Environmentally friendly product and process solutions

Products and services with special environmental performance

New demands are always being made on components and production processes to satisfy the legal standards and work in a manner that conserves resources in many areas, such as the automotive, electronics and packaging industries. In response to this trend, we have developed a cross-technology list of actions with the "BluePower" initiative. In recent years we have intensively developed our machines further, so that they meet current material requirements while also always producing with better energy conservation and greater efficiency. To that end, in the area of injection molding technology we have improved our lightweight construction processes and use of recycled materials while in the area of reaction process machinery. We have developed measures that enable us to sustainably increase energy efficiency during processes such as processing polyurethane and other reaction resins. By doing so we not only create added value for our customers, but also are able to actively contribute to environmental protection.

In the BluePower initiative, KraussMaffei is combining measures for efficient drive technology, sophisticated thermal balance and cross-technology process optimization. The BluePower list of actions can be applied across companies, independently of clamping force sizes, series and manufacture, and can be applied to new or already installed machines. This achieves low energy consumption and more efficient use of resources during processing of plastic and rubber while maintaining at least the same level of productivity. Examples of this include BluePower Vario Drive, a variable-speed asynchronous motor that reduces energy consumption by up to 40 percent, and the BluePower insulating sleeve, which saves 40 percent of heating energy.

By means of this initiative, we pledge ourselves to the responsibility of contributing energy-efficient production solutions for conserving scarce resources, conserving energy and sustainably reducing global CO2 emissions. Machines equipped with a function from the BluePower initiative are labeled with the BluePower logo.

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Aside from that, energy efficiency labels are available for all KraussMaffei machines as proof of their efficiency class in accordance with EUROMAP 60.1. EUROMAP is a recommendation of the European umbrella association for plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers for determining the energy consumed by injection molding machines.

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Selection from our environmental portfolio

We have made it our goal to make a substantial contribution to climate protection with our machines. Our activities for developing environmentally friendly and resource-conserving machines are reflected at two levels of the product portfolio. First, we develop new machines—or revised versions of proven systems—so that they work ever more efficiently. Second, we develop new control systems and control functions, which also contribute to increasing efficiency and consequently to reducing environmental impact. We have a broad range of machines, technologies and processes that support environmental and climate protection. Our energy-efficient machines and process solutions help our customers work with the greatest possible cost-effectiveness, energy-efficiency and conservation of resources.

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Internal idea management – our ideas forum

We place great value on the rich store of experience that our employees possess. The ideas forum—what we call our employee suggestion system—gives individual employees the opportunity to initiate improvements in the company with their own ideas and suggestions. The objectives here are, in particular, to increase work safety and environmental protection, to boost productivity and cost-efficiency of the company, to improve technical products and processes, to make working conditions easier, to improve organizational flow and to promote in-house collaboration.

All employees and trainees can participate in the ideas forum. All submitted ideas are evaluated using a standardized process. In order to be implemented, an improvement proposal has to go beyond the employee's own field of activity and contain a feasible approach to solving a problem. Furthermore, the improvement has to be genuinely new. All improvement proposals that get implemented will be awarded. But even proposals that do not get implemented will be honored with a non-monetary gift if they demonstrate specialized knowledge and circumspection. In 2015 a total of 164 improvement proposals were submitted. During the period of 2014/15, 93 proposals were implemented. Many ideas have already been submitted in 2016, too. Among them is a proposal for optimizing the work process of our seal tests. Instead of attaching a parallel circuit of hoses and valves on every mold—the tests have to be carried out at a reduced pressure—in the future the pressure will be controlled by a central switchover valve, so that all seal valves are simultaneously supplied with a reduced pressure. This measure not only substantially decreases the work effort, but also simultaneously reduces material wear and costs as well as increases the work safety at the mold.

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Continuous improvement management

In addition to constantly improving our machines, always focusing primarily on the needs and wishes of our customers, we are also working on making our internal processes more efficient, streamlined and flexible. To that end, the Lean & Projects department was established in April of 2014 and firmly anchored in the organizational structure of KraussMaffei. Using the Lean principles we developed, we can improve continuously and achieve the corporate goals of quality, on-time delivery, growth and flexibility. Locally, the Lean team based in Munich collaborates with colleagues from the production locations. Training sessions are held as part of workshops to create an optimum link between theory and practice.

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The Lean philosophy runs through all areas of our company. In Production we have established a management system with which we work efficiently and in a manner that conserves resources. This means that we want to operate our production systems as smoothly as possible. We try to generate less scrap, prevent downtime and coordinate processes for maintenance and repairs. For that purpose, we have introduced the TPM (Total Productive Management) management system. This contains all topics from the entire environment of the machine, such as CNC programs for computer-supported numeric open- and closed-loop control of machine tools, molds, machine utilization and quality of the raw materials.

To increase the work safety and to increase efficiency through standardization, we are using the 5S method to arrange for organization and cleanliness at the workplace. The 5 Ss come from Japanese words (Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke). Their translation stands for the five steps necessary for an organized and clean workplace—regardless of whether it is in Production or in an office.

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With KAIZEN, which also comes from the Japanese and basically means "change for the better," we want to continuously inspire incremental improvements. The method specifies striving for continuous improvement in the process of rendering of services as well as with regard to the results of the services. In particular, we strive for small, easily managed steps toward improvement, and further improvements are viewed as possible at every stage. The employees are familiarized with the principles in workshops including employees (KAIZEN) or self-audits (5S).

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