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Use of renewable energy

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The construction of a vast solar installation at SIG’s production site in Linnich, Germany, will see SIG further extend its lead in the beverage carton industry in the use of renewable energy. The 10.25MWp system, made up of 22,300 photovoltaic solar panels, will be the largest photovoltaic system at an SIG plant to date.

“The thousands of solar panels we are installing in Linnich will double our on-site renewable energy capacity in Germany,” said Arnold Schuhwerk, Head of Category Polymers & Energy Global at SIG. “This latest investment shows that SIG is not only committed to continue making its beverage cartons with 100 percent renewable energy, but to continually improve the quality of that renewable energy through physical power purchase agreements.”

 

Maximising on-site capacity

SIG is already the first and only aseptic carton manufacturer to produce all its packs with 100 percent renewable energy globally since 2018.

The company recently secured physical power purchase agreements that will provide enough renewable energy capacity to power 100 percent of its carton packaging production in Germany from January 2023 – and the Linnich installation will enable more of this to come from its own sites.

Construction has begun on a gigantic ground-standing system of 20,600 panels that will occupy an 80,000 squarer meters area in front of the Linnich plant – that’s the equivalent of 11 soccer fields side by side. A further 1,700 panels will cover the plant’s rooftop to maximise potential to solar power on the site.

As the owner and operator of the Linnich photovoltaic system, Leipziger Stadtwerke will pass on the solar power generated directly to SIG through a long-term power purchase agreement. The power will go straight into the production of SIG carton packs at the site.

“Leipziger Stadtwerke is driving forward the expansion of renewable energies, including working with partners like SIG. The solar installation at the SIG plant in Linnich is another milestone towards the decarbonising of energy systems in Germany,” says Maik Piehler, Managing Director of Leipziger Stadtwerke. “We are pleased to be able to make an important contribution to this. The project is one of the largest photovoltaic self-supply systems with direct connection in Germany that is operated without using the public grid and without any subsidies on industrial land.”

 

Going Way Beyond Good for climate

SIG already doubled its on-site solar capacity in 2021 to 11.3MWp and plans to triple this again within the next year. The Linnich system will play a big part in this expansion, together with installations in development at other SIG plants in Germany, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

 

The company’s focus on renewable energy is part of SIG’s Way Beyond Good Climate+ ambition that is driving down value chain carbon emissions for its business and its customers.

Use of renewable energy for carton packaging production has already avoided over half a million tonnes of CO2-equivalent and these savings will continue to grow. The new Linnich installation alone will generate enough renewable electricity to reduce more than 3,150 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

 

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Radar Level Transmitter for Safe, Optimised Operations

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Emerson has introduced the Rosemount 3408 Level Transmitter, a non-contacting radar device designed to optimise ease-of-use at every touchpoint, leading to increased site and worker safety and enhanced plant performance. The Rosemount 3408 is a versatile level measurement solution, suitable for use in a wide range of industries and applications, such as chemical storage, mixing tanks and open air applications.

While the benefits of radar level measurement are widely acknowledged, leading to the technology’s fast-growing adoption across multiple industries, radars are still sometimes perceived as being complex to commission, operate and maintain. Addressing this concern, the device provides a range of functions that reduce complexity throughout its lifecycle, including a highly intuitive interface, Bluetooth wireless technology remote capabilities, predictive alerts, in-situ verification, data historian and an upgradeable design.

The user interface provides clear pictorial instructions, allowing operators to be easily guided through installation, commissioning, proof-testing, operation and maintenance. This increased ease-of-use gives process and manufacturing organisations the confidence to replace time-consuming manual procedures, thereby helping to increase safety and maximise productivity.

The new device is based on frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) technology, which enables extremely accurate and reliable measurement, even in challenging process environments. It is also suitable for use in critical safety applications such as overfill prevention, as it is Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2-certified and designed according to the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 61508 standard relating to functional safety.

Emerson’s proprietary Smart Meter Verification software provides an easy means of verifying the health of the device, without interrupting the process. Official records of device verification are generated, simplifying compliance with regulatory requirements. In addition, an advanced diagnostics suite continuously monitors key device health and process parameters. This provides actionable information and predictive alerts that support preventative maintenance strategies, streamline troubleshooting and help increase process availability. A built-in historian enables users to access stored process data and alerts to gain process insights and aid troubleshooting.

