POLYTEC PASSION CREATES INNOVATION

MORE THAN JUST “GREEN THEORY”

SUSTAINABILITY

Naturally enough, the processing of plastics requires large quantities of resources. Therefore the careful utilisation of production means and energy is a necessity from both an environmental and an economic perspective. Accordingly, a reduction in the use of resources is one of the POLYTEC GROUP’s fundamental business objectives. The group is pursuing three strategic initiatives.​​​​​​​

Resource conservation

In the injection moulding area, POLYTEC seeks the widest possible use of regranulate and modern dosing systems. Wherever feasible, the sprue emanating from processing is milled directly on the machine and then returned to the process. One clear indication of the group’s successful use of efficient production processes is provided by the resource-protective manufacture of soft engine covers at the Hörsching location in Upper Austria, for which POLYTEC received provincial government funding and an environmental grant from Kommunalkredit Public Consulting. In addition, during 2020 a recycling system was installed at the Roosendaal location in the Netherlands, which assists the in-plant recycling of (glass-fibre reinforced) thermoplastic waste. Prior to this installation, the scrap had to be sent to an external processor in Germany. The new system not only provides recycling in-house, but also saves the need for transportation and thus CO2 emissions.

Enhanced energy efficiency

POLYTEC constantly invests in the modernisation of its plants. Over the years, the insulation of pipelines, machinery and buildings, modern and powerful boilers, LED lighting, energy management systems and many other measures have resulted in a steady reduction in the group’s relative energy consumption. Internal energy cycles constitute a major factor in this progressive development. At the Lohne, Gochsheim, Wolmirstedt and Hörsching locations highly efficient heat recovery systems are already in operation, which enable the use of waste heat from processing plants for other purposes such as building heating.

Reduced environmental emissions

The group aims to further lower the volume of its emissions through an increase in the share of power from renewable resources in its energy mix and the installation of photovoltaic systems on the roofs of its plants. Moreover, correct waste separation at POLYTEC is promoted by a uniform colour coding system, which enables the rational recycling of the unavoidable waste created within the group. The separation system not only cuts the amounts of residual waste, but also disposal costs. In general, POLYTEC employs water-based paints, which considerably reduces the consumption of solvents and hence environmental emissions. Last, but not least, POLYTEC’s lightweight design products make a millionfold contribution to making global mobility more efficient and consequently more environment-friendly.

ECONOMICAL, EFFICIENT, ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY

INTELLIGENT CLIMATE PROTECTION AT POLYTEC

The POLYTEC GROUP is clearly committed to sustainability along its entire value chain. Accordingly, in 2020 it again launched new projects which are intended to further optimise the group’s CO2 footprint. In the long term, production at all of POLYTEC’s plants should be climate- neutral – an objective that demands solutions that are economical, efficient and environment-friendly in equal measure.

 

The keystone for POLYTEC’s ambitious environmental target is provided by reliable data. Therefore, information regarding the CO2 emissions at all of the group’s locations has been collated and assessed in a central database since 2020. This data analysis then enables the extremely precise planning, implementation and evaluation of actual projects. Within the POLYTEC GROUP, the Ebensee location in Upper Austria serves as a role model for sustainable production. Ebensee manufactures injection-moulded logistics boxes and exterior components for cars and trucks, and for many years, the plant’s energy-intensive production has functioned on a virtually CO2-neutral basis. Moreover, many of the innovations implemented successfully at the location are subsequently transferred to other group plants. Amongst the key initiatives launched by POLYTEC in 2020 is the planned installation of photovoltaic systems at nine group locations. Other important steps on the road to climate neutrality include the installation of modern and (energy-) efficient plants and measures aimed at shortening transport routes.

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Green power

The POLYTEC GROUP’s plants dispose over an enormous roof area measuring over 300,000 square metres, which corresponds roughly with the size of 43 football pitches. Beginning in the second quarter of 2021, parts of these surfaces are to be gradually adapted for electricity generation from solar power. Together with a cooperation partner, POLYTEC will probably equip nine of its locations with large-area photovoltaic systems. These will be capable of supplying up to 10 GWh of “green power” annually and thus make a major contribution to CO2-neutral production at POLYTEC in the years to come.

Shorter transport routes

Glass fibres serve as the basic raw material for numerous lightweight design products. In 2018, POLYTEC signed a supply contract with an Egyptian glass fibre manufacturer. Previously, the group had obtained its deliveries, which amounted to some 4,500 tonnes annually, from China. With the conclusion of the new agreement, POLYTEC will increase security of supply and shorten transport routes. All in all, the new supply agreement saves POLYTEC almost EUR 1.5 million per year, while simultaneously preventing 51,000 transportation kilometres and 460 tonnes of CO2.

Environment-friendly plants

High-performance plants, as they are utilised by POLYTEC for the production of innovative plastic parts, require efficient cooling. Such equipment includes tools to process the plastic material and high-performance presses which require a supply of hydraulic oil that is constantly kept within an ideal temperature range. POLYTEC employs extremely energy-efficient, coolant water processes for this purpose. One such system was installed at the group location in Sládkovičovo, Slovakia in October 2020. The cooling circuits for tools and machines have been separated by means of a new central cooling plant and piping system. The investment is set to pay dividends in both a climate protection and economic regard. This is because the new central cooling plant provides electricity savings of up to 300 MWh per year compared with its predecessor.

PRODUCTS WITH ADDED VALUE

CLEAN PARTS

Apart from the internal initiatives undertaken by POLYTEC for environment-friendly production, the use of vehicle components manufactured by the group also contributes to both climate and environmental protection. Weight reduction plays an important role in this connection and the majority of the plastic parts that POLYTEC develops and produces for cars or trucks are far lighter than similar metal solutions, but still provide the same degree of durability and stability. Lower weight means lower fuel consumption and hence reduced emissions.

Another beneficial aspect of these parts is furnished by the integration of different functions in a single component. POLYTEC is one of the world’s leading companies of the automotive supply industry with regard to the development of such modules. Functional integration offers manifold advantages, as fewer parts and therefore less material are required, vehicle complexity is reduced and such modules frequently not only offer markedly superior performance as compared to standard parts, but also enhanced cleanliness.

POLYTEC manufactures battery housings for Jaguar Land Rover’s Evoque, E-Pace and Discovery Sport hybrids using a material combination comprised of GMT und GMTex. As opposed to the corresponding steel solution, the weight per component has thus been lowered by impressive 7 kilograms or 65 per cent.
 

Batteriegehäuse

One example of improved performance through intelligent functional integration is provided by the differential pressure regulated oil separator, which POLYTEC is to produce for a number of OEMs. Apart from its lightweight design and a function that has been optimised for engines compliant to the Euro 7 exhaust emissions standard, the module also cuts pollutant vehicle emissions and engine oil consumption.

Oelabscheider

The virtually unlimited design freedom that plastics offer as a raw material is a key advantage and this plays a central role in the production of the transmission spray piping system for the direct shift gearboxes of VW Group vehicles. Instead of six preformed steel pipes, which must be manufactured separately and then joined in a complicated process, a single module of streamlined design provides the transmission gear wheels with sufficient oil. The one-piece production of the spray pipe cuts material consumption, production costs and weight, shortens transport routes and reduces the energy requirement during assembly, as the piping system leaves the injection mould as a ready-to-install component.

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