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The environment a major competitive issue for Scania

Caring for the environment begins on the drawing board. That is the basis for Scania's environmental philosophy, which has permeated the development of its new generation of trucks. Today half of Scania's product development expenditures are related to the environment.

“The task of Scania's engineers and technicians is to design trucks that are 100 percent recyclable, consume less fuel and generate less exhaust emissions," says Leif Östling, President and CEO of Scania.

“Our customers are demanding heavy vehicles that meet higher and higher environmental standards. And their customers, in turn, are demanding that transport work should have the least possible impact on the environment. This is why caring for the environment is an important competitive issue today.

“The new Scania trucks provide the best possible combination of transport economy and environmental performance. This will also enable our customers to assume their environmental responsibility on a businesslike footing."

Life-cycle principle

“Beginning from the design stage, we have sought to minimise the environmental impact of a vehicle throughout its life-cycle," says Ronnie Klingberg, Scania's Environmental Coordinator.

“As a producer, we continuously analyse the environmental impact of material selection, manufacturing, vehicle utilisation and final disposal. This enables us to tackle environmental problems at source, instead of taking action after they have occurred."

Modularisation saves energy and raw materials

Scania's modular specification system makes it possible to tailor every truck to the wishes of the customer with a minimum of components. But at the same time, it enables the company to optimise each vehicle from an environmental standpoint.

The new generation of trucks has further refined the modular system. The cab range for Scania's 4-series consists of 35% fewer parts than for the 4-series.

With fewer components, consumption of energy and raw materials is smaller, resulting in a lower environmental impact during production, maintenance and repairs.

Environmentally adapted materials selection

About 90 percent of the weight of a truck consists of recyclable materials. This not only includes such metals as steel, aluminium, copper and zinc, but also glass, rubber, plastics and paint. If energy recovery is also included, the recycling level is practically 100 percent.

Scania's environmental philosophy is also reflected in its choice of materials. Parts of the cab's interior fittings consist of recycled material. Mercury and asbestos are not used. Lead is found only in batteries and in small balance weights on the wheels. Vehicles have non-CFC air conditioners.

Unpainted plastic easier to recycle

“The new trucks are delivered with graphite-grey, unpainted plastic components on the chassis," says Mr. Klingberg. “Recycling of painted plastic is difficult and has an adverse environmental impact.

“The plastic we use for bumpers, boarding steps and side skirts is both nick- and impact-resistant. It has the same colour nuance as the paint used on other parts of the chassis such as the engine, gearbox and rear axle, so it does not need painting."

Improved combustion, higher efficiency, lower emissions

“Lower exhaust emissions and better fuel economy have been our top priorities during the development of our new 12-litre engine and the revamping of our 14-litre engine," says Bengt Palmér, Scania's Executive Vice President in charge of Development, Production and Materials.

“Scania is a leading player in the field of diesel engine technology. The new engines represent yet another step forward for us," Mr. Palmér says. “The combustion engineering has been refined further, as has the efficiency, while the design has been adapted to facilitate simple servicing at workshops."

“Taken together, this means not only lower fuel consumption, but also substantially lower carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions."

Aerodynamic cab with lower air resistance

Scania's new cabs represent further success in aerodynamics. New principles, including an upright windscreen and greatly rounded corners, have reduced air resistance by 4 to 12 percent compared to the 3-series. This means lower fuel consumption and less impact on the environment.

Component painting radically lowers solvent discharges

Today all chassis components and items undergo complete painting before assembly. This is one of the more far-reaching steps to improve the environment at production units.

“We can now choose the best painting method for each individual component," says Ronnie Klingberg. “We radically lower solvent discharges by using water-borne paint or powder-painting methods. The paint furthermore has much better wear-resistance and better finish.

“This is entirely consistent with Scania's philosophy of tackling the problems at their source, not after they have occurred," Mr. Klingberg observes.

Seventy percent less solvent from cab production

Powder-based primer painting and a new rust-proofing agent with a very low solvent content have helped reduce solvent discharges by about 70 percent during cab production in Oskarshamn, Sweden.

Changes in production processes

Scania is replacing organic solvents with alkaline de-greasing or microemulsion. It is ending the use of organic chlorine solvents and eliminating heavy metals in paints as well as the use of chlorinated paraffins and cyanide hardening methods.

Scania is also recycling scrap, paper and wood wastes that accumulate around the production process and is taking steps to save and recover energy.

Automation improves working environment

During cab production at Oskarshamn, powder paint is applied by robots, which also improves the working environment.

In Falun, heavy and monotonous manual assembly has been automated. Assembly workers on the axle production line are now systems specialists, responsible for different groups of robots.

Similar improvements in the working environment have occurred at other production units.

Noise down 94% in 15 years

During the past 15 years, Scania has reduced truck noise from 92 to 80 decibels. These 12 decibels are equivalent to 94 percent less noise. Fifteen of today's trucks are quieter than one single truck in 1980.