Ecological benefits with power coating
Surface treatment of shopping trolleys
Wanzl Metallwarenfabrik GmbH (Wanzl) in Leipheim is an owner-run medium-sized company and world market leader in the production of shopping trolleys. Quality and innovation are very important for the market success of this ordinary product, because shopping trolleys are exposed to substantial loads during their use. The metal frames need high-quality surface treatment so that they stay presentable for as long as possible and are protected against corrosion.
New process: Powercoating
This is usually achieved by zinc plating them first and then applying a dip coating. The shopping trolleys pass through complex processes in which a large number of chemicals are used. Wanzl has now introduced the power coating process, a new method, which makes do with significantly fewer process steps and for which far less auxiliary materials are required.
Another important advantage of power coating is that in this way shopping trolleys can be coated with robust paint in any colour required – a clear advantage on the market. But how is the new process to be assessed from an ecological point of view? And what are the costs, if the whole production process at Wanzl is considered? To answer these questions, Wanzl commissioned bifa to carry out an ecoefficiency analysis, i.e. with a life cycle analysis and a costs analysis.
The objective was to compare the conventional coating method by means of zinc plating (electroplating) and dip coating with the new power coating process. The investigations showed that power coating performs considerably better than the conventional process, not only in its environmental effects but also with regard to costs.
Ecological Valuation by bifa
The ecology index developed by bifa, which sums up all the environmental effects in one key indicator, is around 10 % more favourable for power coating. And the analysis of the whole life cycle, from the cradle to the grave, showed that power coating loads environment with around 20 % less greenhouse gases than with the conventional method.