Innovations with a Lifecycle Perspective

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Innovations with a Lifecycle Perspective

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 8:05am

CAMPAIGN: Sustainable Innovation at Atlas Copco

CONTENT: Article

In Atlas Copco products, 75% of the total product cost comes from purchased parts and materials. Therefore, actions taken by Atlas Copco’s procurement department can have a significant impact on both business and society.

The Oil-Free Air division has a large customer base in the United States who need high-purity, compressed air for their manufacturing processes. A change in certification standards in the United States triggered the division to rethink its supply chain and innovate its in- stalled coating processes. Using a method that is widely spread in the automotive industry, Atlas Copco went from a previously manual process that took fourteen days, to a high-precision, automated process that has a lead time of just eight hours. Lab tests showed that this electrophoretic painting process (E-Coating), can be applied to standardize the approach for 90% of the casted parts in our oil-free air compressors, ensuring the highest levels of quality for all types of applications.

Without this innovative approach, the division would have to either face a business interruption or risk cost increases of up to 5%. Reducing eleven coating processes to just three, amounts to a cost saving of about MSEK 5 (MEUR 0.5) with a return of investment that is less than one year. The process also uses 70% less paint, which significantly reduces the usage of hazardous chemicals and waste.

Atlas Copco’s design engineers integrate environmental reviews in the development process of all products. Eco design focuses on the environmental impact across the entire product life cycle. For Industrial Technique, the focus areas include: eliminating hazardous substances, choosing the right mix of materials and modular design for durable, recyclable materials that reduce the product’s weight and delivering energy-efficiency during the use phase.

The MVI Tools and Assembly Systems division has integrated the eco design approach into its research and development KPIs for 2016. Training and workshops have been rolled out in customer centers and product companies in Europe and China. The division has started working with eco design achievement templates, which can be integrated into marketing material and raise environmental awareness for customers. For example, the Power Focus 6000 controller for electric assembly tools complies fully with REACH and RoHS and is designed in a modular way so that it can be easily dismantled for recycling. Atlas Copco also includes recycling instructions in the product information to
the customer. The controller is also 6% more energy efficient than its predecessor in standby mode (ESG note 9). Multiple battery tools can be connected to the controller, which also reduces energy consumption.

Atlas Copco’s service divisions account for more than 35% of the total CO2 emissions from transport. They play a very important role in strengthening customer relations and improving Atlas Copco’s resilience. Mining and Rock Excavation Technique products experience extreme wear and tear along while working on hard rock. Atlas Copco parts such as the smarter, long-lasting Ground Engaging Tool (GET) bucket for scooptrams extended service life by 30–40% in tests. Logistics planning and operational excellence is essential to ensure that high quality parts and services can reach all customers, around the clock. Keeping the environmental impact low from transport at the same time requires innovative thinking and effective planning.

The Mining and Rock Excavation Technique Service division has taken on this challenge and designed an innovation KPI to minimize CO2 emissions from logistics and transport across distribution centers located in China, Sweden and the United States. The KPI tracks transport modes, with the ambition to reduce air trans- port while increasing sea transport in 2016. The division will need to innovate logistics solutions that will keep the environmental footprint small while still meeting customers’ expectations for timely deliveries or emergency repairs.

The Construction Tools division introduced two ground- breaking innovations that doubled their sales to the market in 2015. The new rammers LT 5005 and LT 6005, which make life easier for construction companies, doubled Atlas Copco rammer sales in the months directly after introduction. In 2015, the rammer sales in North America grew by 41%. This innovative rammer, which won the 2015 iF Product Design Award and the Grand Award of Design in the Public’s Favorite category, is lighter, more compact and has a perfect balance. This makes it easier to handle in narrow places such as close to walls and in trenches. It is also 25% more energy efficient than the previous model.

The Construction Tools division also introduced the HRD100, the industry’s first-ever electro hydraulic hand-held rock drill developed in collaborations with customers in South Africa. It will boost productivity especially for gold mining companies, where the gold vein that runs through the rock typically is pretty narrow. Its great advantage over competing products is its productivity, especially compared to pneumatic drills. The drill was developed for ultra-deep mining, and in this environment the drill is up to ten times more efficient than other fixed installations (ESG note 9).

To download our 2015 Annual Report, click here.

Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and services focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2015, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 102 (BEUR 11) and more than 43 000 employees. Learn more at or follow us on social media at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube


Keywords: Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship | Atlas Copco | Business & Trade | CSR Reports | Corporate Social Responsibility | Eco Design | Ethical Production & Consumption | Technology | supply chain | sustainability

CAMPAIGN: Sustainable Innovation at Atlas Copco

CONTENT: Article