in Kiskunmajsa in south-east Hungary some 140 km from Budapest, Agrikon operates a modern manufacturing facility from which its high-quality cabins are shipped to leading agricultural and construction machine manufacturers. Now one of the leaders in its sector, the company offers fully or partially assembled cabins for self-propelled agricultural machines, such as combine harvesters, choppers, tractors, and construction machines, as well as main subassemblies, also for self-propelled machines such as feeder houses, and various components. The products are sold almost exclusively in export markets with a few exceptions. Agrikon’s feeder houses for combine harvesters are first delivered to Claas Hungary to then be integrated into larger assemblies that are shipped to Claas’s main factory in Harsewinkel, Germany. Agrikon in its current form has been the sole cabin supplier for Claas SE for the last 30 years - so far the company has produced some 180,000 cabs for the famous German manufacturer. High-quality production and a fast response time are among the factors that have helped to cement the company’s international reputation, with the support of some 200 trusted suppliers. Of those about 100 are domestic, which makes Agrikon a significant contributor to the country’s economy.
Consolidated business Agrikon KAM was founded in 1993 within the privatisation process in central and Eastern Europe, as a successor to a traditional company operating in four business lines - driver cabins, cultivation machines, grain silos and aluminium structures. These four businesses were placed in several factories, operating under the umbrella of Agrikon Group. Some 80% of the Group’s output was exported, with the biggest volume represented by the cabins for CLAAS (which remain significant to this day) and the grain silos (the production of which has been minimised). As a result of a thorough rationalisation and business reorganisation, Agrikon KAM has consolidated the production basis spread across various facilities. In 2008, the cultivation machines factory (Kiskőrösi Talajművelő Gépgyár) was sold, later followed by the facility specialised in metal production (Agrikon Fémipari Zrt.). By 2009, all production had been relocated to the main factory in Kiskunmajsa, which had been expanded in previous years and had operated as the product development and manufacturing centre for driver cabins. Today, the premises occupy an area of over 130,000 square metres, of which over 36.000 square metres are halls and buildings.
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In addition to the main site, the company owns an empty industrial site of 70.000 m2, which may be used for potential development.
Values to build on Over the last decade, Agrikon has significantly upgraded its manufacturing capability. Investments worth over €9 million have been made in modern laser machines, CNC bending machines, modern welding machines, welding robots, coating lines as well as new technology for the assembly shop, to align Agrikon’s production standards with those of advanced European manufacturers.
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The company’s Managing Director Pál Velkey says: “At Agrikon we always adjust our technologies to our clients’ requirements. In our old and newer markets it is equally essential to live up to the quality expectations of the customers. We certainly feel that quality requirements are rising continuously; what is more, our market segment is taking over the stringent standards of the automotive industry. It is simply essential to have the best technology available to stay competitive.” As a supplier to leading international harvester, construction machine and tractor manufacturers, Agrikon’s involvement starts in the very early stages of the process. Its designers and development engineers work together with the customers’ R&D departments to design products incorporating the most advanced technologies to suit individual customer requirements, to come up with a cabin that fully matches the client’s needs and expectations. Most of Agrikon’s products are shipped to leading manufacturers in the European Union. The partnership (of Agrikon’s predecessor) with one of its key customers, Claas, started as early as in the 1970s and today the company delivers not just feeder houses for the Claas Hungarian factory but also cabins for combine harvesters, forage harvesters and welded components for Claas manufacturing facilities in Germany. Today Claas is not Agrikon’s only premium customer. Since the financial crisis in 2009, the company has managed to establish a wide and versatile customer base that includes prestigious customers such as Liebherr, Caterpillar, Kramer, Terex, Ammann, Zetos, JLG and others. They all appreciate the high quality of products and reliability of supply, values that Agrikon will continue n to build on in the future.
LOGGER’S BEST FRIEND With its roots deep in the Finnish countryside, Ponsse has grown into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machinery. A strong focus on product development ensures that Ponsse’s products continue to meet the requirements of forest professionals.
