Economic efficiency and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive – in many sectors, they can result in a win-win situation and increased growth. This is especially true for the welding technology industry and its customers. Innovative technologies and highly efficient welding processes deliver savings for the user while having minimal environmental impact. This allows companies and businesses to achieve clear competitive advantages in the market.
As Germany’s largest manufacturer of highly innovative welding technology, EWM Hightec Welding has for many years produced solutions that offer customers shorter welding times and allow a lower consumption of power and resources. The resulting lower production costs go hand in hand with sustainably protecting the environment. EWM is focusing on the economic and environmental efficiency of its products and is combining its activities in the blueEvolution initiative.
Innovative welding processes result in cost savings. Besides the hardware like welding machines, wire feeders, welding torches and welding consumables, it is the welding processes developed by EWM that are both environmentally friendly and produce substantial cost savings. In comparison with a conventional spray arc, the user saves time and materials when using the forceArc MIG/MAG welding process patented by EWM. This is, for example, because there is no included angle, or a much smaller one, to be dealt with during weld preparation compared with standard processes.
In mobile crane construction, for instance, wire and gas consumption was reduced by 40 per cent and manufacturing time by 50 per cent as a result of structurally adapting the welding point. In conjunction with reduced-energy joining processes, the high efficiency of the inverter technology also reduces primary energy consumption: during 100 hours of welding time, it saves at least 400 kWh of electricity. With a total cost saving of 56 per cent, EWM is thus helping to significantly cut the customer’s production costs while simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions.
Just like forceArc, the welding processes coldArc and pipeSolution also help to minimise the costs for preliminary and finishing work. Moreover, the EWM processes are virtually spatter-free, so resource consumption and the need for grinding work are also greatly reduced. EWM technology also leads the field in lowering the pollutant emissions of welding fumes. With the heat-reduced coldArc arc, emissions are up to 75 per cent lower than with a standard short arc, and using forceArc leads to a reduction in harmful emissions by up to 60 per cent compared with a standard spray arc.
Environmental technology companies rely on innovative welding. Every metalworking company is interested in making potential savings like these. And when these companies operate in the field of environmental technology and sustainable management, efficiency and sustainability have an even higher priority. Every opportunity to save resources counts, starting with the construction of manufacturing facilities. Voith Industrial Services, for instance, is relying on EWM technology in the construction of the highly efficient Block 9 of the Großkraftwerk Mannheim (GKM) power plant. Here, a welding process – pipeSolution – is now being used that was not initially provided for in the regulations. Those in charge were quickly won over by the economical process and put it into action in conjunction with the most versatile power source on the market – the alpha Q from EWM.
The high quality and noticeably more efficient possibilities for pipe welding meant TÜV Hesse was able to issue it with a certificate and its approval. Voith now welds three to four times faster using this technology and also saves several hundred kilogrammes of filler wire. Sustainability is thus guaranteed in the construction of this very modern power plant, where cogeneration allows the production of power and district heating to be particularly kind to the environment and the climate.
Bollegraaf, a manufacturer of machines and equipment for materials recycling, also swears by the forceArc innovative welding process. The Dutch company can attest to the fact that this joining process complies with every requirement in its philosophy of sustainable production. A lot less power, considerably less filler wire, very low effort for finishing work and a throughput time for a recycling machine that is a day and a half shorter – all proof of higher efficiency and increased environmental benefits. EWM technology has already resulted in cost savings of some ten per cent. By making structural adjustments, Bollegraaf even aims to achieve an increase in economic efficiency of minimum 25 per cent.
blueEvolution also means consistent development. Successes like these confirm to EWM that the combination of economic efficiency and eco-friendly techniques is not only possible, but is the premise for future sustainability. This is also linked to seeing blueEvolution as both an incentive and an obligation to consistently develop new technologies that are even more efficient. Around ten per cent of EWM’s annual turnover is invested in research and development.
This also includes EWM’s joint involvement with other companies in projects supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, such as Green Carbody, ENERWELD and the Effizienzfabrik innovation platform. Responsibility for the environment therefore becomes a crucial competitive factor – both for a manufacturer of innovative welding technology and for its customers.
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The author is a managing partner at EWM Hightec Welding GmbH. She has worked there as a qualified business manager since 1984. Susanne Szczesny-Oßing is also active in institutions and associations, including as a member of the Koblenz Chamber of Industry and Commerce general assembly, a member of the Rhineland-Palatinate technology advisory board and as vice-president of the DVS – German Welding Society.