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ARCOL implements a “Rethink Waste” initiative and gains a competitive edge

ARCOL Resistors has implemented a programme of waste-reduction initiatives and resource-efficiency improvements designed to make the business more environmentally-friendly and ultra-efficient.

As a UK manufacturer of power resistors, ARCOL competes with low-cost products manufactured in developing countries with low labour rates.  ARCOL need to maintain their competitive edge and one of the benefits of the environmentally-friendly approach is improved efficiency – essential in today’s challenging market conditions.

Alun Morgan, ARCOL’s Technical Director commented “Cost-savings are crucial to our long-term competitiveness. We aim to continue our rethink waste initiative as an ongoing programme of environmental and production-efficiency improvements”.

ARCOL has implemented the initiatives across all three areas of their business: the office; the press shop; and the main production area.

In the office, every employee has two bins at their side: one for paper and one for general waste. The office printers are set to print double-sided by default and any unused printouts are bound together to use as notepads for internal use. A barcode system used on the product traceability records has resulted in a 70% reduction of paper. The accounts department has moved over to a paperless invoicing and payment system.

In the press shop, aluminium bars are bought in to be cut-up, ready to be used in the main production area. The cardboard and plastic packaging is segregated and recycled. A water-based cutting lubricant has replaced the previous oil-based material, so that the waste aluminium can be sold and recycled. Future plans include cutting methods that reduce or even eliminate the aluminium waste.

In the main production area, fewer plastic bags are now used to bag the finished components. Investment in a new industrial printer has resulted in a reduction of compressed air usage – from 9.0 to 0.5 cfm. Investment in the processing of resins in the production process has resulted in a 40% reduction of resin waste. Future plans include recycling heat energy from the production processes, offering reduced energy bills.

The result has been a reduction of the landfill output from three 1100L wheelie-bins a week to just one. The efficiency savings have enabled ARCOL to retain and even improve their competitive edge in tough worldwide economic conditions.

A background to ARCOL Resistors

ARCOL Resistors is a UK manufacturer of power resistors. It has been business since 1952 and has a customer base which extends throughout the world.

With a strong reputation and well-known brand name in the worldwide electronics marketplace, it has complete control of its own manufacturing processes, utilising a good level of automation within its production facilities.

ARCOL’s dynamic hub, located in England’s thriving South West, is an integral part of the secret of its success. A single location houses every process, from design and purchasing to manufacture, production and sales.

ARCOL prides itself on quality – it’s part of the heritage. ARCOL is fully-compliant with a host of quality standards – it is ISO 9001 approved and every range of resistors is fully RoHS compliant.

Materials and products are sourced from all over the world. Each one is made to the highest specification. Each one undergoes rigorous quality testing on site. Every step of the process at ARCOL is rooted in quality.

With its first-class financial management, ARCOL has a number of current strategic growth plans which include:

•   Building an extension to the main production facility
•   A new business system upgrade