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onsse plc is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cutto-length forest machines and a textbook example of how a business has grown from a machine entrepreneur’s dream into an international export company. Founded in 1970 by Einari Vidgrén, the son of a small farmer from Northern Savonia, who at the age of 14 started working at logging sites using a frame saw, the company is still based in Vieremä, in the same location where his first forest machine factory was opened. After a difficult beginning, a giant leap took place in machine development in the 1980s when its legendary PONSSE S15 forwarder was launched, and the rest in history. The first harvester, PONSSE HS15, was launched in 1987, followed by the first PONSSE measuring devices in 1988. In 1994, Ponsse was the first forest machine manufacturer in the world to be awarded the ISO 9001 quality certificate. This led to intensified machine development work and an expansion of the product range. When the export market opened up, the company was listed on the stock exchange in 1995. Today, Ponsse operates in harvesting markets in 40 different countries, and nearly 80% of its net sales come from exports. Claimed to be ‘a logger’s best friend’, Ponsse provides its clients with the best tools for all tree species and harvesting environments. Ponsse forest machinery is based on environmentally friendly cut-tolength (CTL) logging, where trees are felled, delimbed and cut into various log assortments before they leave the forest. The product range covers all size categories of forest machinery, from first thinning and the harvesting of forest energy to heavy-duty regeneration felling, as well as all logging sites, from soft soil to steep slopes.
Awarded for innovation Ponsse’s flagship product is the Scorpio harvester, first introduced to the general public in 2013, which has become a global sales success and an international symbol of responsible forestry. Over 1,200 104 Industry Europe
Scorpions have been made and can now be found in more than 25 countries around the world. Now, eight years later, the Scorpion has shed its skin. In February, Ponsse introduced to the market a thoroughly modernised Scorpion harvester range that meets all the requirements of today’s forestry work. The Scorpion’s characteristics include its excellent visibility and handling. One of the most prominent changes is a new one-piece windscreen that extends to the roof of the cabin, offering even better visibility and work safety under all conditions. In addition, the unique crane solution offers excellent visibility in every direction. The new Scorpion raises productivity and ergonomics in harvesting to an even higher level and sets a new standard for the operator’s working environment. The new Future Cabin included in the PONSSE Scorpion launched in February won a product design award in the internationally acclaimed Red Dot design competition. This was the highest recognition that could be achieved in the competition, granted to the best products of the various award categories. “The starting point for the development of the new Scorpion cabin was once again forest machinery operators and their feedback. This discussion is extremely important to us, and we engage in it continuously as part of our everyday work. The cabin workspace, for which we received this great award, was modified to make it more practical and to develop it into a quiet workplace with a view to supporting the operator’s comfort and well-being. The operator’s well-being at work is key to the machine’s productive operation”, says Juha Inberg, Technology and R&D Director at Ponsse.
Strong operational development Following a difficult 2020, the forest machinery market experienced positive development in the first quarter of 2021. “Demand was
stimulated from the very start of the year by the forest industry’s favourable outlook, and we received an increasing flow of orders throughout the quarter. Ponsse achieved an excellent order flow to the value of €299 million, increasing our order book to €308 million. The full capacity of our Vieremä factory was used to produce new Ponsse forest machines,” says Ponsse President and CEO Juho Nummela, noting that demand in large markets has grown, reaching excellent levels in Russia and Finland in particular. Still, the development is not without its challenges, some of which have had a significant impact across a range of industries. “Increased demand for machine and equipment manufacturing has affected our supplier network, resulting in challenges in the availability of parts,” added Nummela.
He affirms that considering the circumstances, Ponsse has managed the challenges in availability successfully, and the Vieremä factory has produced machines on schedule. “Marked attempts to hike the prices of parts and components have posed additional challenges from our supplier network, in addition to availability. There has been significant pressure for cost escalation, and we are seeking sustainable solutions in cooperation with our suppliers to control cost increases.” In spite of the exceptional circumstances, the company has continued its strong operational development, based on Ponsse’s foundation stones of a good product range and confident customer relationships supported by its strong values, committed personnel, n as well as by its history and traditions.
