2020

Sustainability in operation: using electric forklifts and district heating

11/09/20

Sustainable business operations not only entail manufacturing economical products from safe materials, but also require rethinking how the company is set up. Feintool has committed itself to sustainable management, as examples from Germany and Switzerland show.

Lyss: Switch from natural gas to district heating

At its building in Lyss, Switzerland, Feintool now heats with district heating via the local grid instead of fossil gas. With this - also economically interesting - investment, the company has decided to act more resource-efficiently and reduce the emissions previously generated by gas.

District heating is nothing other than energy that is generated at one location yet cannot be used there. It is therefore transported by means of a water system to places where it is needed. Once there, it is withdrawn via a heat exchanger and fed into a building’s heating system.

In the case of this location, the waste heat from industrial drying processes from the neighboring GMZ Extraktionswerk AG is used to heat the building and produce hot water. As such, Feintool’s system is a particularly environmentally friendly solution – and in accordance with the ISO 14001 international management standard, which requires companies to continuously improve their environmental performance.

Obertshausen: Lithium-ion technology for the fleet

The need to make a change was obvious – at Feintool’s plant in Obertshausen, Germany, the logistics fleet consisted of a large number of vehicles with different drive concepts from various manufacturers. The plan was to standardize this in order to cut costs and reduce the maintenance requirements, while simultaneously ensuring that the fleet of the future would be sustainable.

After consulting with employees, Feintool therefore decided to replace its previous fleet of diesel vehicles and forklifts powered by lead batteries – in the first phase, the company would equip 12 forklifts with lithium-ion technology. After that, it would also successively convert the hand pallet trucks. This was an important step towards implementing an internal electric mobility concept that is both environmentally friendly and easy to use, as well as cuts costs.

The main benefit of switching to li-ion batteries consists of 7 500 liters of diesel – this is how much three diesel vehicles consumed each year alone before reaching the end of their lifespan. In addition, this step also saved emissions that are generated when fuels are created and stored.

Around 100 employees participated in training sessions to familiarize themselves with the software and charging technology. What do they think of the new equipment? Outstanding – users particularly appreciate the lower maintenance requirements and standardized operation of the now homogeneous forklift fleet. Furthermore, noise and exhaust fumes have also decreased.

Further information about Feintool's engagement in sustainability you'll find here.