Humanity is growing steadily and, fortunately, prosperity is increasing worldwide. But this also increases the need for raw materials and energy, which our planet does not have in endless quantities. In order to meet the needs of all people, continuously improved production processes are therefore needed to help reduce energy and material use. This challenge must be overcome by engineers in all areas of technology worldwide, be it in mechanical engineering, water treatment, medical technology or energy management, to name a few examples.
Therefore, Beckhoff is convinced that "... engineers must save the world!"
Beckhoff Automation provides the necessary basic technology for this. Our PC control technology enables extremely short cycle times that improve the throughput of machines and thus increase their effectiveness; our powerful CPUs enable the realization of complex optimization algorithms; the interaction of information technology with automation technology combines the best of both worlds and enables very simple integration into modern cloud and edge applications. The latest scientific findings can be used directly on the controller with Beckhoff Scientific Automation; artificial intelligence and machine learning are integral parts of our control technology.
All these technologies help to optimize the effectiveness of processes; this means reducing energy and raw material consumption and improving quality and cost-effectiveness. Ecological and economic requirements can be met at the same time and do not oppose each other!
Generating "green energy" with Beckhoff
The greatest contribution that we make as a company to the protection of our planet is our innovations. Many of these innovations are therefore also used in the generation of "green energies", whether in wind turbines, solar systems or biogas plants. In the field of wind energy in particular, Beckhoff controllers are used in a large part of the world's wind turbines to optimize control. Wind power is a technological focus at Beckhoff; experienced engineers and scientists are working on a continuous optimization of the energy yield.
Apart from our product-related technology projects, however, we are also committed with a variety of measures to the protection of our environment and CO2 neutrality, as well as to the sustainable use of natural raw materials.
Measures to reduce CO2 emissions
Operational environmental protection plays a major role at Beckhoff. Through trendsetting products and technologies, we enable our customers to manufacture sustainably and use resources efficiently. That is why this guiding principle naturally also shapes our actions within our company.
International Energy Management Standard ISO 50001
Beckhoff Automation and Smyczek GmbH, which belongs to the Beckhoff Group, have been successfully operating an energy management system since 2016. Both companies are certified to the international energy management standard ISO 50001. An energy audit according to DIN 16247 is regularly carried out at Fertig Motors GmbH, which also belongs to the group. Successful energy management involves observing energy consumption in the company, taking measures to save energy, and continuously improving energy efficiency. In recent years we have been able, for example, to increase the energy efficiency of our buildings and infrastructure. We did this by using energy-efficient lighting, insulating buildings during roof renovations, or installing an automatic night cooling system that helps to cool the production halls during the summer months. In doing so, Beckhoff is fulfilling legal obligations and contributing to the implementation of the Federal Government's goal for the transition to renewable energy.
Consistent switch to green electricity
At our locations in Verl and the surrounding area as well as at Smyczek GmbH, we cover the total electricity requirement of 8.7 gigawatt hours entirely from green electricity generated by new wind power and photovoltaic systems. Of that, 630 megawatt hours per year, or about 7%, come from our own photovoltaic system. Fertig Motors GmbH, which produces electric motors in Marktheidenfeld in Bavaria, also draws 100% of its electricity from renewable energies and generates its own electricity in the order of 205 megawatt hours per year with a photovoltaic system. With the complete switch to green electricity, we are helping to ensure that more electricity is generated from renewable sources, thus reducing CO2 emissions.
Sustainability in everyday business
In all major measures, there are also many details in the responsible use and preservation our environment. Together with our employees, we are working to become a little more environmentally friendly every day. We mainly process regional, fresh products in our company restaurant. This saves unnecessary transport routes. In addition, we rely on sustainable packaging, made for example of burnt sugar or corn starch, for our to-go range. You won't find disposable coffee cups or plastic plates on our premises. We are gradually switching our vehicle fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles. For this purpose, we also provide a charging infrastructure at our Verl location. Through a ride-sharing exchange on our Intranet, colleagues can coordinate carpools for work or weekend commuting.
Through energy management in production and administration as well as the company's environmental protection, we make an active contribution to climate protection. Measures to reduce CO2 emissions include, for example, the procurement of 100% green electricity from wind power and photovoltaic systems since January 2020. We save 5,300 tons of CO2 per year by using electricity from renewable energies. However, there are also unavoidable CO2 emissions generated by our activities, such as flights on business trips to customers or our employees’ daily commutes. In order to compensate for these unavoidable CO2 emissions, we support the foundation myclimate Deutschland gGmbH, which offers voluntary CO2 compensation measures for companies and examines the greenhouse gas balance of the companies in accordance with the GHG protocol.
Climate protection projects include afforestation measures or the provision of energy-efficient technologies that cannot be realized without the subsidy through the compensation service. In this way, emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels can be reduced elsewhere. We are specifically involved in the project "Back to the green island with energy-saving and solar cookers" (Madagascar), which is recognized by the worldwide gold standard for the certification of climate protection projects and contributes to sustainable development.
The project organizes the sale of subsidized, efficient cookers to the population of Madagascar. This will curb the rapidly advancing deforestation on the island. The efficient cookers halve the wood requirement compared to open fireplaces. Each cooker sold saves approximately 1.7 tons of CO2 per year over its five-year lifespan. Through our compensations for 2019, we have subsidized a total of over 4,000 cookers.
Thanks to the compensation for all unavoidable emissions of Beckhoff Automation, including all international branches and offices as well as Smyczek GmbH and Fertig Motors GmbH, we can call ourselves a climate-neutral organization worldwide.
"Once the bee disappears from the earth, man has only four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more people." This quote by Albert Einstein from 1949 describes the great importance of the small black and yellow insects.
The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is mainly native to Europe, the Near East and Africa. It not only produces honey and wax, but also contributes decisively to the food supply of humans by pollinating flowers. Honeybees and wild bees, as well as other insects, pollinate a large part of the native crops and wild plants, e.g. fruit trees, cucumbers, strawberries and sunflowers.
Bee mortality has many reasons
Today, bee mortality is omnipresent. There are very few wild honeybees left. Without beekeepers the small animals could no longer exist, because they are threatened by numerous factors. Insecticides and poisons, including from agriculture, monotonous agricultural landscapes, climate change and also the overbreeding of bees are having an influence on the decline of bee populations worldwide. Reason enough for us to bring about 50,000 of the small biological micro-agents to the company headquarters in Verl to support the survival of honeybees.
Beehives for rent
The beekeeper Marion Domke has come up with an exciting concept to save bees: renting bee colonies to companies, associations and private individuals. This commitment immediately convinced us, and the first two bee colonies moved into a new home on our company premises in Verl in April 2018. We now rent eight bee colonies, and beekeeper Marion Domke regularly drops by to make sure everything is alright.