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Hiab’s sustainability work contributes to the transformation of the logistics industry and provides the customers with a competitive edge

News | 8 december 2021 10:21 AM

Sustainability is an integral part of Hiab’s operation and the company is at the forefront of driving the transition of the logistics and transport sector to more sustainable practices.

One of their sustainability objectives is to halve their climate impact by 2030 to keep within the 1.5-degree target set by the Science Based Targets Initiative, SBTi. Through efforts such as alternative materials, smart digital solutions and long-term collaborations, Hiab is raising the bar for the future of sustainable logistics flow.

“Above all, we are focusing on a collective effort along the whole value chain,” says Tobias Bunne, Sustainability Director at Hiab. “As a strong technology-driven company, we believe we can approach the targets by putting customer data and technical innovation into a larger perspective. Hiab is considered to be a premium brand in its sector, and it is important for us to be one of the leading companies in driving sustainable development forward. In step one, we are rapidly switching our portfolio over to the next generation of electric powered units. This is about anticipating new laws and requirements, stricter standards and creating clear competitive advantages for our customers.” The vast majority of Hiab's products are already compatible with electric trucks.

Reducing the business's total climate impact by at least 50 percent from 2019 through to 2030, regardless of growth, is not a minor commitment. “Internally, we are no longer talking about a challenge, this is so much bigger than that,” Tobias continues. “This is a cultural transition, we call it ‘Mission Climate.’ Hiab is now investing heavily into researching new technologies and alternative materials in order to increase the efficiency of the product portfolio significantly in step two.

Hiab is a pioneer in electrification in the sector and their electrical solutions are not only better for the climate, they also provide other values. “Typically our new electric load handling solutions provide many advantages in addition to a reduced climate impact, for example, lower noise levels and greater safety, says Mattias Berglund, Director, Global Product Management, Special Applications and Digital Products at Hiab. We have many customers who deliver goods at night to avoid emissions and queues. In which case, it is crucial to take into account the noise level during the development of our products. In addition, our electric solutions are more cost-effective, when we look at the entire life cycle. Today, we see sustainability in a broader perspective than was generally the case just two or three years ago.”

Raising the industry standard for sustainable development
Tobias says that the greatest climate impact from Hiab's operations happens at the customer. Generally speaking, all of Hiab's products are installed on a truck that typically runs on diesel, and the climate impact in the use phase accounts for over 70 percent of Hiab’s total emissions.

Hiab is behind both the world's first all-electric truck-mounted forklift launched in 2012 and a new electric model that was launched last year, both under the MOFFETT brand. In 2014, the company also launched the world's first electric loader crane, the HIAB X-HiPro 192 ePTO. For these innovations, Hiab has won both the "Oscars of intralogistics" IFOY AWARD, and the John Connell Awards for Silent Approach presented by the UK Noise Abatement Society.

Almost a quarter of Hiab's total climate emissions are due to the materials used in the manufacturing phase. 

Earlier in the year, Hiab also launched a new electric roller crane, allowing the crane to move along rails on the platform so you can place the crane where it is most useful for the task. Mattias points out that the total ownership cost will be lower than the equivalent diesel model, both because it can be electrically charged and has reduced service costs. "Technically, we have come a long way, the next major challenge is steel, which is a heavy and energy-intensive material to manufacture. For this reason, we have entered into a collaboration with SSAB, which, in the Hybrit project, is developing fossil-free steel."

Tobias continues: “This is all about a collective and joint total transformation of the logistics and transport sector. We are determined to contribute to this and to help our customers make the right decision. Sustainability is not just about lowering the carbon dioxide levels – it is a whole. In this context, Hiab is actively offering solutions that optimise the time needed, reduce the handling work and last in the long-term, for a profitable investment. We have over 10,000 connected units, to give us an idea of the energy consumption and to enable us to increase the energy efficiency of our solutions further.”

Research and product development at the forefront
Part of Hiab's customer promise is to invest in research, which is why they are pursuing several research projects together with important universities and major companies in advanced electronics and hydraulics. Electrification to break the dependence on diesel is fundamental, but in the long run, increasing energy efficiency and optimisation of movement are absolutely crucial. For this reason, Hiab is investing heavily in automation and machine learning and has, among other things, co-financed projects with the European Commission.
“We are convinced that we need to work together across industries, if we are to succeed in achieving our common climate goals. We have a unique co-operative environment and pool of competence to pursue the innovation needed. For this reason, Hiab is investing heavily in R&D and e.g. its prototype and laboratory businesses. For instance, we are now looking at a test bed for the electrification of advanced load equipment,” says Tobias.

“We know that we can create a more sustainable future, and we welcome clearer requirements from large structural customers and the public sector,” Mattias concludes.

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