Sustainability in balance with performance and aesthetics
First use of Makrolon® RE in light switches and sockets
- Significantly reduced carbon footprint
- Over 80 percent share of bio-circular raw materials
- Excellent UV stability in signal white coloring
- Material properties identical to those of purely fossil-based compound counterparts
For the first time, a Makrolon® RE polycarbonate from Covestro is being used in the manufacture of switches, plugs and multimedia sockets. ABB – a leading international energy and automation technology group with a strong focus on sustainability – uses the polycarbonate in its SAGATM product range. "Currently, around 75 percent of our SAGATM range is manufactured with attributed bio-circular materials. In the long term, this will reduce annual emissions by around 400 tons of CO2 equivalents.* We want to further increase the proportion of these attributed bio-circular plastics in the future. This is because as thermoplastics they can be recycled and therefore enable the creation of resource-saving material cycles," explains Sven Werdes, Global Product Line Manager at ABB.
The Makrolon® RE used by ABB has a very low carbon footprint; at best, it is climate-neutral**. In addition, the raw materials used in the synthesis of its starting materials are largely derived from mass-balanced organic waste and residues such as used cooking oils and fats.
Climate neutral** across the entire value chain as a common goal
"We are delighted to be able to effectively support ABB in its ambitious sustainability goals. Basically, we are doing everything we can to help our customers and their clients with more sustainable product solutions in the development of climate-neutral and resource-saving material cycles," emphasizes Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics Business Entity at Covestro.
ABB manufactures the majority of the SAGATM range in its climate-neutral factory*** in Porvoo, Finland. With the help of a highly efficient energy management system, the plant uses only renewable energy and processes low-emission materials such as Makrolon® RE. "Porvoo is one of the first milestones in our Mission to Zero™ program, which aims to achieve climate neutrality for both our own sites and those of our customers. Materials such as Makrolon® RE are an important building block in our sustainability strategy," says Mikaela Ahlnäs-Mäkeläinen, Local Product Group Manager at ABB.
Highest quality standards met
The Makrolon® RE variant used by ABB is colored in signal white (RAL 9003) and is characterized by excellent UV stability. For example, it easily passed a test that simulates two years of horizontal, two-dimensional UV exposure under northern European light conditions. In addition, its electrical properties – such as high dielectric strength and tracking resistance – meet all electrical safety requirements. "The Makrolon® RE compound is a successful example of how aesthetics, performance and sustainability can be harmonized with just one material," explains Dr. Niklas Meine, Senior Marketing Manager and responsible for Marketing Electrical Engineering and Electronics EMEA at Covestro.
Drop-in solution without compromising on performance
The proportion of attributed alternative raw materials in the compound is over 80 percent. It is mass-balanced and certified in accordance with the established ISCC PLUS standard (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification). In principle, the material variants of Makrolon® RE are completely identical to their purely fossil-based counterparts in terms of chemistry, physics and processing behavior. "Our customers can therefore replace these counterparts as a drop-in solution in ongoing production processes without having to change processing parameters on the injection molding machines," explains Niklas Meine.
SAGATM is designed for the electrification of commercial and public buildings, private residential buildings and the hospitality sector. It can be integrated into the ABB i-bus® KNX and ABB-free@home® building automation systems and will initially be marketed in Northern Europe.
* Based on an ABB estimation.
** Climate neutral according to verified life cycle assessment based on ISO standards 14040/14044. Climate neutrality is verified by assessing a partial product life cycle from resource extraction (cradle) to factory gate, also known as cradle-to-gate assessment. The calculation takes into account the biogenic carbon sequestration and not the impact from the first "life". It is based on preliminary data from the supply chain and replaces the electricity grid mix with renewable electricity used for the manufacturing process at Covestro. No compensation measures were applied. The LCA methodology developed by Covestro AG is scientifically sound and state of the art. ID no. 0000083440: Covestro AG – Certipedia.
*** According to ABB. More information about the Porvoo site is given in the ABB press release:
Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.
The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 18 billion in fiscal 2022. At the end of 2022, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 18,000 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.