Manufacturing Savvy

Company was Green Before Term was Coined

Crown Equipment Corp.., the seventh largest lift truck manufacturer in the world and the top brand of electric lift trucks in the U.S., incorporated sustainability practices into its operations before it even knew it was supposed to.

"Crown has been green since before that term was even coined," said Crown Environment and Safety Manager Brian Duffy. "We've been exploring and implementing green practices for decades because there's sound business logic in sustainability. It's good for the environment, for our business and for our customers. It just makes sense." Duffy explained the company's philosophy while accepting the Ohio Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Stewardship.

Here are some highlights of Crown's sustainability efforts:

*Crown installed a powder-coat paint system that uses a solvent-free paint, which is charged electrostatically, sprayed onto metal parts and baked. Excess powder is reclaimed by a sophisticated ventilation system and reused, so almost no paint is wasted.

*Each year, computer-controlled heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several Crown manufacturing plants conserve enough electricity to power 110 U.S. households for a year, and enough natural gas to fuel 520 houses.

*The company is now studying the implications of using fuel cell power packs instead of batteries as the power source on Crown lift trucks. The study is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program.

*Crown further extends the lifespan of its forklifts by remanufacturing pre-owned trucks through the Encore Series, and remanufacturing truck components with the reNEWed program.

*Since 1998, Crown has added more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing space without constructing new facilities. By completing renovations and environmental remediation on existing properties instead of building new structures, Crown conserves land and natural resources.

In addition to managing the energy required to manufacture its products, Crown is currently researching ways to reduce the amount of energy consumed by its forklifts once they are in use at a customer's facility.

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