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Gear business driven by sustainability

Image of drives and machinery with +24 superimposed to show that SEW-EURODRIVE emphasises its holistic sustainability

SEW-EURODRIVE emphasises its holistic sustainability

18th May 2023

     

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Drive technology and drive automation specialist SEW-EURODRIVE emphasises the use of renewable and efficient energy sources and says it strives to maximise the energy efficiency of its drives.

Through a long-term sustainability initiative called sustainability@SEW, the company explains that it is gradually and consistently safeguarding resources, lowering carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and optimising its value chain.

SEW-EURODRIVE managing partner Jürgen Blickle points out that sustainability is nothing new for SEW‑EURODRIVE, which has long seen recycling as an essential step in achieving a sustainable circular economy.

The ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approach emphasises the environment-friendly development of products and associated processes and is aimed at ensuring that all the products, materials and substances used to manufacture a product can be fully returned to, or reused in, biological or technical loops.

The company says that this holistic approach is the basis for planning the roll-out of its in-house eco-design guidelines, citing as an example the way the company is developing and documenting two projects underway on the recycling of brake components and magnets. These projects aim to  provide a basis for eco-design to extend to the product categories of motors and electronics.

SEW-EURODRIVE says it is opening a new chapter in product design by taking these findings further and incorporating more product families, adding that its design guidelines will be distilled into practical recommendations such as avoiding the use of certain adhesives or casting resin.

The company notes that it will also produce an extended product qualification system as a benchmark for product development. Among the focus areas are reuse and recycling, which help to give many components a second lease on life. The scope of recycling aims to be maximised, while leveraging a reuse system that puts as many products as possible back into service.

This includes inspecting and cleaning reusable parts to possibly be fed back directly into the production process – helping to save on the energy required to recycle copper, steel, and die-cast aluminium parts – including the transport, separation and melting down of used parts.

SEW-EURODRIVE also highlights the development of its GearFluid Poly 220 E1, CO2-reduced lubricant, said to be the first CO2-reduced gear unit lubricant made from sustainable biomass, rather than from petroleum or other fossil raw materials. The company explains that the biomass comes from readily available  and recyclable green cuttings and food waste which undergoes a complex synthesis process that transforms it into a high-quality base oil. The packaging has also been designed with sustainability in mind, with 25% recycled plastic in the oil cannisters.

SEW-EURODRIVE asserts that it aims to ensure that its products are designed to be as maintenance-friendly and repair-friendly as possible, as a further drive towards sustainability. 

The company’s Life Cycle services are also part of its sustainability focus, based on the concept of a holistic, closed loop that covers a product’s entire service lifespan while in use. Provided by a dedicated contact, customers receive expertise and advice for their drive technology, with a maintenance-friendly connection between SEW-EURODRIVE’s gear units and motors, made with a pinion shaft that has a key and a mounted pinion with a corresponding slot. Unlike on crimped pinions, this connection can be disassembled without destroying the parts.

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