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THE FINNISH TOUCH
Finland-based Sisu Axles is an independent axle manufacturer for heavy duty truck, military, container handling and industrial applications. With a footprint on every continent, the company’s heavy-duty planetary reduction and independent suspension axles are employed in a range of applications suited to harsh environments.
ocated in Hämeenlinna, southern Finland, Sisu Axles takes pride in its long history of vehicle development and powertrain solutions - decades of axle development in the tough Finnish terrain have resulted in a range of the strongest axles in the world. The Sisu brand was formed in 1931, although the manufacturing of Sisu trucks only started in 1943. Over the years the company developed under various owners and in several locations, until 1985, when a new axle factory was built. In 1989 a decision was made to enlarge the facilities, and a new hall was opened a year later. The axle business unit was separated to a different company Sisu Akselit Oy at the end of 1995. Following its acquisition of Sisu
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Corporation, Partek became the owner of Sisu Axles, and sold the majority of it to the management and private investors in 1999. As a consequence the company became an independent axle producer. The last change in ownership happened in 2011 when the company became part of Marmon Holding Inc, a Berkshire Hathaway company, comprising more than 100 autonomous businesses serving diverse industries and markets worldwide.
Sturdy and resilient Sisu Axles helps its customers to equip their vehicles with axle systems that they cannot find anywhere else. The company serves customers
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who tend to be niche market suppliers rather than those who make high-volume products. Tailoring for special purposes and applications knowledge are key phrases to describe the company’s know-how. Sisu Axles’s key competences include engineering an assembly. All design and engineering tasks are conducted in-house, and the company is not involved in any contract manufacturing. The company also makes products tailor-made to specific customers’ applications and works in close cooperation with its clients to meet and exceed the vehicle user’s expectations and requirements. Sisu Axles’ core business is its planetary reduction axles. This key product range is complemented by non-drive steering axles. Sisu’s products are used in the heaviest applications around the world, from Australian heavy road trains to special military vehicles. The portfolio includes the SIS Series - extreme heavy-duty driveindependent axles with a low profile differential, with planetary wheelends providing maximum durability and superior traction at low speeds. The Series has fully immersed water fording capabilities in either salt or fresh water, as well as enhanced serviceability through maintenance-free components and differential separation from the subframe. The range is available in independent and through-drive configurations for 4×4’s through 8×8‘s.
Supported by the best The type of axles that Sisu makes is subject to tremendous forces while carrying heavy loads. As increasing competition among vehicle manufacturers has forced them to make their vehicles more economical and efficient, modern axles that go into these vehicles must be more durable and offer greater torque capacity. To make sure that the products meet the requirements of the market, the company has invested in a modern testing laboratory 108 Industry Europe
equipped with advanced devices. This includes new T40 torque transducers to produce more accurate measurements more easily. The test bench, which allows the testing of one axle or one axle component at a time, consists of a 193 kW electric drive motor plus two 98 kW electric motors, which act as brakes, replacing the wheels. One of the benefits of the T40 torque transducers is that torque data can be transmitted wirelessly from the test bench. The digital torque data signal is transferred wirelessly by telemetry from rotor to stator. The product development team can change the test setup as
needed, for example by using the braking machines as drive motors and adding any gears needed to generate a suitable ratio. The solutions, available all over the world, are supported not only by the latest technology but also by a highly specialized R&D team in Finland, as well as by a spares department whose task is to ensure high availability of parts, in order to eliminate unexpected vehicle downtime. As the company states, Sisu Axles is always evolving as the needs of its customers change and as new opportunities emerge in the market. Customers can rest assured that when working with Sisu Axles they will n enjoy the best services and assistance in the industry.
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STAYING IN THE FLOW Tristone Flowtech, a specialist in flow technology solutions for the automotive industry, is a benchmark when it comes to tailor-made fluid solutions - air, water, hot and cool. Following an acquisition in China in 2020, this globally operating automotive supplier group has recorded an excellent financial performance despite the pandemic.
