There’s no doubt that greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise – driving climate change and negatively impacting the world. Here at Midland Lead, as well as supporting the Government’s environmental policies, we know that business leadership and a commitment to managing energy usage are vital for companies like ours in order to make a positive change.
We also know that reducing carbon emissions makes good business sense – saving money, and often coming hand in hand with risk reduction, innovation and a clear competitive advantage.
That’s why, as part of our drive to support emissions reductions, we’ve made some big changes in our supply chain; a substantial part of a company’s footprint that’s often much larger than its operational emissions.
In a £96,000 investment, we’ve replaced four of our old 2.5 tonne workhorses with state-of-the-art Hangcha XF25 forklifts, while our manufacturing plant has been treated to a new Hangcha XAC425, again, replacing an older vehicle.
Welcomed on site in the first week of March this year, these five environmentally-friendly forklifts run on Autogas (LPG), known as a ‘green fuel’ due to its use reducing CO2 exhaust emissions by around 15% compared to petrol.
Karl Nicolson, our engineering and maintenance manager, says: “Right now the managing director [Boudewijn Tuinenburg]’s key focus is around the company’s green credentials. With the Government’s 2020 drive for vehicles to be more energy efficient, we’re looking to get ahead of the game and start making a difference now, to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, diesel emissions at Midland Lead.”
Alongside the forklifts’ environmental benefits, the fleet has also been installed with a Keytroller TDS601 system. Supplied and fitted by Transmon Engineering Ltd, the technology works to further improve our production facility and make it a better, safer place to work.
Karl explains the system’s key benefits: “It provides real-time information about the fleet, allowing our drivers to manage their operations more effectively. Offering increased site safety, the system allows us to keep in constant communication with the trucks via Wi-Fi, providing real-time information, and automatically generated reports and alerts. It also allows our truck maintenance procedures to go paper-free, which gives us associated cost and environmental benefits.”
Bob Warner, Sales Manager at Transmon Engineering, adds: “Midland Lead’s team are very health and safety conscious, which is why they approached us. The TDS601 dramatically improves site safety and reduces damage from increased accountability. They have also been fitted with the Road Speed Controller, which, along with the Keytroller TDS601, helps to reduce exhaust emissions by encouraging safe driving habits and fuel wastage.”
In addition to the new forklifts, we’ve also invested £26,000 upgrading three of our existing H120D Linde 12-tonne trucks by fitting them with the same TDS601 system. With upgrades completed towards the end of January this year, the vehicles have also been fitted with cameras and a GreenUrban Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), which captures fumes and reduces emissions by 90-96%.
With the new fleet now in use, we’ve also invested in training and research. In September 2015, we attended the Forklift Truck Association 2015, which presented us with a hive of ideas to improve efficiency, reduce energy usage and drive performance on site.
We have put a scheme in place to upskill and cross skill our team of 21 drivers – a number set to expand – by using Mentor, a specialist forklift training provider.
These combined efforts mark just one part of a much bigger picture. Other recent improvements include replacing our 50-year-old overhead crane in the refining plant with a new, more energy efficient model, and a £40,000 lighting upgrade, which has seen us replace halogen bulbs with LEDs across our dispatch area and perimeter beams; making up approximately one third of the entire factory site.
With an aim to have upgraded all lighting to energy efficient LEDs over the following two years, as well as plans to upgrade three more vehicles in the near future, these changes are just the start at Midland Lead – and we look forward to sharing many more over the years.