SUSTAINABILITY AT ARCH
At ARCH the meaning of the word Sustainability is taken seriously, influencing management decisions and practices, to the point that we understand that we could only take advantage of the challenge that the concept entails by improving the efficiency of processes, reducing the volume of waste residues or even obtaining from the latter new materials for sanitary articles yet more sustainable. Sustainability starts with our commercialized products, which have a life span of more than 50 years.
The design of the pieces influences its water performance and the consumption of materials and energy.
The design of sanitary articles follows an efficient design logic.
HOW WE WORK FOR SUSTAINABILITY
THE SANITARY WARE MANUFACTURING PROCESS
The production of Sanitaryware is the most demanding in the area of Ceramics and one of the ones that has the greatest environmental impact if it is poorly managed.
Therefore the environmental challenge is greater. Energy consumption and material residues (Plaster, Slabs, Glazes) or even effluents (sludge, hot gases, WWTP effluents) are both a threat and an opportunity.
The best way to achieve environmental sustainability is to guarantee the efficiency of the use of resources, and here, ARCH sets a good example with top productive waste rates, taking advantage of the mastery it has of the ceramic process, which is not unrelated to the engineering of the equipment created at our own premises.
Thus, from the outset, it was a condition that the product to be developed did not produce waste that would obviously have to be disposed of from the premises. In this context, it was thus put forward the hypothesis that the waste obtained would be used in the manufacture of toilets. These premises are always part of the equation while product development takes place.
Not only must resources be rationalized, products must also be efficient. ARCH aims to design flushing tanks with high water efficiency, through discharge volumes that, despite being small, manage to guarantee the smooth functioning of the basins, developed according to the most demanding standards in different markets.
Still having an impact on water performance, we have developed efforts with our partners to passively reduce the flow of taps and showers, as the consumption of sanitary water is, in many countries, a serious problem of local sustainability due to scarce water resources.
The adoption of restrictive devices and intelligent controls will reduce water consumption by 15% and hot water by 20%.
LOW ENERGY CASTING
The casting department is the place where the toilet parts are shaped, using machines specialized for this purpose.
The slip (ceramic paste) used in the manufacture of the pieces contains a water content greater than 30% when it enters the cast. From there on water elimination through mould drying starts which also applies to the pieces inside the actual cast.
The initial water removal process is carried out with the use of thermal energy that ensures water evaporation to the environment and allows the drying of the parts and casts, which are thus available for a new filling cycle.
This is therefore a process that requires large amounts of energy for this operation.
In 2018, ARCH designed a new casting department whose layout would allow the full use of the thermal flows of the kiln, thus guaranteeing 100% of its energy needs for cast drying and the pre-drying of sanitary parts.
CELL FILLING TECHNOLOGY
ARCH has developed a system for manufacturing sanitary ware pieces based on a new filling concept (from casting moulds to ceramic pieces) called “filling cells”.
This new technology was developed with the aim of making ceramic production more flexible, allowing the construction of filling machines in which all the casting moulds can be different without affecting the quality and manufacturing times of different items.
A “cell” is a structure with conditions to adapt to different casting moulds and prepared to work with specific operating parameters of the part to be produced (filling time, pouring time, levelling, slip feeding, uncasting position).
The cell machine is the infrastructure where the cells are installed and which ensures the utilities (slip, air vacuum, drying air, mould release) that each cell will need for the ceramic part manufacturing operation.
The development of this technology has allowed for the simplification and lightening of plaster moulds, in addition to ensure a 30% increase in the life cycle for the casting moulds installed, since ideal drying conditions are guaranteed.
LED LIGHTING IMPLEMENTATION
Since 2016 ARCH has developed an extensive lighting replacement plan for its facilities, with the implementation of LED lighting in 60% of its equipment and buildings.
This investment involved replacing around 500 fluorescent and incandescent lamps with LED technology.