The KION Group is aware of its responsibility towards society, the environment and the economy. That is why the KION Group goes above and beyond its legal duties to specifically promote sustainable development in matters of social and environmental importance. Prevention of climate change and conservation of resources therefore take top priority – and are an integral element of the Code of Compliance. Innovative products support the KION Group's role as one of the pioneers in the use of cutting-edge environmental technologies. The Linde and STILL brands have developed ground-breaking concepts for conserving resources.
Focus on ergonomics, the environment and efficiency
Linde runs the PureMotion programme, which concentrates on ergonomics, the environment and efficiency. For example, ever since the first hydrostatic drive was developed in the 1960s, Linde has continually worked to improve the technology. Modern-day hydrostatic wheel motors operate at 170 revolutions per minute, instead of 3,500 as they used to do. Trucks need less fuel and produce fewer emissions, thereby enabling customers to operate more efficiently.
Linde also occupies a leading position when it comes to diesel engines. The particulate emissions of its diesel engines (H25D 392 model) are only approximately 35 per cent of those of competitors in the market. In addition, particulate filter systems are offered as optional extras. Its electric lift trucks also reflect its technology lead, with energy recovery cutting energy consumption by a quarter. The Linde brand company has also succeeded in reducing the noise levels of these trucks by 30 per cent compared to the products of other manufacturers. Moreover, the rate of wear is up to 20 per cent less for wearing parts. In short, the PureMotion programme generates benefits, not just for people but also for business and the environment.
KION's STILL brand pursues a similar strategy. BlueQ is a significant concept in which the truck's driver activates efficiency mode at the touch of a button. Energy is saved precisely where it will not impair operation of the truck by intelligently optimising the characteristics of the drive. As a result, consumption can be reduced by between 10 and 20 per cent, depending on how the truck is used and the equipment fitted. This has financial benefits for customers: an electric lift truck with a load capacity of 1.6 tonnes operating on a three-shift schedule over five years has potential cost savings of roughly €2,500. And this calculation does not include further gains resulting from reduced wear, a longer battery service life and higher usage time per load.
Intelligent technology secures competitive edge
Pioneering technologies such as energy recovery in trucks, biodiesel, gas-powered trucks, the use of diesel particulate filters and adjustable pumps for lift drives, plus fuel-cell powered trucks, have a long tradition at the KION Group. Current forecasts from industry experts show that innovative drive concepts are the technology of the moment. For example, the Industrial Truck Organization, which represents truck manufacturers and their suppliers in Canada, the United States and Mexico, expects that 90 per cent of all trucks worldwide will be electric in 14 years' time. A survey by the Engineering Committee of the Japanese Industrial Vehicles Association (JIVA) has similar results and states that lithium ion batteries and hybrid drives are the way forward.
STILL is responding to this trend. Its new RX 70 Hybrid truck is pursuing the twin aims of low energy consumption and low CO2 emissions. Series production of the hybrid truck is scheduled for May. The concept is derived from the RX 70 model, which itself previously earned the FLTA environment award from the UK's Fork Lift Truck Association.
The KION Group's innovative capabilities and the technological improvements it has made to its product portfolio enable it to constantly optimise the resource consumption of customers' truck fleets. Its responsible use of resources is also reflected in its use of recyclable materials, its energy-efficient products and manufacturing processes and its environmentally friendly workplaces.
One such example is the powder coating equipment used at STILL, which means that trucks only require one coat of paint. Solvents are not used in production. Any unused paint is collected and reused. Moreover, the STILL plant in Hamburg has been using just 32 per cent of its original natural gas consumption since it began using low-CO2 district heating. As a certified member of Hamburg's environmental partnership, the plant is trialling the voluntary monitoring of CO2. Electricity consumption has fallen considerably since 2004 due to intelligent energy management, in which electricity consumers are switched off at regular intervals. Hydraulic optimisation of the heating system has significantly cut the amount of water in circulation and reduced the return water temperature. The plant saves electricity and water by connecting the heating and ventilation systems to a control station.
Emissions checks, environmentally efficient production requirements and the need to comply with environmental and health & safety standards all result in continuous improvements to products and work processes. The recycling of a truck at the end of its lifetime is already taken into consideration when it is developed. As a result, 99 per cent of a Linde truck can be recycled. The cast iron, which accounts for 70 per cent, is used to make a new truck. Other materials, such as steel, copper, glass and service fluids, are almost 100 per cent recyclable.
