The concept supports customers by combining technical excellence with creative design to improve the functionality of a product, as well as its social and environmental footprint. It is a collaboration between customer and supplier, bringing product designers together with engineers schooled in the unique methodology of Hydro EcoDesign.
Hydro EcoDesign complements the growing number of products and services the company is offering in line with its sustainability strategy, including the low-carbon aluminium brands Hydro REDUXA and Hydro CIRCAL.
“Most of the cost of a product and its environmental impacts are committed early in the design process, on the drawing board. This is where circular economy begins, and this is where Hydro EcoDesign has a role to play,” says Egil Hogna, executive vice president responsible for Hydro’s Extruded Solutions business area. “We aim to go beyond reducing negative impacts, to improving positive impacts.”
Hydro Extruded Solutions will launch Hydro EcoDesign this autumn in Europe, employing its network of more than 30 aluminium extrusion plants across the continent. Most of the manufacturing sites are certified according to ASI’s Performance Standard. Many have also achieved certification to the ASI Chain of Custody Standard, which allows the sites to sell ASI-certified material to customers.
Methodology developed in collaboration with EPEA
Hydro EcoDesign is a dedicated methodology that Hydro developed in collaboration with the consultants Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA), part of Drees & Sommer. Its structure is based on procedures and requirements that identify opportunities and priorities for making products more sustainable.
“Teaming with EPEA allowed us to build a framework with a partner experienced in material health, sustainable design and product certification,” says Jean-Marc Moulin, head of sustainability for Extruded Solutions. “The key is to make sure all steps and criteria are specific, thus minimizing the risk of greenwashing.”
It works like this: A community of specially trained colleagues across Europe assists customer projects by bringing expertise in material selection, alloy performance, life cycle analysis, surface treatment, packaging, transport and lightweighting. These specialists cover topics such as designing for disassembly, disruptive business models, take-back systems, supplier engagement, packaging and enhanced recycling. Several proven concepts from the circular economy community have also been endorsed for use. Consultation with the customer in this process is a priority.
About 40 engineers are trained and ready for Hydro EcoDesign projects. This reflects the desire of the company to utilize experts and ASI-certified manufacturing sites that are close to the customer.
Extruded Solutions is the largest business area in Hydro with 21,000 employees in 40 countries. It delivers tailored aluminium components and solutions to all industries, from automotive and mass transportation to building and construction, electronics, offshore and maritime. The business area serves more than 30,000 customers across the world.