Today, the world faces many pressing environmental challenges, including climate change, resource scarcity and pollution. To contribute to a better, cleaner and sustainable future, bearing and seal manufacturer SKF has decided to accelerate its green trajectory and achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.
"We are calling for innovative change on an unprecedented scale and speed. Net-zero emissions is an ambitious goal and we are approaching this task as we always do: with determination, competence and skills. Problem-solving is what we do best. We are committed to this change. Driving the transformation of the future to a more sustainable future is something we actually do and not just talk about," said Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SKF.
The company has emphasized that industries change the way they work and operate but more importantly, a shift in culture is required to start taking meaningful action. SKF firmly believes the path to sustainability is an obligation for stakeholders, in addition to ensuring good conditions for future generations.
SKF's new environmental strategy aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions at all operations worldwide by 2030. Moreover, the company expects to generate 100% of its energy from renewable sources — it currently generates 40%.
SKF also aims to have a supply chain with net-zero emissions by 2050. As steel is the most carbon-intensive segment in its supply chain, the company is working with suppliers to drive that change. The SteelZero and ResponsibleSteel initiatives have been launched with other steel industry players to promote and accelerate green steel production.
As part of SKF's commitment to sustainability, a factory in Jinana, China, was inaugurated in 2012 using the company's geothermal system, saving 40% on heating and cooling each year compared to carbon solutions. As a result, more than 200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced.
In Cassino, Italy, a company is switching from traditional fossil products to SKF´s RecondOil, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and allowing oil to be recycled. SKF previously explained to Mexico Business News that the common linear use of industrial oil, used in its application until it degrades and is discarded and replaced, for oil waste handling does not meet current industrial needs or environmental aspirations. To this end, it is vital to employ circular recovery and the reuse of industrial oil. SKF is leading this change through its RecondOil solution that allows customers to not only avoid supply chain problems but also reduce costs and diminish environmental impact.
Along with this solution, the company developed Double Separation Technology (DST), which has become a turning point in the industry that captures and separates particles and removes nanometer-sized impurities, thus allowing the oil to maintain its original properties.
“In contrast to conventional filtering technologies, DST allows continuous regeneration of the same lubrication oil, without stripping it of the additives that provide the characteristics that machines and production processes require. In fact, with DST, we can regenerate the oil to higher levels of cleanliness than completely new oil. As a result, in some processes, DST-treated, ultra-clean oil provides higher performance than new, off-the-shelf virgin oil,” SKF explained.
SKF's DST has been extensively tested under real operating conditions and has achieved a particular nanoparticle reduction between 90 and 99 percent. Furthermore, it has been proved that the combination of DST with SKF high-performance oil can result in an almost infinite oil life.
Another example of the company's green efforts is SKF’s installation of the world's most powerful tidal turbine in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. The Orbital 02 solution generates electricity that can either be fed straight into the grid or converted into green hydrogen.
In addition, the company stressed that one of the pillars of its ecological objectives is the pursuit of circularity that takes advantage of used products.
The company's remanufacturing service, ReManufactura, returns the product to its original state or extends its useful life. Some of the advantages are reducing the use of natural resources, increasing sustainability practices and reducing equipment costs and lead time. In addition, CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 90% compared to new bearings.
Established in 1907, SKF offers industry-leading automotive and industrial engineering solutions through its five technology-focused platforms: bearings and drives, seals, mechatronics, lubrication solutions and services.