How enviro 2.0 is shaping the future of systems engineering
Economical, eco-compatible and maximally profitable – this is the template for the machines of the future. At Krones, this vision has a name: enviro. Since the introduction of enviro 2.0, production and sales have been even more closely intermeshed with this management system. In an interview, enviro Officer Martina Birk and filling technician Christian Gebauer explained to us why this is an advantage for clients, staff and the group as a whole.
Martina Birk, the enviro sustainability programme has been up and running at Krones for six years now. Can you briefly summarise for us what exactly enviro is?
Birk: enviro is a management system with which we ensure that our machines are made continually more energy-efficient, media-efficient and eco-compatible. We firstly intervene in the product creation process, so as to optimise the machines in these aspects right from the start. The other side of our work is rating the machines against the enviro criteria.
Christian Gebauer, what role do you play in the enviro process?
Gebauer: I am the enviro contact person for filling technology. As the technical go-to guy, I supply the link-up to our design people. Ultimately, together with Martina Birk, I’m responsible for enabling our fillers to be rated in accordance with enviro.
There’s quite a lot going on with enviro at the moment. enviro 2.0 is the designation for the revised concept. What’s different about it compared to previously?
Birk: We used to grade only existing individual machines against criteria like consumption and output. Back then, enviro was simply not yet a tool that would have helped the sales people to persuade our clients to buy energy-efficient machines. And that’s precisely the point we’ve tackled with enviro 2.0. We now consider the entire modularised totality of our machines, and ask ourselves how we can render our kit even more efficient and more eco-compatible for our clients. Together with the sales guy responsible, the client can already select at the concept stage whether he wants an enviro machine variant or not. This means that right from the start the client can himself specify how far he wishes to prioritise energy- and media-efficiency. We’re now introducing this successively over all product families.
Christian Gebauer, Krones has recently premiered the first series of machines to bear the enviro seal as standard.
Gebauer: First of all, we have to remember this: the Modulfill machines do not yet bear the enviro seal as standard. Certain options have to be met for the Modulfill to receive the enviro symbol. The Modulfill has always been fundamentally very well equipped, with a relatively high degree of energy-efficiency. Nevertheless, we’ve still been able to optimise it at some points, such as the compressed air, or use better alternatives. We can now offer clients this enviro option.
What do Krones’ clients gain from enviro machines?
Gebauer: In the case of the Modulfill, the client first of all saves compressed air, depending on the type of filler involved, of course. And these machines need less grease and lubricants. Moreover, in the case of a beer filler, particularly, the client would save an extremely large amount of water.
So effectively the client saves costs despite the higher purchase price for the enviro variant?
Birk: Definitely, yes. There are relevant prognosis calculations for each type of machine. After two or three years at the most, the additional costs at purchase have, so to speak, been outweighed by the lower consumption of energy and media.
Have you already sold an enviro 2.0 model? What’s the empirical feedback?
Birk: Yes, we’ve already sold our first enviro 2.0 Modulfill. This filler incorporates the latest technologies, meaning it has the lowest consumption figures for electricity, compressed air and water currently possible in this category. However, the machine hasn’t been delivered to the client yet. We have already acquired the consumption data from our own tests, though there are as yet no specific empirical figures from the client. But we shall, of course, be obtaining these on a continuous basis.
Christian Gebauer, do you believe that sustainability concepts of this kind will also gain acceptance from those who look at the problem from a technical viewpoint?
Gebauer: When I speak for filling technology, I can definitely say: yes. Almost all of our development projects are aimed towards energy-efficiency. Lots of work and ingenuity is being invested here. Five years ago, not all staff were entirely convinced by the concept. But they simply see now that these new standards are being demanded by our clients. Everyone meanwhile understands this.
Is it the intention that one day the entire product range will bear an enviro sticker?
Birk: Well, the idea has been basically on the agenda, of classifying entire lines and systems on the enviro level. But I regard it as unlikely that all products will ever bear the enviro symbol. Many clients demand enviro, but some others are simply not yet prepared to spend more money on it. Moreover, the technologies concerned are evolving so rapidly, particularly when it comes to energy-related and environmental issues, that the yardstick is being continually shifted. So the work with enviro 2.0 is becoming a dynamic process that’s never really completed.