Eaton, a power management company with operations in Galesburg, Mich. (between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek), has announced its vehicle group is installing sustainable technologies at its global manufacturing facilities to reduce its environmental footprint.
The technology includes energy efficient lighting systems, water conservation equipment, and solar panels.
“We are extremely proud of how we’ve come together to upgrade our manufacturing facilities in a way that improves energy efficiency, minimizes the impact on the environment, and brings us closer to a carbon-free future,” says João Faria, president of Eaton’s vehicle group. “Our commitment to sustainability is part of our core mission to improve the quality of life and the environment for those who count on us today and in the decades to come.”
Wastewater systems will feature ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis technologies for the treatment of industrial process water at several of its facilities. The systems are designed to treat and reuse water for industrial purposes.
Some facilities are also managing their stormwater by increasing the permeability of their property, decreasing runoff rates to reduce erosion, and adding native plants that don’t require watering.
Employees at the vehicle group’s Valinhos, Brazil facility initiated a water conservation system that treats water used at the plant with physicochemical and biological processes. The treated water is then reused in restrooms and for cleaning. In the first month of operation, the system saved 40 cubic meters of water and is projected to increase to 129 meters of water savings per month as the process is refined.
Some vehicle group sites have also made progress in diverting grinding swarf waste from landfills. Swarf, a byproduct generated during metal-cutting processes when fluids such as oils, coolants, and water are mixed with fine particles of metal and filtration media, is one of the most difficult waste streams to recycle. Through vendor partnerships, the vehicle group deployed a mobile centrifuge process that separates the materials, making it possible to reuse the fluid during manufacturing processes and recycle the metal particles.
New lighting systems composed entirely LED lights, which use 70 percent less energy than traditional lighting technologies, are being added at the vehicle group facilities. They are activated by motion sensors and a wireless control system that manages every lighting fixture and tracks the status of each. The vehicle group’s Tczew, Poland, facility recently installed such a system and has seen a large reduction in energy consumption.
Many of the electrical systems within a facility are sourced from Eaton’s electrical sector, a global power distribution, power quality, industrial automation, and power control product and service solutions provider.
Some sites are also installing solar panels on the roof. A 10,000-square-meter solar panel array was recently installed on the rooftop of the vehicle group’s Wuxi, China, facility, and it’s expected to generate 769 MWh of electrical power annually. Electricity generated will reduce greenhouse gases by about 588 tons per year. Solar roofs were also installed in the Nashik and Ranjangaon, India, plants, reducing more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The manufacturing facility in Aguascalientes, Mexico, was constructed with a number of new environmentally focused features, including motorized windows for natural ventilation, reflective roofs for low solar gain, and a daylight harvesting system that uses natural light to minimize energy consumption. Dryers and a mist eliminator ensure quality air flows through the plant.
Eaton is working to cut carbon emissions from operations by at least 50 percent by 2030, positioning the company to achieve carbon neutrality.
Its eMobility business is contributing to a carbon-free future by installing vehicle charging ports for electrified vehicles at all its global sites, encouraging employees to choose zero-emission cars for their commute.
In an effort to reduce waste, Eaton also is committed to achieving zero waste-to-landfill status at all of its manufacturing facilities by 2030. The vehicle group continues to implement this initiative at sites around the world. In 2020, its Hastings, Neb., facility was added to its list of manufacturing sites that are zero waste-to-landfill certified, bringing the global vehicle group sites with zero waste-to-landfill to 74 percent.
Eaton’s sustainability report is available here. Its global headquarters are in Ireland.