Forming for Future: Sustainability in Forming Technology

Sustainable production is currently the subject of much discussion in the press. It is clear that more sustainability must be dared in order to make manufacturing companies fit for the future.

The European Union has already announced a long-term plan for this: On the basis of the Paris Climate Agreement, both companies and society are called upon to cooperate on a sustainable economy.

Prof. Wolfram Volk, head of the Science Committee of the WGP and utg, says: "The resource idea must be at the forefront. Because ecology and economy are no longer automatically mutually exclusive. Only if companies succeed in making a profit with environmentally friendly processes will we achieve our goal".

The survey:

How does the implementation look like in companies in the metal forming industry? In order to obtain a database as a first step, companies in the sector were surveyed as part of a student research project at utg. (term paper Julia Dremel, 2020). A differentiation along the process chain under consideration into semi-finished products (blue), equipment manufacturers (yellow) and manufacturing companies (green) allowed the different conditions to be taken into account in the questions. Seven hypotheses were put to the test, which were rejected or confirmed by the evaluation of the answers to the extensive questions. These include the use of CO2 certificates, recycling of residual material or the prioritization of sustainability over economic efficiency and costs.

The conclusion:

The manufacturing companies have already addressed the improvements in sustainability and energy efficiency internally and are developing solutions. However, both the semi-finished product manufacturers and the press and roller manufacturers gave the impression that they have not yet sufficiently considered the need to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of their forming systems.

When drawing conclusions from the results of this study, it is important to consider the sample sizes of the individual questions. Due to the small number of companies surveyed, no statistically significant statements could be made yet, but only initial trends could be identified. As a consequence, further studies are necessary to illustrate how companies deal with sustainability in plant engineering and construction and in the use of metal forming equipment in order to achieve the goal of further improving transparency with regard to sustainability.

Consequently, there is still a great need for research and innovation in the field of forming technology and sustainability in order to meet the European climate target. 

You can request the complete evaluation of the survey from Max Gruber.