Towards carbon-neutral warehousing
With over 40 years of experience, Pesmel is well-known for its innovative material flow solutions. The company’s practical and pragmatic approach to its products is also useful in pursuing a zero-carbon policy, explains Tony Leikas, Pesmel CEO.
Compensation cannot last forever
“We have noticed that many companies use a compensation approach when planning their sustainability agendas,” Leikas notes, “and say that their operations are carbon neutral. But we can’t compensate forever, in the long run. It is better to lower the starting point. We prefer a practical approach based on our wide company knowledge.”
Pesmel provides tailor-made solutions to our customers in internal and shipping logistics.
“The most effective thing we can do is to make sure that our own solutions are as sustainable as possible. Then we also help our customers improve their sustainability,” explains Leikas.
A focus on environmental issues is not a new thing for Pesmel. Related work started some 15 years ago in improving energy efficiency through technology such as regenerative drives and optimized control systems.
“Better structuring of the systems and equipment has led to increased development in energy efficiency measures. But energy efficiency is only one part of the overall picture,” he points out.
Understanding the whole picture
To get an idea of the overall possibilities, Pesmel have analyzed the typical emissions and resources required to build and optimize in-mill logistics of a fairly large board mill producing 120,000 tons annually using Pesmel solutions. This analysis allowed the company to calculate the climate impacts of an automated ASRS throughout its lifecycle, from construction to recycling. The research found that the total lifecycle climate impact of manufacture, use, and disposal of the evaluated system is equivalent to approximately 16,600 tons of CO2 emissions. Most of the emissions occur as a result of the racking manufacture and the in-use energy consumption.
Compensating for such a facility operating a Pesmel automated solution would require planting 10 hectares of forest.
“It’s not so much for a big mill, especially considering a 40-year operating cycle,” Leikas says, “and a warehouse that uses traditional technology like forklift trucks would require 5 to 10 times more compensation.”
Sustainable benefits through automation
In fact, Pesmel’s automated high bay warehousing solutions are one of the main reasons the operating carbon footprint is so low.
“Our automated systems are powered by electricity that can be obtained from renewable sources. Creating sustainable energy sources like installing solar panels on a roof, or identifying certified energy providers, can significantly increase energy efficiency and sustainability. These are low-hanging fruit that can be identified to benefit our customers.”
Furthermore, over 90 percent of the materials in Pesmel’s automated storage and retrieval systems are recyclable.
“The percentage of recycled steel is increasing, and we are further optimizing our recycling and reusing efforts,” Leikas remarks.
Future improvements on the way
While progress has been made on improving sustainable operations, more can always be done.
“Our aim is to improve carbon neutrality in two ways. Firstly, we will continue to increase the amount of steel that is recycled. Secondly, when purchasing steel, we will ensure that it is carbon neutral as far as possible,” remarks Leikas.
These measures have a surprisingly powerful effect.
“Whereas, as we have mentioned, compensating for the typical Pesmel solution requires planting ten hectares of forest, the required compensation will be only one or two hectares when we have implemented these measures,” he adds.
Ultimately, every business needs to do its best to improve sustainability within their own and their customers’ areas of operation.
“We can identify the best possibilities for energy sourcing and usage,” Leikas concludes, “and I believe there will be big steps in the next few years through better energy efficiency, recyclability, optimization, and the use of renewable energy.”