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Strategy for the future – clean, green and efficient

Scania’s new foundry in Södertälje, Sweden has a 65,000t p/a capacity, increased energy efficiency, reduced waste stream, and is CO2 neutral.

Strategic product development, including direction, supply and demand, global market development, and even location, are ongoing topics for consideration and action at Scania, the world leading manufacturer of trucks and its parent group. A commitment to the development of new products and the further development of casting production processes is very much a part of this, which became the catalyst for the building of a new foundry to meet future needs. However, for the new foundry another parallel recurring discussion took place that increasingly focused on the desire to build a foundry with a genuine and exceptionally high level of sustainability. For example, targeting the use of 100 per cent renewable energy and zero CO2 emissions was one of the sustainability objectives for the new facility – a concept that is fully in line with Scania’s ‘strategy for the future’.

In 2017 the investment decision was taken for the concept of a new foundry at Scania’s premises in Södertälje, Sweden. For Scania it also meant that Södertälje remains the epicentre of development and production. To bring the concept to life, Scania worked with Gemco as its foundry engineering and project management partner. The co-operation between the two parties, however, started long before this project, around ten years ago when Scania engaged Gemco for the development of a new casting. The decision to pursue the new foundry ambition was agreed after an extensive period of close co-operation between Scania and Gemco in which various alternatives were considered and carefully analysed, including the modernisation and extension of the existing foundry.

During this time the companies considered the basics for an entirely new facility by putting together the principal layout, sizing of the main equipment, the budget for the process, a project plan, co-operation structure, and time-schedule. To achieve the closest possible ongoing co-operation with Scania, it was decided that Gemco engineers would reside in Södertälje. New factory premises were selected equalling approximately 98,000m2 of which the foundry facility occupies 35,000m2 to enable production of 65,000t/annum of high quality castings – three times the capacity of the pre-existing foundry. This production will be achieved with the same number of people employed in the existing foundry, 200.

To achieve both efficient as well as sustainable production with sustainable development goals (SDGs) in mind, only the most up-to-date technologies and even completely new technological solutions were applied. Solutions were designed and created in multilateral co-operation between Scania’s project organisation which includes Scania production, engineers, and maintenance and safety representatives, Gemco engineers, and the equipment manufacturing companies, as well as the building engineering company. Before deciding on a solution principle, thorough evaluations were made from every perspective, such as efficiency, maintainability, operator safety and environmental impact. During the early stages Gemco calculated key figures for energy needed and for the requisite of water, compressed air and other media. A task not to be underestimated, was to list and map out the requirements for processes of equipment consumption not yet determined, while Sweco did the engineering of the building.

“Our high ambitions and technical solutions inspired and challenged us and our suppliers to raise the level in the work on energy efficiency, which will certainly benefit the foundry industry in the future,” says Mikael Lindén project manager for the new foundry.

Notwithstanding a tripling of production capacity, the improved materials handling, and newly introduced sand recycling significantly reduce the required transport per cast unit. Energy usage will decrease while improved casting processes and heat recovery allow for energy gains.

“We are convinced that the new foundry brings Scania closer to the goal of sustainable production,” says Anders Svensson, energy and development engineer at Scania.

For the realisation of the project Gemco delivered project management support, integration design and engineering, specialised area project managers for charge, melt and pour, sand preparation and reclamation, environmental and heat recovery and moulding, shake out and casting-cooling departments.

“I want to emphasise that together with Scania we all acted as one team for the design and commissioning of the complete foundry, combining knowledge and expertise from different angles,” Gemco project manager Cees Noortman, enthuses. Overall, a combined team of 50 people had to be managed, with the principles of good teamwork and a great team effort being necessary to achieve the scale of the project.

Gemco also supplied site management during the construction phase on site. A significant challenge was that certain detailed engineering was still ongoing during the building construction. Also, there was a stringent timetable, as is usual in the industry sector. During the entire duration of the project, the close collaboration with Skanska (building contractor) and Sweco (building design) has been an important aspect in the success of the project. The first casting in the new foundry was carried out in December 2020 and production is currently ramping up. Gemco will further support Scania in the ramp-up phase. Together with Scania, Gemco will follow the production processes closely, for instance to measure the equipment performances, and will be engaged in the project at least until the new foundry is in regular production.

“We are really pleased with this reference project and the very good co-operation with the Scania team. To have contributed to this big foundry project with a three times higher capacity than the old one. To realise special solutions together, to achieve 50 per cent more energy efficiency, significantly reduce waste streams and to reduce the carbon footprint of the factory was a challenge and I believe that together we have been successful on the goals set before we started the project. All in all, it has been a very stimulating and interesting project,” concludes Cees Noortman.

Gemco Cast Metal Technology is an international consultancy, engineering, and project management company for the foundry industry. Gemco’s mission is to develop projects that enable customers to be successful and to realise sustainable cast metal facilities with the lowest possible carbon footprint and minimal impact on the environment. Contact: Gemco Engineers, Eindhoven, www.gemco.nl

Scania is a world leading manufacturer of trucks for distribution, long-distance and heavy transport applications, buses, and coaches. The Swedish provider of transport solutions strongly focusses on innovation, environmental impact, and customer satisfaction. This also includes the development and improvement of new generation truck engines. www.scania.com

Images courtesy of Scania and Gemco