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Hilti’s circular focus

9 June 2021

Hilti’s circular focus

Given Hilti’s thorough understanding and comprehensive approach to previous industry challenges like HAV (hand arm vibration) and construction dust, it’s not surprising that the manufacturer is adopting a similarly holistic - and bold - approach to sustainability.

The blog has already covered the Hilti Group’s new sustainability report focused on protecting the environment, people and society with an ambitious  target of reaching CO2 neutrality in its own operations by 2023. 

Walid Hussain, National Tool Hire Manager (UK) with Hilti (Gt. Britain), tells me that there is one concept that encapsulates the company’s thinking in this area, which is ‘circularity’. This focuses on optimising the whole life cycle of scarce resources in the production, use, maintenance, reuse and recycling of equipment. 

“The construction industry is responsible for 60% of raw materials consumed in the UK. So the materials used to make and maintain tools and equipment are an obvious area of focus,” he says. 

“We believe that we are the only power tool manufacturer that directly controls the production, sale, maintenance, repair and end-of-life of what we make, and this puts us in a unique position.” 

Under its existing Fleet Management service, for example, Hilti can collect a tool for repair or maintenance, return it within three days and exchange it for the latest version at the end of the contract period. 

“This ensures we maximise the life of the tool,” says Walid. “This also gives the greatest workplace productivity and increases efficiency.  At the end of the ideal lifetime of a tool the individual high-quality components can be used as spare parts in repair. In addition, we recycle the materials in tools when they have reached the end of their working life.

"This way, we also ensure that important raw materials like steel, copper and aluminium re-enter the value chain. Using equipment that is in peak condition also has Health & Safety benefits.” 

For Walid, circularity is a more holistic concept as it focuses on the whole lifespan of equipment. He cites the petrol cut-off saw as a prime example. 

“There are literally thousands of these tools in hire fleets throughout the country. They are used intensively and some hirers have a policy of disposing of them rather than repairing them. According to some companies, that could mean as many as 10% being auctioned off or simply scrapped, which is environmentally unacceptable. 

“Hilti tools can be repaired at our central facility and back in action quickly, maximising their life and giving the greatest product lifetime.” 

I’ll be looking at other aspects of Hilti’s sustainability initiatives in future blog posts. 

Picture shows a Hilti petrol saw in for repair at one of the manufacturer's service centres.

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