This is the Victorinox factory in Ibach, Switzerland. We've been makes knives and tools here since 1884. Swiss army knives, multi-tools, household kitchen knives, professional chefs knives; we make a lot of knives here.
My name is Yvonne, I have worked as a receptionist at the factory for 4 years. Mr. Elsener runs Victorinox. Mr. Elsener great-grandfather started the business and the company has always been run by the Elsener family. They asked me to tell you the story of inventiveness and the science behind how this big factory only uses as much heating oil as this family apartment. Plus how this home along with 114 others is heated by an innovative heat recovery system in the Victorinox factory.
First off, let's meet Mr. Erwin Muller, our head of production. Victorinox has always believed sustainability is important to the manufacturing process.
This is my father, Reini. Hello, I'm the head of the stamping process. I've been working here for 44 years.
The first stage of our knife production process is to stamp out blades or depart from the raw materials. We do this with steel stamping machines and the waste is given back to the supplier for new steel production. The next stage is to harden the blades. Our ovens have a temperature of 1050 degrees Celsius. Our final two stages are grinding and polishing the surfaces of the blade to give them their correct final dimensions.
The grinding, polishing, and hardening processes produce a lot of heat. So we use water from our closed water system to keep the machines cool. The grinding and polishing processes produce a steelened water sludge. We filter out the steel and press it with very high pressure into cubes. Then we give the cubes back to the steel supplier. So in the factory we have absolutely no steel waste.
The steel sludge recycling process is one of the most innovative things Victorinox has invented in 1980 when my father has worded here 12 years. Since then we have recycled several thousand tons of steel. We need a lot of electricity to power the machines, so we buy environmentally friendly electricity from a hydroelectric power station close to the factory.
We recycle the leftover cooling water also. It comes out warm so we use it to heat the factory and provide warm water for our showers, restrooms, and 114 homes nearby. We are proud that our factory only uses as much heating oil as a family home, and that thanks to our sustainable process the carbon footprint of a Swiss army knife is similar to your toast at breakfast.
Victorinox encourages all its employees to take a passionate approach to recycling and saving energy. We all take the inventive spirit of Victorinox home with us.
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