Staff development programmes safeguard the Group's future
The KION Group's employees form the basis for its long-term success. That is why humanity lies at the heart of all processes. The corporate culture of the entire Group is characterised by mutual respect and appreciation. Managers and their staff live by these values. Their above-average loyalty to the Company shows that they appreciate this culture – and is a crucial competitive advantage for the KION Group. After all, the brands can only develop, manufacture and sell premium products if they have employees who see their work as more than just a job.
Professional training activities start with support for universities, work placements and apprenticeships, continue with professional development opportunities for the workforce and reach their apex with carefully structured programmes to support managers and talented staff. In 2010, 26 employees at Linde alone took on new managerial responsibilities. The basis for this is the 'managerial driving licence' scheme, which helps employees optimally define and exercise their managerial responsibilities in their team. A modular series of seminars teaches new managers how to improve their leadership behaviour in practice.
One advantage of KION's training and professional development models is their flexibility. This can be seen in initiatives by the brand companies to use last year's phases of short-time working for intense training and in the opportunities for working and learning in other countries. The Linde expat programme, for example, enables employees to move from headquarters in Germany to almost any partner country and vice versa.
A fundamental aspect of the Group's training activities is encouraging the next generation of young professionals. STILL is involved in a number of projects in this area, including an alliance with the Career Center Hamburg, the SMS programme (STILL moves students) and cooperation with Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (AWA), Kurt Körber High School and Helmut Schmidt University on the 'e-truck' robot construction project in Hamburg. These initiatives aim to establish ties with tomorrow's potential trainees, apprentices and employees while they are young.
When it comes to vocational training, Linde Material Handling sets standards as the largest training provider in the Aschaffenburg region. Besides professional training, other essential elements of the personal development plan for all trainees and apprentices are mutual appreciation and respect. These values are specifically taught and developed during training sessions. Linde Material Handling has cooperated with high schools in Aschaffenburg, the Aschaffenburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences and the Bavarian State Government for many years and has developed a pupil/engineer academy for high schools in which topics relevant to technological and scientific careers are incorporated into the curriculum for older pupils. Work placements, discussions and school projects thereby forge links between business and schools. Support and development for the next generation of young professionals is provided by a wide range of work placement options for students at university and a close partnership with Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences.
The quality of the KION brands' training models has been recognised by external experts: the AGA business association awarded its 2009 training prize to a young employee who completed her training to become a technical product designer at STILL.
Safety is an important topic, and the KION Group constantly provides initial and continuing training for its employees in this area. To improve safety at its sites, the KION Group conducted 486 training courses in Germany alone during 2010. The courses focused on issues such as risk assessment and hazardous materials. In-depth analyses of accidents and detailed action plans are used to reduce risks in the workplace. Training for managers heightens awareness for safety at all levels.
Brands and employees support society
Recognising their social responsibility, both the Executive Board and employees personally support numerous charities. Employees in the USA, for example, have been regularly donating blood to the American Red Cross for the past nine years. At the 2010 anniversary party, STILL employees and their families donated almost €20,000. The donations went to a Hamburg-based charity that supports children with cancer and to Switch, which is an initiative run by an organisation in Hamburg that carries out intercultural projects to help eliminate prejudice against people from immigrant backgrounds. Linde Material Handling employees provided financial support of around €38,000 to victims of the earthquake in Haiti by converting credit from their time accounts; Linde rounded this amount up to €45,000. During the year, Linde donated a further €5,000 to flood victims in Pakistan.
Immediately after a severe earthquake at the end of February, which left large areas of Chile completely devastated, the 'Linde helps Linde' initiative was started and employees in Santiago were quickly able to organise the transportation of food to Concepción using the company's own vans. KION donated approximately €100,000 to support the people of Chile in the sustainable reconstruction of the devastated areas.
A number of sites in various countries have stopped giving gifts to customers at Christmas and use the budget instead to donate to people in need.
As truck manufacturers, the KION Group brands are predetermined to help in places where aid needs to be delivered quickly, reliably and without bureaucracy. That is why Linde and STILL provided 15 industrial trucks to various relief organisations in 2010.