The environment and sustainability
Nature and the wellbeing of future generations are causes close to our hearts. Not just because we are a family company steeped in tradition with deep roots in the region, but also because our vision of a peaceful and worthwhile future embodies a commitment to preserve the world we all live in. That's why our production and transport processes are designed to preserve resources, we use natural energy sources to produce electricity and do not release any harmful emissions into the environment.
Part of the primary products of our materials, for example polyols and isocyanates, are produced from and using fossil raw materials such as crude oil or natural gas. No other raw materials possess the same chemical and physical properties that characterise the quality and service life of our products. But do they damage our environment? No, because pollutants are not released during their manufacturing or use. What's more, their high resistance is a plus point when it comes to sustainability: they retain their material properties without any loss of performance, significantly increase the service life of the bedded components, are maintenance-free and are tested over decades.
The durability of our products plays a verifiable part in preserving resources and improving the CO2 balance over their life cycle. Even after they've reached their expected useful life, our materials can be reused, for example through recycling and being subsequently fed back into the production cycle. We are already working on new solutions that will allow our materials to be fully recycled and integrated back into the recycling loop. In addition, as a company we are constantly scrutinising all our environment-related processes, and are actively pursuing an efficiency programme focusing on conserving resources, the results of which we document and communicate.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals drawn up by the United Nations address the greatest challenges we currently face. We are aware of our responsibility towards society and the environment, and regard sustainable business practices as the basic requirement for long-term success. This is why everything we do in terms of strategy and our operations is guided by the United Nation's SDGs.
Getzner already has a range of measures in place to conserve nature and protect our natural resources. Below is an array of examples from different areas of the business that demonstrate our commitment to the environment.
Getzner's infrastructure has long been primarily based on an alternative, climate-friendly energy supply:
- 100% of its power consumption is met by the Group's in-house hydroelectric power plants (2021: 4,759.972 kWh)
- Two separate groundwater wells (no drinking water is used for production processes)
- Groundwater heat pump (heating)
- Heat recovery system with buffer tank – 90% of the process waste heat from production equipment, including casting machines, waterjet pumps and hydraulic power units, is used for heating and cooling
- A large-scale photovoltaic plant was also installed as part of the 2020 extension
Besides energy consumption, there are environmentally friendly measures in other areas of the Getzner infrastructure, too:
Supply of raw materials
- Transportation optimised in terms of both logistics and environment, as tankers loaded without packaging (storage in in-house tank farm)
- Only full tankers are ordered, with the raw materials warehouse adapted as an interim storage solution
- Delivery of Getzner products preferred in the form of rolled products without pallets
- Optimised packaging concepts
- Waste separation and prevention in all areas, including both production and administration
- Carbon-neutral printing of brochures, data sheets, etc.
- For many years, Getzner has promoted the use of public transport (annual passes for employees) and particularly cycling through an annual cycling competition and company bikes
Getzner's manufacturing process does not generate any odours, noise or other relevant emissions.
The main energy requirements (approx. 99%) and therefore also CO2 emissions are generated by the production of primary raw materials (isocyanates and polyols) from polyurethane products (from crude oil and refining to the raw material). Production of Getzner products therefore only accounts for about 1% of the total energy requirements.
Getzner does not use any components on the REACH list. Components that could potentially appear on the REACH list in the future are also replaced with non-critical alternatives at an early stage (e.g. low/zero-emissions components).
Among other things, importance is attached to an optimised geometry as early as the product design stage, achieving a reduction in the use of raw materials, production waste and transport volumes.
Through the continuous further development of our materials, we can achieve
- lower densities with the same performance and thus less material
- increased process reliability and precision (waste reduction)
- higher availability through shorter layover time (use of storage)
- optimised product life cycles
The issue of waste prevention plays a very important role in the manufacturing of Getzner products. Production processes have been continuously optimised since the company was founded, and in 2018 a lean management system was also implemented across the business.
The manufacturing process is based on online dosing, so it is optimised to the extent that only the raw material required for the job is actually used.
- With continuous casting, rolled products (known as 'base mats') are produced which, depending on the field of application, can also be assembled afterwards.
- In assembly, the design for cutting is always laid out in such a way that minimal residual waste is produced. In waterjet cutting, a computer system calculates the best cutting pattern and the punching knives required for punching are already designed for optimised cutting.
- Base mat remnants are stored separately and then used up for corresponding small orders when suitable.
- Multiple small orders that require the same base mats are always combined in production planning.
Moulded part production
- For high-volume products, moulded part production is used wherever possible. This generally removes an additional manufacturing step and so there is virtually no production waste.
In terms of recycling production waste and returns, the following preferred processes are currently in place: chemical recycling, manufacturing of high-quality granulate products, thermal recovery. Given that sustainability has been one of the key issues at Getzner since the very beginning, we are constantly working on development projects to optimise our materials in the recycling loop.
Current development projects include:
- Development of new products from recycled granular materials
- Further development of chemical recycling
- Development of alternative recycling concepts for composites and disassembled/contaminated products