The transmitter can be proof-tested remotely and in-situ, which makes the procedure quick and easy, saving time and increasing plant and worker safety. In the event of device failure, its exchangeable design enables the simple replacement of a cassette within the transmitter housing, rather than replacing the entire transmitter head. This saves both time and materials, making the device extremely cost-effective.

“The new generation of engineers expect modern automation technology to be very easy to implement, operate and maintain,” said Thense Korsbo, director of product management for Emerson’s radar level measurement business. “The onus is therefore on us to provide solutions that simplify operator tasks as much as possible, especially in safety-critical applications such as overfill prevention, and this was Emerson’s focus when designing the Rosemount 3408. This optimised ease-of-use will help organisations improve plant efficiency, reach their production targets and achieve the highest levels of safety.”

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New business facilities in Mexico

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Endress+Hauser Mexico has invested roughly 10 million euros in a new building. The recently occupied sales and service center is located in Naucalpan in the Mexico City metropolitan area. With 4,100 square meters of usable space, the center includes modern office facilities, an extensively equipped customer experience and process training center and a complete calibration lab.

 

Strengthening customer relationships

The building in Naucalpan reflects the solid growth of the Sales Center in recent years. It demonstrates a connection with the market and customers and enables further growth. At the heart of the building is a process training center where customers can practice using a variety of measurement instruments and simulate conditions similar to their own operating environments. Working together with experts from Endress+Hauser, they can then develop new solutions for their applications.

 

Attractive work setting

The building features numerous spaces and facilities designed with the needs of the employees in mind, allowing them to flourish and feel at home in their new work environment. The amenities include a gym, a nursing room for mothers, and a library, plus various places for individual and collective work in open spaces to ensure that the day-to-day work activities can be carried out in a productive and attractive setting.

 

Focus on sustainability

Endress+Hauser places a value on sustainability and energy efficiency with all of its construction projects. The new building in Mexico thus features solar panels. In addition, a water treatment and cleaning system was developed that feeds 7.2 cubic meters of water into the climate control and plumbing systems on a daily basis. Because of these measures, the new building was certified gold under the LEED system (Leadership in Energy and Environment), proving that it achieves significant energy and resource savings over its lifetime.

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Closed-loop recycling system for carbon fiber

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Together with the National Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu College and Tokyo University of Science Asahi Kasei, a diversified Japanese multinational company, has developed a new technology for recycling carbon fiber plastic compounds.

Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are highly attractive for various industries in demanding application fields due to their unique balance of rigidity, mechanical strength and light weight – also compared with conventional glass fiber reinforced plastics. However, CFRPs are expensive and challenging from a recycling perspective, as it is difficult to extract the carbon fibers from the resin after usage.

 

Together with its project partners at the National Institute of Technology at Kitakyushu College and the Tokyo University of Science, Asahi Kasei has developed a recycling method that allows carbon fibers to be extracted from CFRP or carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) used in automobiles. This results in high-quality, inexpensive continuous carbon fiber that can be recycled perpetually, contributing to circular economy. Unlike carbon fiber that is chopped up during the recycling process, Asahi Kasei’s method allows carbon fiber to be extracted from a plastic compound seamlessly, resulting in continuous strands of carbon fiber that can be reapplied in exactly the same manner while retaining properties identical to the original substance.

The conventional technologies for recycling carbon fibers by chopping and re-applying them results in a product with lower quality and less durability, insufficient for high-performance applications. To address this issue, Asahi Kasei has developed an “electrolyzed sulfuric acid solution method” that allows the carbon fiber to retain its original strength and continuous nature while fully decomposing the resin the carbon fiber is embedded in. This allows for its continued use in high-performance applications and presents an inexpensive, circular solution to the end-of-life dilemma of carbon fiber plastic compounds. Thus, these carbon fiber compounds present in vehicles for weight reduction. It can be easily and inexpensively be broken down at end-of-vehicle-life and reapplied to new vehicles in the future. In addition, Asahi Kasei is developing a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic unidirectional tape (CFRTP-UD tape) that utilizes both recycled continuous carbon fiber and the company’s Leona polyamide resin. Boasting a higher strength than metal, this CFRTP-UD tape can be applied to automobile frames and bodies, further enabling the recycling of end-of-vehicle-life parts into different, new automobile parts. This presents a solution to the long-term challenge that carbon fiber usage for vehicles has posed on the industry and is expected to economically benefit and strengthen carbon fiber’s usage within the automobile industry on a global scale. Moving forward, Asahi Kasei will perform demonstrations and develop the business, aiming for practical application around 2030.

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