The hidden part of
The green economy is not a sector but a general model of economy “that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities” (UNEP, Towards a Green Economy, 2009).
The ongoing change in the economy towards a green economy is fundamental to achieve sustainable development which already plays an active role in many companies, urging a more incisive participation, not only involving lifestyle and consumption models but also urging new public, economic, and fiscal policies at all institutional levels.
Always looking to the future, Continuus-Properzi is the world leader in the design and construction of Continuous Casting systems for the production of aluminum and copper wire rod, Microrolling® lines for ferrous and non-ferrous materials, furnaces, and systems for the production of lead strip.
In this technological setting, which has accompanied the engineering company since its inception in 1947, this little-known but ever present and impactful green side is deeply rooted both locally and internationally.
The Properzi premises in Italy
Over the years it has become necessary to make logistical changes to company site. The need arose to create a new warehouse adjacent to the workshop, an area dedicated to Quality Control operations. The president, Eng. Giulio Properzi, desired and organized the “relocation” of a monumental 50-year-old Lebanon cedar that had been planted when the factory was built. On February 15, 2014, the cedar was relocated adjacent to the office building. The tree itself weighed 25 tons with approximately twice that weight for the roots yielding a total weight of 75 tons. The operation involved a dozen workers and a company specializing in tree removal and relocation.
“Maybe because I like plants, or maybe because I think it is right to try to do everything possible to protect them, I decided to do this, otherwise the alternative would have been to cut everything and it would have been a shame,” said Giulio Properzi at the time (a direct quote from “Il Cittadino di Lodi, 17 February 2014”). The costs for moving the tree were considerable and the work to create the new accommodation for our “green friend” lasted about 5 hours but, after 6 years, we can say that the cedar is in excellent health and we thoroughly enjoy the shade it provides us during the hottest hours of the summer! We have mapped all the native plants present on the Properzi field and this tree is one of the most salient specimens! Keeping the environment in mind, the company has moved the rolling mill assembly department to an ad hoc structure, positioned close to the quality control department, in order to avoid motorized movements within the company thereby yielding lower CO2 emissions equivalent to 40 km less per day on wheels.
The green approach to Properzi technologies
What is described above, represents only the emotional side of a company that thinks and acts in a green way. Every company needs to face market competition while making better use of resources (material and energy) and improving the quality of products. Undertaking the “green” direction has helped to improve our company while allowing us to maintain a good level of profitability.
This path has meant that the company was pushed towards innovation and the conversion to methodologies that previously would not have been considered, for example IULIUS 4.0 which is Properzi’s tangible response to Industry 4.0.
Our professional staff, specifically the management staff within the Technical Department, has rejected some typical ideas of the traditional brown economy and moved forward with innovative ideas applied to energy savings through the application of specialized know-how.
Continuus Properzi places its technical background and its engineering aptitude at the service of our customers in the design of furnaces that support our CCR (Continuous Casting and Rolling) Lines, in a green perspective.
To date, Continuus Properzi offers a furnace set, called Vert-Melt, that completes our CCR lines for the production of aluminium wire rod. These furnaces require a modest investment, involve a very compact lay-out (important because it does not require enormous construction impacts on the environment), and consume far less gas.
The Vert-Melt furnace offers several advantages including: much higher energy efficiency compared to any type of reverberatory furnace, three times less metal loss compared to a normal reverberatory furnace (1% ÷ 1.5% against 3% ÷ 5%), low emissions, as well as 25% less gas consumption. Moreover, the efficiency of the furnace is significantly increased thanks to the recycling of the heat absorbed by the molten metal from the combustion of the main burners but also from the fumes coming from the receiving chamber.
We also achieve energy savings with Refining Furnaces (as large as 250 tons) dedicated to the recycling of copper scrap with the patented Properzi top loading system, which allow less heat dispersion thanks to a lower number of furnace charge door openings during the loading of the scrap. The use of the new top loading method allows the loading of a greater quantity of copper scrap (therefore we are talking about recycling a rather expensive material) thereby yielding greater efficiency and energy savings.
Properzi and the environment now and then
The history of Continuus-Properzi in the green economy does not originate in recent years as one might think from this description, but it is a philosophy embraced many years ago. It dates back to the first casting and rolling lines for the production of lead strip delivered in the early 1980s. Even then, all the process fluids used in our production plants were, and continue to be, kept in a closed circuit so as not to be dispersed into the environment. Moreover, the production waste was, and continues to be, directly returned into the furnaces and re-melted thereby avoiding any type of process scrap and therefore any waste.
These are just a few episodes and passages that from a human and technological point of view highlight how a company like Continuus-Properzi, renowned and known worldwide on a technological level, has a hidden and little-known but very well-established green side. In its day-to-day operations the company demonstrates it strongly believes in ecology and the environment on one hand, and in the Integrated Management System (Quality and Safety) on the other hand where the words health, work, and environment often appear in the manual.
Perhaps one can think that in the very near future companies will concentrate not only on their own specific interests, but that they can also operate with an even bigger vision, one for a green economy devoted to safeguarding our future and the future of our children… at Continuus-Properzi we like to believe this!