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ith its broad portfolio of innovative technology, Tristone offers complete and integrated flow technology solutions with high added value. The group is highly specialized in fluid applications in the areas of motor and battery cooling as well as air charge systems. Tristone is benefiting from the trend towards a reduction in space and fuel consumption with the introduction of polyamide materials as well as the introduction of new powertrain concepts with hybrid and electrical cars and the integration of fluid motor and battery cooling systems. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main Tristone has been part of the Chinese Zhongding Group since 2017. For 2020, the company confirmed a sales record with €322 million in total annual sales as well as €151 million in new business awards. The year-on-year sales growth of over 7.7% includes the activities of the Group’s acquisition of a second facility in China in January 2020.
Excellent performance despite pandemic Following Tristone’s strategy, 50% of the total business awards were received in the battery cooling product family, clearly reflecting Tristone’s strategic plan, its alignment with the market and the OEM´s commitment to promoting sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions. “We are very proud of this achievement, having again outperformed the records achieved during recent years. For the second time in a row, we´ve managed to break the €100 million new business awards barrier,” says Bernd Bitter, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Ignacio Salazar, President and CEO of Tristone Group, added: “After a very difficult year with an average production drop of 22% in
the markets where Tristone is present, our company has managed to increase the sales level versus the previous year. Our positioning in battery cooling applications has been key to reaching these results and growth above the market average.” He said that the amount of business already booked for the future gives the company an excellent basis to further develop the Group in line with its strategy, and shows that Tristone is following the right technology trends with suitable solutions for its customers. The company can be particularly proud to have maintained overall positive earnings, despite the tremendous negative impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on the automotive sector and the associated demand volatility and rolling global shutdowns.
Strengthening in China This positive financial performance has been supported by Tristone’s acquisition of its second plant in China early last year - Anhui Zhongding Rubber Hose Products Co. Ltd., Ningguo, focusing mainly on engine and battery cooling hoses as well as air charge hoses supplied to local Chinese OEMs. According to the company, the intention behind this acquisition was to strengthen market position in the fields of engine and battery cooling systems as well air charge systems and also to access the local Chinese OEM automotive passenger car market. ‘With our two production plants in China in Ningguo and Suzhou, Tristone Group will be in a position to offer a broader product portfolio, being a full system supplier and design partner to our global OEM customers in China as well as the local Chinese OEMs,” says Sonja Rossteuscher-Schütze, CFO of the group.
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“Our product portfolio will include not only engine cooling hose systems, but also air charge hose systems, wrapped turbocharged hose systems, plastic PA pipe systems and plastic surge tanks. In a next step, Tristone will be in a position in the Chinese market to also produce plastic quick connectors, plastic ducts as well as automated produced engine cooling hoses,” she added.
Good year ahead Summarising Tristone’s outlook for the coming years, Ignacio Salazar says: ‘Despite a turbulent first half of last year, the Group has managed to maintain its positive momentum. The high amount of booked business for the years to come guarantees a robust development plan aligned with the required technical solutions expected by our customers.” He affirmed that Tristone continues to grow faster than the market average, with its geographic expansion being a key driver. “Being a design partner for our customers positions our company as a value-added supplier to our global OEM customer base,” he says, adding that Tristone will follow a clear strategy focusing on growth outside of Europe.
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The company is expecting further steep sales growth of over 20% in 2021, driven primarily by ongoing start-ups in China, Europe, NAFTA, and India, including new products and applications with new patented technology. With a revenue forecast at €385 million in 2021, Tristone can look into the near future with n well-founded optimism.
CENTURY OF EXCELLENCE This year the KONČAR Group commemorates its centenary. Over the years, the company has grown into one of Croatia’s biggest exporters and a standard bearer for innovation and technological development, becoming a symbol of longevity and tradition in its homeland.
ounded in 1921 in a small workshop in Zagreb, KONČAR is today a recognised regional leader in the energy sector and in rail vehicle manufacture. Over the last one hundred years, the company has delivered its products to almost 130 markets worldwide, including more than 400,000 transformers, voltage levels and power outputs, and constructed and refurbished 375 hydropower plants, 700 generators and some 200 low-floor trams and trains.
