Sustainability has always been a top priority for MOTOREX. For a producer of chemical engineering products, this creates something of a dichotomy. MOTOREX has taken the initiative by developing solutions that deliver a compelling combination of technical innovation and sustainability. Edi Fischer, CEO of MOTOREX, shows us how multi-layered these measures are.
Sustainability is a multi-faceted concept. How is it interpreted at MOTOREX?
Sustainability requires a balancing of environmental, economic, and social needs for today and the future. At MOTOREX, sustainability means we continually assess the interests of future generations and of the environment and ensure that they influence our actions. To be able to attract the best employees, for example, we have to practice a corporate culture that takes the whole person into account. And with high-quality products we can have a positive impact on the service life, emissions, and energy consumption of vehicles.
How does sustainability show up in the MOTOREX product range?
For decades, we have been developing products that meet the most stringent technical requirements as well as demands for sustainability. We have that ability thanks to our comprehensive research and development capacity. Our product development is driven by three sustainability factors:
Biodegradability of products
In terms of technical dependability and durability, today’s readily biodegradable products are at least equal if not superior to conventional ones. One important product category is hydraulic fluids based on renewable raw materials, like MOTOREX Ecosynt HEES. Our Bike Line range of bicycle care products, launched in 2000, likewise consists almost entirely of biodegradable products.
Health and safety in use
Many metal manufacturing enterprises these days work with innovative, exceptionally gentle MOTOREX machining fluids. As a result, we have been able to curb problems such as skin irritation, which used to be an everyday issue. And it’s possible to achieve cost savings at the same time, as the Swisscare Management System demonstrates.
Reduced fuel consumption and emissions
The lower the viscosity of engine and transmission oils, the lower the friction resistance and energy consumption. The challenge is to keep the engine well-protected and running smoothly with long service intervals even when using a thin SAE 0W-X viscosity product. It may seem astonishing, but much of our success in this regard can be traced to our involvement in motor racing. Racing tests the limits of what’s feasible, and what we learn there we apply in our products.
What is MOTOREX’s stance on electric vehicles, which are seen as particularly sustainable in the political sphere?
Experts disagree whether electric vehicles should already be seen as sustainable or ever will be in the future. The fact is that the political leadership throughout Europe feels they’re worth supporting. Issues like how much electric vehicles should contribute to funding road maintenance remain unresolved. We think the future will see a mix of different drive systems. Electric and hydrogen-powered systems will join gasoline and diesel engines along with vehicles powered by CO2-friendly synthetic fuels or natural gas. Lubrication and cooling challenges will persist and will remain an area where we have a role to play.
How does MOTOREX pursue sustainability at its own plants?
MOTOREX is implementing ongoing measures to reduce energy consumption (CO2 certificates), prevent waste, and improve the quality of the workplace. We go far beyond the requirements prescribed by law or standards like ISO 14001. One big step was installing a sophisticated pigging system at our production plant in Langenthal, where product lines are rinsed and cleaned using a rubber plug. The system has cut industry-typical losses from flushing processes by 80 %. Since installing a 900 square meter solar array on the new building in Langenthal we’ve been using our own solar electricity for production. Sustainable improvement is the sum total of lots of small steps.
Do upstream and downstream companies get involved as well?
Suppliers play an essential role and are periodically audited and assessed according to a broad range of criteria. When purchasing base oils, such as renewable plant-based products, we require suppliers to furnish documentation from a recognized auditing firm. We also exert influence on deliveries – whenever possible, MOTOREX ships by rail. Well over 50 % of our volume is delivered via our own rail spur in Langenthal or by intermodal transport. We work very closely with our packaging material suppliers. Just recently we began using recycled plastic oil bottles, though so far still in limited quantities. They’re a welcome alternative that MOTOREX began using right away for selected products.
MOTOREX is committed to quality and long-term thinking. What does that have to do with sustainability?
As a Swiss family business for over 100 years, we’ve always pursued a long-term strategy. Top product quality is a key success factor. One example: biodegradable hydraulic fluids can be used about five times longer than mineral oil-based fluids. That approach probably means we sell less in the short run, but we offer customers a more economical solution in the long term. Demand for resources is lower and the percentage of renewable base oils is higher. We win new customers and have the means to further advance our development work. It’s a win for both sides.
MOTOREX has production sites in Switzerland, in France, and in Poland. Why is that?
Many of our longtime customers have experienced growth in recent years, opening plants, workshops, and construction sites throughout Europe. Our three well-situated plants bring us closer to our customers and shorten supply lines. Our network makes it possible to fill machines at the factory with the customer’s choice of a specific product, for example. That simplifies processes and conserves resources. You could say that MOTOREX has grown alongside our customers over the years.
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