United Kingdom-based molder Essentra Components says it is moving closer to its goal of net zero emissions, with changes implemented in 2021 helping its move while also quickly yielding tangible benefits for the company.
Essentra Components produces a diverse ranges of products, from caps and plugs, wire and cable management products and flange protection to knobs, handles, grips, PCB and electronics hardware, and tools and precision instruments, all of which are used in a wide variety of applications and industries.
The sustainability measures taken by the company consisted both of investments in new, electric injection molding machinery and adjusting the composition of its low density polyethylene range to include up to 40 percent post-consumer recycled plastics.
The results, in terms of improved efficiency and productivity, were felt almost immediately.
Richard Sederman, Essentra Components’ strategy and M&A director said the results of the switch far outweigh the initial investment and expectations.
“We were aware that making significant change would require equally significant investment, however, we weren’t aware just how quickly we’d see the benefits feed through into the business,” he said.
According to the company, the installation of new electric injection molding machinery has been one of the biggest driving factors in the productivity uplift.
Two of the new machines have, since their installation, been running with an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) score of between 70 percent and 80 percent. The machines they recently replaced had an average OEE score of just 45 percent across the board at their peak.
Moreover, a 50 percent increase has been seen in the run hours. One previous machine was experiencing figures of 2,142 down hours and only 700 run hours, but with the newer machines, these figures are effectively reversed, with upwards of 2447 hrs run hours and only 420 down (measured while running 24 hours a day between January 1 and May 2, 2021).
Across nine metrics measured throughout the electric machines program, including efficiency, productivity, energy costs, production speed and material wastage, all nine benchmarks had improved since January 2021 when the installation of the new machinery began.
And, while introducing post-industrial recyclate to its portfolio was mainly intended to help customers improve their sustainability score and reduce their carbon footprint without the need to completely overhaul their infrastructure, it has also proven to help Essentra Components reduce its scope three carbon emissions.
“The overall ambition was twofold: firstly, we wanted to reduce our carbon footprint to such a level that the business can move closer to its net zero goal; and secondly we wanted to future-proof the business with new, more efficient machinery. In the long run we expected these changes to have a marked improvement on day-to-day running but weren’t expecting the results to be so good so soon,” Sederman said.
The team was quick to adapt to new processes, he said. As part of the initial report, teams across the business were asked whether day-to-day operations had seen a positive improvement and whether they were easier to manage. The answer was ‘yes’; business functionality, productivity and efficiency had all also further improved.
“Clearly, going green is not just good for the environment, but better for business,” said Sederman.