Electric Performance The beginning of the KONČAR Group’s celebratory year was marked by excellent business results and strong growth in organic sales. Consolidated operating revenues for the first three months of 2021 amounted to an impressive €95 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 15%. This outstanding result was heavily supported by the development and production of rail vehicles. KONČAR confirmed its strong position in the rail vehicle sector when it signed a new contract with HŽ Putnički prijevoz (passenger transport) for 12 electric trains for urban, suburban and regional routes. Another milestone was achieved with the delivery of the first of 12 electric trams to Liepājas Tramvajs, a municipal tram company in the Latvian city of Liepāja, to be delivered by April 2022. The contract is
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particularly important for the Croatian manufacturer as it opens the door to the lucrative EU market. “The 100% low-floor tram features KONČAR’s solutions for important subsystems, such as the main electric motor drive, auxiliary power supply, microprocessor control as well as communication technologies. It is equipped with an adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension system, which allows the floor height to be adjusted depending on the tramway tracks. The vehicle has air conditioning, video surveillance and passenger information systems,” explained Josip Ninić, President of the Management Board of KONČAR – Electric Vehicles Inc.
Group synergies “The low-floor tram and all its important subsystems are a result of our own development, in which numerous KONČAR Group companies have been involved. This agreement was preceded by the delivery of 142 low-floor trams for the City of Zagreb, worth over €250 million,” stated Ivan Bahun, Ph.D., Deputy President of KONČAR’s Management Board and President of KONČAR – Electric Vehicles Inc.’s Supervisory Board. He added that the delivery of trams to Latvia represented not only an extremely important goal for KONČAR but also a great achievement in terms of Croatian exports.
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“Our goal is not only to sell products but also to establish partnerships which produce good results. Through delivering the trams and providing Liepājas Tramvajs’ staff with training, we are sharing new knowledge and modern technologies, which will surely lead to a long-term partnership.” The trams and trains are manufactured by KONČAR – Electric Vehicles, one of the group’s companies, which focuses on the development, manufacture, modernisation and maintenance of electric track vehicles and electric vehicle equipment, with a strong focus on customer specification. KONČAR – Electric vehicles Inc. employs about 300 people and, when required, can draw on the wealth of experience and expertise
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of other companies n the Group for comprehensive projects, using the group’s synergy effects.
Positive business trend Given market developments, KONČAR is expecting a good year. The company has contracts for new projects in 2021 worth €414 million, with as much as 58% pertaining to foreign markets. Two of the major projects include a new agreement with a Croatian customer for 11 new electric units for urban and suburban traffic and ten units for regional traffic, as well as the ongoing collaboration in Latvia. Speaking about the Group’s future plans, Gordan Kolak, President of the Management Board of KONČAR, says: “We will focus on enhancing the power engineering portfolio, strengthening KONČAR’s role in the development and delivery of renewable energy solutions.” “We are also considering increasing our capacities in ICT solutions and experiences, as well as upgrading the technology that our manufacturing systems are based on. This would be based on the overall digitisation of power engineering and allow us to follow suit with this energy transition that has already begun. It requires major investments aimed at bringing our production facilities to the level necessary to ensure stronger presence and continued survival in the global market. Summarising the latest business developments, he says: “Despite the difficult period, we were able to act quickly and adjust our business processes to the ‘new normal’ in order to sustain a positive business trend. The pandemic has demonstrated our resilience and flexibility while continuing to provide quality and competence. This is the direction in which KONČAR wants to proceed, for the benefit of n all our stakeholders.”
