Creating the Paint Plant of the Future
Making our coatings more sustainable isn’t just about creating more sustainable products, it also includes more sustainable operations. Our efforts to reduce emissions, energy consumption and waste – and also make our sites safer – are a challenge we are addressing by creating the paint plant of tomorrow.
Our 2030 Sustainability Strategy sets ambitious goals. To meet them, each Beckers site has developed an action plan to improve sustainability and a CAPEX plan for sustainable investments. These plans were presented in a global forum in 2021, where we exchanged examples of best practices and aligned our plans with a global concept for the Paint Plant of the Future (PPF).
The PPF concept defines standards for sustainability and high manufacturing efficiency. This includes using renewable energy sources, such as solar power, alternatives for heating and cooling, and highly automated manufacturing processes that save water, reduce waste and improve working conditions.
Processes involving dosing stations for additives, unloading, storage and the transfer of powders can easily be automated. Setting up tank farms, as we did at our site in Montbrison, France, is a highly efficient way to store key resins and solvents that reduces waste and the potential for accidents. For a better sustainability performance, new volatile organic compound (VOC) abatement systems, improved emission control, dust collectors and self-energy production through solar panels have been upgraded or will be standardized in all operations worldwide.
After establishing the PPF concept in 2021, we identified gaps in existing situations at our plants around the world and set priorities to future-proof Beckers’ sites. The first large investments will be made in 2022. This will significantly reduce the carbon footprint per ton of paint produced at all sites.
Tank farm at Beckers France in Montbrison – Optimized resin storage
A good example of our investment in the future is the tank farm project at our biggest site in Montbrison, France, where we invested in six new resin tanks (60 m3) to improve flexibility with larger storage capacity for critical resins. The project became fully operational in September 2021.
The tank farm makes progress on a variety of sustainability goals. It reduces on-site traffic and cuts CO2e emissions, with 140 fewer trucks per year and less gas used for forklift operations. It also eliminates waste, and significantly reduces the risk of accidents due to handling operations or direct exposure to chemical products or spills. Several teams collaborated on the project, from drafting feasibility studies to its final realization. The concept can also be scaled and transferred to smaller sites.
Investments to foster sustainability, productivity, and safety
In addition to the PPF concept, we have introduced a new global CAPEX process with a focus on sustainable investments. This is supported by newly created positions, such as VP Global Sustainable Industrial Development and Environment & Energy Manager.New operations positions Looking ahead with the strategic plan for 2022-2025, 94 percent of the investments will directly contribute to our 2030 Sustainability Strategy. With more than 130 MSEK forecasted in 2021 (30 percent above the previous two years), Beckers’ investments have targeted three main objectives:
- We have initiated a long-term investment program to improve the sustainability performance of our factories, including projects such as installing VOC abatement systems on our sites in China, solar panels in India and Poland, and insulation of the roof in USA and Sweden.
- We have continued to modernize our sites to increase capacity and productivity, with some major investments in India (the first resin plant we built) and in France, where we extended the resin storage capacity and erected a new production building for Industrial Coatings Beckry®Mix. In Sweden and Italy, we added automation of resin distribution to production lines and in Poland and Turkey, we installed new equipment for capacity extension.
- We have reinforced safety for our employees and plant infrastructure with a refurbishment of the sprinkler system in the UK, fire detection upgrade in Sweden, and fire hydrant upgrade in Goa. We have also improved EHS compliance with the addition of a dust collector in Sweden, a building upgrade in China, and powder transfer in Italy.