Investments for a Greener Future

12:15 PM, July 14, 2016

With help from Norway Grants, ROMRADIATOARE has invested in modern and innovative technologies for improved environmental performance.

Industrial production is a polluting activity by its nature – old machinery and old technology contribute to its environmental impact – and ROMRADIATOARE is part of this process. In 2014 we assessed our equipment and production facilities and concluded it was time for a change. Even if our environmental impact was well below the limits imposed by law, it was not low enough for us.

The Green Industry Innovation Programme Romania, which “aims to increase competitiveness of green enterprises, including greening of existing industries, green innovation and green entrepreneurship”, fit perfectly with our development plans. With a €550,000 grant, we began the Green Business Development for Increased Competitiveness project and invested more than €1.1 million in modern machinery, equipment, and CAD-CAM software. The aim of our project was to improve the environmental performance of our company, both in terms of “greening” the production processes as well as increasing the production capabilities and capacities of greener products within the overall production structure.

With 90 years of history, ROMRADIATOARE is the oldest and most well-known Romanian company producing radiators and heat exchangers, and one of the oldest in Europe. Although tradition is valuable and attests to the notion that over a long period of time we have been able to continually add value for our customers, it can also be a drawback, especially with regard to the technology being used. Old machinery and technologies for cutting, forming, soldering, brazing, welding, painting, and many other processes were “traditional,” meaning we lagged behind in productivity and efficiency as well as reducing the impact on the environment. Furthermore, we assessed the health and safety aspects for the people working in our factory and wanted better conditions, even if current ones were compliant with laws and regulations.

From our analysis, there were some key areas that needed to be addressed. Firstly, we needed to increase our energy efficiency, to reduce natural gas consumption, and to reduce harmful emissions to air and wastewater. Secondly, our design and production accuracy needed improvement in order to reduce scrap levels due to quality issues, reduce raw material technological waste (copper, brass, aluminum, and steel), and to increase production capacity for greener heat exchangers. Thirdly, it was the implementation of OHSAS 18001 – an international Occupational Health and Safety Management System – that would set the standard for our activity. Each and every investment carried out as part of our project tackled one or more of these issues.

Energy consumption is one of our most import focus areas, as excess energy consumption is bad for business (higher costs, lower competitiveness on the market) and bad for the environment (more pollution). So, our first challenge was to reduce our energy consumption. Our brand new CNC laser cutting machine is amazing with regard to power efficiency and nesting capabilities. Our new industrial compressor is 35 percent more efficient regarding energy and oil consumption than the old ones. By carefully assessing our needs and purchasing only the latest equipment, in 2015 we managed to reduce our factory’s energy consumption by 167 kWh per ton of raw material processed, as compared to 2014 numbers.

Harmful emissions are bad for the environment and bad for the local community. Our main focus was CO2 emissions in the air and PH levels and zinc emissions in wastewater. To reduce our natural gas consumption levels, we acquired a modern electrical brass tube forming and soldering machine. Due to the precise control of the soldering bath, this new machine also allowed for replacing the fluxing substance with a less corrosive one, thus eliminating zinc chloride from the process and reducing the quantity of soldering alloy by as much as 40 percent compared to the previous technology. The former hard brazing method was replaced by a highly innovative OxyHydrogen brazing technology, which eliminated acetylene and CO2 emissions from the pipe-brazing process, all of this while achieving significant increases in productivity, quality, and efficiency. To better control the temperature of the gas-fired aluminum CAB brazing furnace, a telemetry tracking system was installed. Improved control over the temperature means increased efficiency, lower CO2 emissions, and better quality. To further reduce gas consumption, a new solar panel heating system for water in the degreasing part of the painting line was fitted, meaning that, from now on, mostly green energy is being used for this process.

Excess material consumption, due to quality issues and technological waste, has also been significantly reduced as a result of investments in modern and efficient tube-bending equipment, cutting equipment (for metal sheet, bars, profiles, aluminum fins for radiators), machining equipment (lathe, mill), and CAM machining software, press-brake-bending equipment, and welding equipment.

Last, but for sure not least, is the implementation of OHSAS 18001. Along with other steps we took, this ensures that the UN Global Compact’s Principles 1 and 2 are being followed. We are very proud to report that documentation, training, and implementation of the system have been finalized and that we are OHSAS 18001:2007 certified, meaning that our employees have a better work environment and encounter fewer occupational health and safety risks. Work conditions have also improved considerably through investments in welding and soldering fumes exhaust systems and noise-reduction systems for our punch presses. Moreover, all the production equipment purchased is CE compliant with regard to operator health and safety.

By implementing innovative and eco-friendly technologies in our production processes and by increasing the quality and share of greener products in our portfolio, ROMRADIATOARE has improved its environmental performance and has become better aligned with the overall expectations of all its stakeholders as well as with the Global Compact’s Principles 7, 8, and 9.

This has just been a starting point for us. We are committed to following the sustainable and environmentally-friendly business model we have begun. By doing so, we will better fulfill the expectations of all our stakeholders. A greener future is not only a desire for us, but an imperative.

About the Authors
Răducan, Mihai

Mihai Răducan is HR Manager & Communication Specialist at ROMRADIATOARE


ROMRADIATOARE designs and manufactures heat exchangers and cooling/heating systems for engines and other specialized applications, as well as a broad range of metal fabrications and module assemblies. The products manufactured serve the needs of clients operating in diverse industries, such as thermal engineering, agriculture, forestry and construction machinery, railway, power generation, industrial equipment manufacturing, residential and commercial heating, extractive equipment, marine and defense equipment.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
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