New developments in Transportation
Rising Cost Of Pollution Poses Major Problem For Airlines
by Steven Gislam
rapid and steep rise in the cost of emissions in Europe is hitting airlines especially hard as they struggle to repair their balance sheets caused by the effects of the pandemic. The cost of carbon allowances which can be purchased under the EU's emissions trading system has more than doubled when compared with pre-pandemic levels and is now at over €50 per tonne. Like all carbon-intensive sectors, airlines operating in the region must buy the tradable carbon allowance credits to cover emissions under parallel systems in the EU and the UK. The UK system, which was launched in May, began trading at even higher prices of over £50 per tonne (€58 per tonne). Low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz are being hit particularly hard because both schemes only cover flight emissions in mainland Europe and the UK - where budget carriers do most of their flying. Deutsche Bank analyst Jaime Rowbotham told the FT: "There’s no getting away from the fact that the carbon price is going through the roof and these guys are exposed to that." He added that, while disclosures regarding emissions trading and strategies for hedging are patchy, it could be estimated that Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz will each pay over €600 million in carbon costs in their combined 2023 financial years, up from almost half that before the pandemic.
Airlines receive an annual amount of free credits, and any emissions beyond that level must be paid for. The decline in passenger numbers during the pandemic means that some free credits remain unused. They receive enough free credits to cover around 50% of emissions at pre-pandemic levels. The problem does not look likely to go away with traders anticipating a continued rise in the price of carbon as governments and corporations become more ambitious in terms of their net-zero pledges. It has led several airlines to start hedging credits in a similar way to they do with jet fuel to lock in lower prices. Ryanair has locked in credits at €25 per tonne, which the airline says it will use through to its 2023 financial year. The budget airline's director of sustainability Thomas Fowler has described the scheme as a "tax on EU traffic", arguing that it should also be applied to flights operating outside of Europe. Our view on it is that aviation as a whole has to do its job to reduce its carbon footprint, not intra-EU traffic," Fowler told FT. He added that the proceeds should be reinvested into the industry to fund further research into sustainable fuels and models of aviation in order to help the sector transition to a low-carbon economy. There are plans in both the EU and the UK to reduce the number of allowances in the trading schemes over the next decade as well as the number given out for free. It is widely expected that this will push up the price of credits even further. Emissions trading is rapidly becoming one of the top three costs to airlines, according to lobby group Airlines for Europe. It is likely the rising costs will be passed on to passengers and the sector will find itself having to perform a delicate balancing act as they also aim to stimulate demand through low prices as the continent emerges from the pandemic. The cost of emissions trading credits has never previously been high enough to change airlines' behaviour, though some now will have to consider that €50 per tonne is likely to be the bottom price moving forward.
Norway Is Building The World's First Tunnel For Ships by Steven Gislam
he Norwegian government has given the goahead for the construction of the world's first tunnel for ships, which will allow safe passage for vessels navigating the exposed Stadhavet Sea. The prospect of a tunnel through the mountains of the Stad peninsula, on Norway's western tip, has been hotly debated for decades, though the first construction plan was revealed in 2013. The government has now allocated around €265 million for the tunnel's construction, based on a plan put forward by the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Since then, it has been through cost reduction and quality assurance processes.
The Stad tunnel will be 1.7km long, 37 metres high and 26.5 metres wide, which is large enough for coastal steamer-sized ships to safely navigate. It is estimated that some three million³ tonnes of rock will be removed during the construction process. Temporary project manager Terje Andreassen, of the Norwegian Coastal Association, which is overseeing the tunnel's construction, said that the process of finding a contractor for the tunnel has begun, with construction expected to have begun by 2022 and completed within four years of breaking ground. "Based on the allocation letter, we will now start the processes of acquiring properties in
the area where the ship tunnel will be located, as well as put in place a project organisation, prepare a tender basis and initiate a tender," said Andreassen. "There is much work to be done, but we have carried out extensive studies and planning that will form the basis for the work."
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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
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
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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. 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,
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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
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
GROWING IN PARTNERSHIPS S 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.
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.
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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. 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
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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 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.
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
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 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 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, pressure 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.
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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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METALS & MINING
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 125
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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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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.
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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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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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.
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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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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