More industries are turning their attention to sustainable manufacturing practices than ever before. There are many reasons why this is such an important issue. Sustainability is central to everything from striving for carbon neutrality to ensuring businesses are fit for the future. Here at Lionweld Kennedy, we are constantly looking for ways to develop our manufacturing methods to ensure the l environmental impact is minimised. We are continually optimising the manufacturing of our steel grating and other access products so we can reduce carbon emissions and achieve our target of being a Net Zero business by 2040. We’ll look at why sustainable manufacturing is more important than ever and how it can be achieved.

What is Sustainable Manufacturing?

Sustainable manufacturing, also referred to as green manufacturing, is defined as a manufacturing method that produces minimal waste and has a reduced environmental impact. This includes the materials used to make the products and the manufacturing process itself, including planning, design, and the lifespan of the final product. Over 75% of manufacturers have listed carbon neutrality as one of their top three business objectives for the future. Sustainability can benefit your business in multiple ways, including reducing production costs and boosting your reputation as a responsible brand. Modern technology has enabled many developments in the manufacturing process in the past decade.

Why is Manufacturing Sustainability Important?

With more businesses focusing on sustainability, the advances that are being made are more significant than ever. The Paris Agreement, put in place by the United Nations, is a legally binding international treaty to hold large corporations accountable for tackling climate change by lowering their carbon emissions. Global leaders have stressed the importance of reducing the accelerated rate of global warming as much as possible by the end of the century. They aim to limit the planet’s temperature increase to 1.5°C but to achieve this, carbon emissions must decline by at least 43% by 2040.

Lionweld Kennedy are part of global PLC, Hill & Smith, and as a Group we have committed to becoming Net Zero by 2040; a target that Lionweld Kennedy are ahead of schedule to achieve.

How to Achieve a More Sustainable Manufacturing Process

Trying to achieve as sustainable a manufacturing process as possible can prove challenging, depending on the type of business and the products being produced. However, some key steps must be followed if you are aiming for greater sustainability. 

Limit Your Fossil Fuel Usage

Fossil fuels are the world’s leading contributor to carbon emissions. Reducing their use in your manufacturing wherever possible is essential for improving sustainability. For some businesses, fossil fuels are a necessary element of their manufacturing process, so seeking alternative fuel sources and maximising the use of fossil fuels you require will help to reduce carbon emissions.

In 2022, Lionweld switched over to hydrogenated vegetable oil as the only fuel source to heat our factory, resulting in a 90% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the diesel previously used. In addition, in Q1 2023, we have installed a 300kWp solar PV system at our Middlesbrough site, which will produce an estimated 300kWh of on-site generated electricity each year, with an estimated 95% usage on site. This will see our carbon emissions reduce by approximately 70 tonnes annually!

Reduce Waste

Tackling waste is another important part of sustainability. As fuel and resources are becoming increasingly expensive, utilising them as much as possible can not only help to reduce the cost of your product production but also minimise waste. Investing in better machinery and other manufacturing equipment can help you get the most out of your materials. Lionweld Kennedy’s experienced team always seeks to maximise the available materials and minimise scrap levels wherever possible. 

Minimise Your Pollutants

When it comes to manufacturing materials, some are more harmful to the environment than others. When considering sustainability, it is important to look at where your materials come from and what they are made of. If they are known pollutants, this can negatively impact your business’ level of manufacturing sustainability.

Reuse & Recycle Wherever Possible

Depending on the kind of materials you use to manufacture your products, there may be an opportunity to recycle the cut offs. As steel is an infinitely recyclable material, all of our scrap metal – on average 95 tonnes a month – is recycled. Minimising waste in the production process can save you in long term costs. Considering energy recycling is also a great way to improve sustainability and cut costs. 

Look at Reducing Your Product Production Time

The longer your manufacturing process takes, the longer you are using resources and the faster you’ll make your way through materials. Looking at ways you can optimise your production process to reduce the time it takes will make your business more efficient and help you use fewer resources, improving sustainability.

At Lionweld Kennedy we have recently finalised a series of design changes made to our range of Safegrid products, resulting in a reduction of raw materials required and, as a consequence of this a reduction in production time. These design changes have created the most efficient flooring specification possible to meet the loading and ball proof requirements of the British and European standards.

How is Lionweld Kennedy Becoming More Sustainable?

Safety flooring can be made of one of two products, either GRP or steel. High quality safety flooring is a more sustainable option by default due to its longer lifespan. It is designed and built to last, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it more regularly. We are committed to becoming a more sustainable organisation and continuing to look at ways we can improve our manufacturing process to have minimal impact on the environment. 

Lionweld has been manufacturing steel access products for over 100 years and we are more committed than ever to protecting the world we live in through implementing the Hill & Smith ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) strategy. We are working hard to ensure that sustainability is woven into everything we do. Our carbon reduction plan has seen us achieve a number of sustainable initiatives, resulting in a 76% reduction in carbon emissions (670 tonnes CO2e in 2021, reducing to 160 tonnes CO2e in 2022). Read more about our Carbon Reduction Plan.

We aim to be not only the industry leader for steel access products but also in our sustainability practices. 

Lionweld Kennedy have recently obtained the world’s first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for steel grating!

As part of efforts to lead a better change within the industry and raise the standards as a leader, obtaining our EPD for our low-carbon, infinitely recyclable Safegrid products cements our commitment to our ESG plan and becoming a more sustainable business. Transparently displaying the environmental performance of our product throughout its entire lifespan allows customers to make a more sustainable choice when reviewing their supply chain. Securing an EPD for Safegrid allows Lionweld Kennedy to once again set the benchmark for steel manufacturing worldwide due to us being the first, and only, steel flooring manufacturer to receive an EPD!


If you would like to learn more about our EPD and the immense value it provides for our customers and the supply chain, click here.

Related Articles:

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Steel Grating: A technical guide to our most popular access product

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