Saving Resources in Mechanical Engineering
The increasing demand for resource-saving products requires companies in all sectors to find solutions. The Mechanical and System Engineering company Winkler+Dünnebier GmbH has already initiated some steps and has planned further ones to support its customers in turning to resource-efficient processes, products and packaging.
Within its interview series “Circular Competence“, the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association consults its member companies about their plans, solutions, and challenges on the way to a circular economy. They pay particular attention to minimizing the ecological footprint of packaging and other printing products. In this interview, Frank Eichhorn, the Managing Director of Winkler+Dünnebier GmbH, explains the development of resource-efficient solutions at the mechanical and engineering company.
Saving Resources on Their Own Doorstep
In order to save resources, Winkler+Dünnebier focuses both on adapting its own machines and on improving the machines of its customers. The company’s machines are gradually getting an optimization of the compressed air systems, which minimizes in-house losses. In addition, the sorting of production waste has been improved and is now sorted by type. While electric vehicles are already being used, there are also plans to use photovoltaic systems for the company’s power supply. Nevertheless, Frank Eichhorn sees more potential on the customer’s machines:
“But of course, the leverage is much greater with the machines we develop and produce for our customers.”
Improvements and Upgrades for Customer Machines
Therefore, machines from customer orders are adapted in various areas to use raw materials more efficiently. Especially in terms of energy savings, a lot can be achieved with efficient drying systems. Vacuum solutions for transporting the end products minimize vacuum consumption. Winkler+Dünnebier offers these modifications to be integrated into new machines or even existing ones. With the option of upgrading existing machines, the company is making an important contribution to an eco-friendly future by extending the service life of machines. Overall, these initiatives result in worthwhile resource savings.
Furthermore, the company is making slight improvements in several other areas. Envelopes that previously got stuck in the drying process and became unusable after a machine stop can still be used by removing them automatically at an early stage. With machines that enable mailings tailored to individual target groups, the company wants to counter the prejudice against mailings.
“Mailings have an unjustified reputation for wasting resources. Our machines enable (…) personalisable mailings individually tailored to target groups instead of mass mailings or digital email campaigns, which require a lot of energy but have been proven to achieve much lower response rates than targeted mailings by post.”
Environmental Protection for the Best Price
To remain competitive, companies must ensure that new products can be offered at similar costs to their predecessors when switching to resource-saving products. Winkler+Dünnebier’s customers pay particular attention to unit costs. Even though society is increasingly moving in an environmentally conscious direction, prohibitive costs can restrict demand for energy- and resource-efficient process solutions. Therefore, Winkler+Dünnebier GmbH focuses on process optimization and automation to produce as cost-effectively as possible.
“I see it as our core competence to integrate as many high-precision processes as possible into the machine inline at permanently high production speeds to ensure minimum unit costs for our customers.”
Finding Joint Solutions
Intending to offer customers the vast possible range of potential technological options, the company sometimes approaches customers with unfinished solutions. These leave room for customers’ suggestions, proposals, and individual wishes. This is very well received by customers.
“Fortunately, our range of customers has recently become broader as a result.”
In any case, Frank Eichhorn would still like to see clear, long-term goals from the political side. After all, it should not be forgotten that transformation processes take time.
There are many ways to save resources in mechanical and plant engineering and reduce the ecological footprint of this industry. Where do you still see the approaches and optimization potential in machinery?