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Collaboration with ABB enables sustainable transition to recycled material


We at Polykemi are proud to collaborate with ABB and enable a transition to recycled material in their red, green, black and gray junction boxes produced in ABB's facility in Porvoo, Finland. By replacing the material in the junction boxes with our REZYcom PP, they reduce the carbon footprint by as much as 40% per box during production.


In the article below from ABB you can read more about this collaboration and that the transition to a sustainable industry is both technically and economically possible.


 

Thinking outside the box: driving circularity across the Nordics

Web story | Porvoo, Finland | 2024-06-20


Global technology leader ABB is making a shift to using recycled plastic material for its junction boxes produced in the Nordics. Through a partnership with thermoplastic compounds provider Polykemi, ABB's factory in Porvoo, Finland is transitioning its production of junction boxes to incorporate recycled materials.


Globally, the recycling revolution is gaining momentum as companies and brands respond to growing consumer demand for more sustainable products by introducing a new generation of innovative and traceable materials. This trend is particularly evident in the Nordics, where a commitment to sustainability and a culture of relentless innovation are converging to create the eco-friendly materials of tomorrow.


As part of its sustainability agenda, global technology leader ABB is actively transitioning to REZYcom PP, a recycled plastic material, supplied by Polykemi, the largest producer of customized thermoplastic compounds in Scandinavia. Additionally, Polykemi provides ABB's Porvoo factory with recycled plastic for its manufacturing operations. With a significant 6,600 square meter footprint, it manufactures wiring accessories and installation materials for the smart buildings market.



Carbon footprint reduced by 40% and minimized water usage

ABB has replaced the material in its red, green, black, and gray (AP9, AP10, and AP45) junction boxes with Polykemi’s new alternative – a mix of recycled, low-emission, and reinforcing materials. Through alternative materials sourcing it is estimated that the product's carbon footprint has been reduced by 40 percent – equal to carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per junction box – throughout the entire life cycle.


Thanks to REZYcom PP, each AP9 box also saves 90 liters of water during production, while all the ABB boxes retain their IP65 rating and functionality, even at temperatures as low as 25 degrees Celcius below zero.


"Based on required specifications, we have developed a material footprint of 0.5 kg of CO2e per kilogram, instead of the previous level of 1.42 kg of CO2e per kilogram,” explained Henrik Palokangas, Sustainability Specialist at Polykemi. “Importantly, the impressive reduction in carbon footprint does not come at the expense of product quality. The manufacturing principles remain at the same high standard customers have come to expect from ABB thanks to the extensive quality assurance testing on the used raw materials," he added.


For Emelie Detert, Palokangas’ counterpart at ABB, sourcing sustainable materials like REZYcom PP is part of the company’s goal to cover 80 percent of its products and systems with ABB’s Circularity Approach by 2030.


"It is an example of innovation and ingenuity in finding more sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact while maintaining critical performance and reliability." - Emelie Detert

Cracking the code

In addition to retaining the function and IP65 classification (dustproof and splashproof), another project goal was switching to recycled plastic directly in production to maintain the same pricing and product code for the boxes – making it easy for customers to switch to a more sustainable product.


“This has been a major factor in making the material change possible, and our customers can continue to order the same product as they always have," explained Dusko Davidovic, Global Product Manager at ABB.


White has long been the standard color for ABB’s junction boxes, but, as Detert points out, the change in color for the recycled plastic product lines makes customers aware that the company’s choices, and they, matter more than we might think.


“By choosing a light gray or black junction box, our customers become a direct part of the actual changes that we are in the middle of right now," she explained.


The boxes have a robust and durable design for installations with requirements up to IP65, and are part of the ABB EcoSolutions™ portfolio

The importance of transparency

All junction boxes manufactured at ABB’s Mission to Zero™ site in Porvoo have an EPD type III, which is an externally verified Environmental Product Declaration. Polykemi adheres to the same standards, with the company's life cycle analysis for materials from fossil, recycled, and bio-circular sources also being third-party verified.


For Detert, this is a prerequisite to transparently conducting sustainable production in the future. “A large part of this is to make the same demands on suppliers' products as we do on our own,” she stated.


“In industry, we must be able to work transparently and share information as far as we can. What is needed is an open dialogue about requirements and priorities. If we want to reach the same goal, we must find the best solution together", Palokangas added.


The Porvoo factory, where the boxes are produced, has been investing in achieving Net Zero status, and the new material has a low CO2 footprint – further evidence that the recycling and sustainability revolution is expanding and evolving.



Noteworthy: This article is produced by ABB and is an English translation of ABB's Swedish article dated April 29, 2024. The Swedish version can be read in its entirety on ABB's website: Nästa steg inom hållbarhet driver på den cirkulära utvecklingen i Norden | ABB

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