Lift truck manufacturer Crown Equipment Corporation has developed more than five million square feet of global brownfield space, and close to 150,000 square feet of that development was accomplished in the past year in three projects:
• A vacant 937,000-square-foot former manufacturing plant in New Castle, Ind., which now houses Crown’s deep-draw press operation.
• A 75,000-square-foot brownfield facility in Minster, Ohio, which will house the company’s wire harness assembly process.
• A 37,000-square-foot brownfield site in Basingtoke, England, which will house Crown’s retail branch and corporate headquarters.
These projects are outlined in the company’s “2012 Crown ecologic Report,” which also highlights the sustainability principles that guided them. For example, at the New Castle facility, refurbishment activities started with cleaning and removing oily residue off the walls and ceilings while recycling these fluids and other structural components. Crown took the old broken concrete that required replacement and ground it up for reuse at the site as backfill for other concrete work. To date, more than 10,000 tons of concrete has been ground up and made ready for reuse. Additionally, the company reused Styrofoam panels as insulation at the facility and offices, and recycled more than 300 tons of scrap steel.
Crown is also using sustainability principles to continuously improve raw materials sourcing and its manufacturing processes. It hired a full-time analyst to implement a lifecycle assessment program that will give the company a method to evaluate the ecological and human-health impact of its products during their existence. The analyst will collect and examine impact data on the environmental consequences of available materials, designs, manufacturing processes, product use patterns and throughout end-of-life disposition.
“Understanding environmental impacts throughout the stages of our products' lifecycle allow us to implement strategies around reducing, reusing and recycling; as well as define which design concepts produce the least environmental impact through quantifiable data,” said Brian Duffy, Crown’s director of corporate environmental and manufacturing safety.
Crown’s ecologic program also included these projects:
• Built and deployed its 500th new forklift to be operated with fuel cells.
• Achieved zero landfill status at two U.S. facilities: The company’s electronic manufacturing plant in New Bremen, Ohio, and its Dayton, Ohio, Crown branch location.
• Installed a component cell in its Celina, Ohio, manufacturing plant that eliminated the need to transport component parts between manufacturing sites—saving more than 20,000 transportation miles and removing 27 tons of greenhouse gases annually. Employees identified and developed the program.
• Launched an environmental group in Mexico that partners with the government to improve the environment through local conferences.
• Crown Germany installed an intelligent heating system that monitors external warehouse doors and latent heat within heaters and utilizes the gathered information to reduce unnecessary heating by switching off the blower heater when warehouse roller doors are opened.
• Crown Mexico introduced railroad service to transport material from Laredo to Querétaro, reducing emissions by two tons of carbon per trip; totaling more than 200 tons of carbon emissions per year.
• Implemented a sustainability initiative in Australia that will renovate and update designated facilities and establish sustainability standards for new facilities moving forward.