03.05.2016 | In Focus

"Thanks to our heat pump, we save about 50,000 liter oil every year"

For roughly 20 years, Martin Leuenberger has been working for PB Swiss Tools. The trained electrician is a Swiss certified foreman in plant and apparatus engineering and divisional manager for maintenance, environment and occupational safety and health. He leads a team of 13 employees and also supervises the automation engineer apprentices. We met him for the interview and talked with him about the new heat pump – and about which type of importance sustainability occupies in the company.

Martin Leuenberger, why was a decision made in favor of heat pumps?
Sustainability is an important topic for our company. In the nearly twenty years I have been working here, I noticed again and again that the management is very intent on implementing improvements and optimizations for the protection of the environment and resources. This attitude is securely rooted in the company and continues at all levels. With the heat pump, we do not subject the environment do any pollution. For us, it has a tradition, so to speak: Max Baumann Senior wanted a heating system back then that did not produce smoke, and he had the first heat pump installed in 1979 – a pioneering venture at the time. Thanks to the heat pumps, we save about 50,000 'liter oil every year in both plants

Heat pumps operate on current. Is it possible to also use synergies in the plant for this purpose
Yes, we use waste heat from the machines for the operation. It is fed to a 100 cubic meter silo using cooling water and cooled by the heat pumps. In the process, heat is being generated for heating. We also use the waste heat of our compressors for heating. Since 2014, we have also received district heating from the local Wärmeverbund Energie AG Sumiswald.

Aside from the heat pumps: What else does PB Swiss Tools do for sustainability?
We conduct a rigorous energy management, e.g. by optimizing the peak load. With the system from Alpiq/Xamax, we optimize the use of energy and recognize savings potentials. In the context of energy consultation, the situation is constantly being re-assessed. A long-running success, as it were, is also the «Continuous Improvement Process», or simply CIP. For example, we were able to move a large part of the production and manufacturing to Grünen in order to have more space for final manufacturing, logistics, training as well as the attractive presentation of our products. Among other things, this resulted in improvements in the production sequences and significantly fewer trips between the plants. Not only is it economically beneficial, but it also serves the environment.

Are additional measures being planned?
If renovations are planned in the construction sector, we prefer sustainable solutions. I see another potential in the mobility sector by examining the use of electric vehicles between Wasen and Grünen. Whenever innovations are pending, we ask ourselves: How can we implement that as best as possible? We are openly in favor of innovative solutions and like to lead the way by setting a good example by not only talking about sustainability, but also act accordingly.

Martin Leuenberger, thank you very much for the talk.

Share this article
Share Tweet Share Email
Subscribe to Inside magazine