On this Earth Day, we’re reminded of the environmental impact that vehicles have on the planet and what we as an industry can do to ensure its preservation.
Fortunately, we don’t need to look far for inspiration. The Haartz Corporation, the industry’s leading manufacturer of convertible soft top fabric, has been at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing for many decades.
In fact, Haartz prides itself on being a green company that’s in constant search for new and innovative ways to lessen the environmental impact of its products and operations.
“We are committed to being locally green to our neighbors, community and customers, and maintaining a low CO2 footprint,” said Matthew Williams, director of business development at Haartz.
This Earth-friendly approach to manufacturing has manifested in many ways. Below are six examples:
1. Haartz offers lighter weight variants of its most popular convertible top and truck tonneau cover fabrics, all while maintaining the highest levels of quality. The result is vehicles that weigh less and are more aerodynamic, which improves fuel efficiency.
2. Haartz has completely eliminated its use of chemical finishes containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The organization has also replaced many of its solvent-based coating systems with water-based coating systems, which has significantly reduced the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in its products. Haartz has even introduced bio-based ingredients into the manufacturing of its PVC materials.
3. Haartz has integrated energy reflective materials into some of its convertible top fabrics, which helps reduce the use of air conditioning. Internal testing shows that this technology can decrease cabin air temperature by 10° to 15°F compared to traditional tops, thus placing a lighter workload on the vehicle’s AC system.
4. Haartz has developed select fabrics with optional backing made from recycled materials, without negative effects to their physical durability or performance.
5. Haartz has reduced electricity consumption per yard (kWh/yd) of material produced by 50% when compared to 2010. This was achieved through multiple equipment initiatives and facility improvements, ranging from interior and outdoor lighting systems, drying oven efficiencies, to advances in their emissions control systems.
6. Haartz has developed a dual path approach to product shipments from its Acton facility to many customers globally. Some resource-saving initiatives are, double stacking of freight within a trailer or ocean container so that more can be shipped at one time, reducing the amount of shipments necessary, thereby reducing the impact on the environment. Haartz has also developed “returnable” packaging components that can be used multiple times, also reducing the footprint on the environment by decreasing waste and energy for additional production requirements. Plastic stacking trays substituted in place of wooden skids are one example of this effort.
Through these initiatives, Haartz is setting the standard for what it means to be a successful, eco-friendly manufacturer.
“We are dedicated to providing eco-friendly materials and are encouraged at the efforts the rest of the automotive industry is making to prioritize this as well,” said Williams. “Lightweighting is still critical for automakers in an ongoing effort to improve fuel economy, which is why we continually try to make our materials even lighter without compromising quality.”