Location of ASS Maschinenbau GmbH in 51491 Overath.

"Heading to Zero"

Clean production - The automation specialist ASS thinks sustainably, also for economic reasons. An interview with Reinhold Ziewers.

[Question] Mr. Ziewers – The corporate strategy has been geared towards sustainable production and energy efficiency for some time. How long has ASS been working on producing climate-neutrally?

[Reinhold Ziewers] As early as 2012, when we were designing our new building, we were thinking about what adjustments we could make in terms of energy efficiency and production improvements. If you do it cleverly, the points of efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand. Heat recovery, renewable energies and underfloor heating throughout the building not only save heating costs, but also increase the productivity of the machines.

[Question] Protecting the environment is a big part of this, but what are the additional benefits for ASS?

[Ziewers] Among other things, we wanted to create favorable working conditions for our employees – better light and a constant temperature in the production hall. Almost feel-good climate for employees and the machines. This means that the machines are already at the right operating temperature on Monday morning and we don't have to pay attention to what time we are producing which parts in production. Because a cold machine produces significantly more rejects. The right machine temperature is important, especially when the tolerances are smaller for sensitive or critical parts. This makes our processes more efficient and reduces material consumption.

[Question] Which measures have already been implemented and which are still to come?

[Ziewers] The next item on the list is replacing all the lighting in the administration building with LED lamps. We didn't do that during the Corona period because the offices were mostly unused anyway due to home office. But that is planned for 2022. Otherwise we are already very well positioned – we only use renewable energies and are converting the vehicle fleet to hybrid vehicles wherever possible. But still, we're never done! We are constantly rethinking our processes for efficiency, speed and security and reorganizing them accordingly. It's running in the background all the time, so to speak. We have already optimized around 2,000 parts in this way and made them cheaper.

[Question] For example?

[Ziewers] For our double action pliers, which our designers have optimized, we now use 34% less material, yet they are more durable thanks to greater rigidity and strength. And if, for example, a robotic hand is smaller and lighter, our customer only needs a smaller robot to move it. This simplifies handling and in turn saves energy for the customer. Already during the construction of our products, we make sure that we work as efficiently as possible with regard to materials and energy.

[Question] Where do the impulses for the changes come from?

[Ziewers] It's basically very simple: we talk to our customers. Here we get valuable input in terms of needs and hurdles. And we also exchange ideas at ASS. The developers and designers sit together in regular design and development meetings. We usually find suitable solutions this way. When it comes to sustainability awareness, communication is also key. We go on internal road shows and explain the importance of sustainability for ASS - what we do and why. It is important to us to create awareness of this. Because then everyone is on board and taking part. For example, our trainees, together with the trainers, designed and built an insect hotel as an introductory project, which is now on our company premises. This is how you get into conversation and exchange with the various ASS trades on the basis of a specific project, which can be very fruitful.

[Question] PRIMAKLIMA e. V. certifies your climate neutrality, with this you offset the emissions that cannot be saved. Has the limit of what is feasible already been reached here?

[Ziewers] The border should be moved as far as possible. To do this, we integrate new technologies where it makes sense for us. At this point, we naturally also think economically. The aim is to work and produce cost-efficiently through technological advances. In this way we have been able to keep our prices at the same level for over ten years without a loss of margin, but still use modern production methods and keep up with the times. We therefore compensated for the remaining 176 tons of CO2 last year with PRIMAKLIMA.

[Question] Is sustainable work and production also a competitive advantage?

[Ziewers] Definitely! Many of our customers pay attention to sustainability when choosing suppliers, at some point this will even be the basic requirement. Therefore, we would like to be so well prepared for the time after Corona that we can concentrate fully on our customers and production again. We use the quieter time during the corona pandemic for further optimization. The idea of ​​sustainability is so firmly anchored in our minds that we also attach great importance to it when choosing our suppliers.
Once you really deal with the topic, you realize that even small, clever measures can make quite a difference can achieve a lot. The next steps then follow almost automatically, because efficiency and sustainability go really well together!

Interview courtesy of INDUS Holding AG.

ASS Maschinenbau GmbH
Klef 2
51491 Overath
+49 (0) 2206 90547-0
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