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Corporate Sustainability Officer
The Schaeffler Group operates around 75 production locations, meaning it actively takes global responsibility for environmental and climate protection. We continuously optimize our production processes while systematically reducing our consumption of energy and resources. This helps us cut our costs and set international standards in corporate environmental and energy management.
A sustainable and responsible use of energy and environmental resources is an integral part of the Schaeffler Group’s corporate culture. As a leading technology provider and innovator, the organization is seen as a role model worldwide, both for its commitment to the efficient use of energy and materials and for its reduction of emissions, waste, and water consumption. Relevant environmental and energy issues are taken into account in a thorough manner both in designing production processes and in product development in order to continuously improve the environmental performance of the company and our customers.
The company achieves continuous progress in the areas of energy efficiency and environmental protection with the global EnEHS management system the organization has been using for many years. EnEHS is short for energy, environment, health, and safety. The EnEHS system complies with ISO 50001 regarding energy, ISO 14001 regarding environmental protection, OHSAS 18001 regarding health and safety, and with EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme).
As of December 31st 2016, 63 locations worldwide were entered in the EMAS location register of the European Union; all production locations of the Schaeffler Group are scheduled to be entered by the end of 2017. Twelve locations were validated over the course of 2016: Cheraw, Danbury, Fort Mill, Irapuato, Joplin, Maneja, Nanjing, Puebla, Romanshorn, Savli, Winsted, and Wooster. They will also likely be listed in the EMAS location register by March of 2017.
The Competence Center worked with the Executive Board of the Schaeffler Group in December 2016 to identify the future cornerstones of its environmental management policy, agreeing to performance targets for the next five years in the areas of waste, operating materials, soil and groundwater protection, and resource savings. Targets related to resources, for instance, include “wastewater-free operation” or “endless oil”, a method that eliminates the need to replace oil used in production. The key indicators section of our production locations’ environmental declarations report on progress towards agreed targets on an annual basis.
The goal of energy management is to continuously evaluate and improve processes based on energy data recorded across the group. Schaeffler maintains a standardized global energy data management system (EDMS) to record this data. The system is used to monitor consumption data, detect potential areas of savings, and review measures that have been implemented to ensure they are effective. In addition, forecasts and energy audits can be prepared on either a location or regional level.
One important field of work within the Schaeffler Group’s energy management is improving the energy efficiency of our production and logistics processes. Efficient technologies for self-supply with electric and thermal energy play a role in this area, e.g. through using modern cogeneration units with combined heat, power, and cooling.
Employees of the Schaeffler Group play a key role in improving the company’s energy and CO2 footprints. Employees are sensitized to the topic of energy efficiency by the energy officer through targeted programs and incentives on the topic. The message: Everyone can make their own personal contribution to saving energy.
The Schaeffler Group wants to offer its automotive and industrial customers products and solutions with the best possible material and resource management. To do so, we analyze and utilize potential along our entire value chain, use lightweight materials like aluminum, magnesium, or carbon fibers, and reduce material loss through new manufacturing technologies and closed recycling circuits.
At the Schaeffler Group, we have made it our goal to achieve better integration of all relevant areas into the value chain. Modularization and Industry 4.0 will play a key role here, as will energy efficiency. The new Schaeffler concept “Factory for Tomorrow” illustrates solutions such as constructing factories with a modular design or optimizing the factory life cycle. The goal is to increase the ability of equipment to adapt to changing requirements and to improve cross-functional communication. This should allow all direct and indirect areas of production to continue fulfilling their own approach to operational excellence into the future.
Several exemplary life cycle assessments on vehicle clutches and roller bearings for aircraft engines and railway vehicles provided important information on product optimizations in the life cycle of our products. The studies prepared for the period 2014 to 2016 confirm that refurbishing and reusing reclaimed bearings offers an enormous potential for savings: doing so allows us to avoid up to 95 % of the CO2 emissions and energy use in comparison to producing new parts. In addition, refurbishing bearings requires up to 2,000 l less water per bearing. Refurbishing bearings furthermore provides major economic advantages, especially since the products offer the same quality as new Schaeffler original components after cleaning, professional inspection (e.g. crack testing with magnetic fields) and any required reworking.
Besides refurbishing, solutions to extend the service lives of components are also implemented to improve material and resource efficiency. Key starting points for doing so include weight and vibration reduction as well as regular maintenance cycles. We have also combined several means of product life cycle extension to help us meet our “X-Life” quality standard.
Incoming and outgoing freight transports, Schaeffler Group employees’ commute and business trips all produce emissions and result in significant environmental impacts. To reduce these impacts, the Schaeffler Group is continuously improving the efficiency of our international transportation network and focusing more and more on electric vehicles for employee mobility.
Schaeffler UK Ltd. has been using a new kind of “Transport Order Management System” (TOMS) in the model project “Seamless Supply Information Integration” since 2015. Using TOMS, we are able to securely bundle transportation orders of Schaeffler subsidiaries in their global supply network, then seamlessly transfer these to the parties involved and bill them automatically. The project was honored with the “elogistics award 2016” by the AKJ Automotive working group, a network of experts in logistics and production in the automotive industry. The system is slated for expansion to additional factories in Europe in the future.
Freight transportation across long distances can significantly increase the environmental and CO2 footprints of products, as well as their life cycle costs. This is why the Schaeffler Group is working to switch over from air and ocean freight to railway transportation as an environmentally-friendly alternative. We have been utilizing railway connections, for instance between Europe and China, for this purpose since 2016. In comparison to air cargo, we are able to realize theoretical savings of up to 900 g CO2 per ton kilometer.
The Schaeffler Group wants its employees to come along on the journey we’ve begun towards “Mobility for tomorrow”, and we’ve adopted a comprehensive project to do just that. It involves establishing a charging infrastructure for electric cars at our German locations, among other measures. We have prepared a separate standard for this purpose that regulates issues like fire protection, labeling, location selection, or power supply and ensures compatibility between the charging point and the vehicle.
Bearing refurbishment for Alstom: In 2015, Schaeffler exchanged thousands of full-complement cylindrical roller bearings for railway vehicle manufacturer Alstom as part of our maintenance for 56 high-speed Pendolino trains. The bearings were disassembled, cleaned, and subjected to 100 % visual inspection.
Power savings in the high-bay shelving system: 70 % power savings by modernizing the drive technology: We converted the storage and retrieval machines in the high-bay shelving system at the Herzogenaurach location through October 2016. We installed new devices for recapturing braking energy, for instance when bringing loads downward or braking the retrieval machines.