Climate change is among the most pressing challenges faced by businesses today. Our planet and its people are already feeling the effects of long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns. To preserve the environment for future generations, we must closely examine how our business practices either contribute to or help alleviate the issue.
Ulbrich is a fourth-generation family business that's not only survived but thrived because, for almost 100 years, we've prioritized preserving and creating value. And we believe that a business model that emphasizes sustainability will only contribute to the long-term success of our company.
That's why all our locations have implemented sustainability measures to sufficiently use raw materials and energy, avoid waste whenever possible, and offer our employees and stakeholders a socially fair environment.
Ulbrich of Austria, one of the newest divisions in our Specialty Wire Group, has been at the forefront of our sustainability efforts. Located in Müllendorf, Ulbrich of Austria has transformed from a highly automated standard ribbon supplier for the solar industry to a specialist in niche crystalline technologies and special wire manufacturer for other applications including batteries, RF cables and medical devices. Their commitment to sustainable products and production while undergoing this transformation further proves that environmental responsibility and business growth aren't mutually exclusive.
Ulbrich of Austria's 2022 Sustainability Report
As the old business adage goes, "what gets measured, gets managed."
Ulbrich of Austria has created its first sustainability report to measure and communicate its environmental performance and impact.
Within the report, Ulbrich of Austria details how their products and applications, energy usage, production processes, waste management, and social responsibility practices contribute to the sustainability of their business.
Keep reading below for highlights from each section or click here to download the full report.
Products and Applications
Several of Ulbrich of Austria's core products help our customers improve electrical efficiencies and reduce their carbon footprint.
For decades, Ulbrich has supplied the solar and photovoltaic industry with PV ribbon technologies and other innovative solutions that increase solar modules' electrical output and performance. The goal is to help solar module manufacturers produce more efficient modules using the same amount of resources. Our photovoltaic products consist of round or rolled copper wires with hot-dipped solder coating. Ulbrich of Austria has developed and offers a broad range of power-enhancing and unique PV products like Black Ready Ribbon (BRR), Light Capturing Ribbon (LCR™), and Multi-Tabbing Wire (MTW).
Additionally, Ulbrich offers battery wire products that help our customers increase efficiency. Ulbrich's core competence is rolling our battery tab and bonding wire products from the highest-quality round wire. This unique rolling process allows us to achieve round edges on our tab products to avoid damaging the separator in the battery cell. We special-clean our burr-free battery tab wire to remove any loose particles from the surface. No burrs and loose surface particles mean fewer short circuits and better battery cell performance.
Additional products covered in the report include flexible flat cables, RF cables, round, flat and shaped wire for medical applications, and consumer products like razor blades, lighters, and guitar strings.
Consideration is also given to recyclable components as many of our products and applications use valuable raw materials.
Ulbrich of Austria is committed to responsibly utilizing its resources.
Ulbrich exclusively uses electrical energy to produce goods, and no fossil fuels are used for wire treatment. 100% of the electricity purchased is from renewable sources. Energy suppliers have granted Ulbrich Ecological certifications. Furthermore, Ulbrich has installed a PV system on the rooftop of its shop floor. The modules for this system are from regional production. Any electrical power produced by these PV modules is used by the company or fed into the regional grid.
The main water demand is for the rolling process, as water is required for cooling and lubrication purposes. In 2015, Ulbrich launched a project to reduce the amount of water used to cool the tinning line by installing a cooling system. This helped to save water usage by nearly 20%.
90-100% of the raw materials used by Ulbrich of Austria are sourced in Europe. Sourcing across shorter distances helps to reduce emissions and increase flexibility for our customers. Ulbrich's purchasing strategy aims to use full truckloads whenever possible.
Due to a recycling rate of 100%, process scrap is not seen as waste but as recyclable materials. The process scrap is sorted into different materials like copper, aluminum, nickel, and other solder-coated materials. All materials are sold to partners for recycling.
Solder scrap also has a recycling rate of 100%. A very special low melting solder alloy (Sn/In) can even be re-processed and reused in-house.
Respecting Human Rights and promoting sustainable business practices across the entire value chain are main factors considered when selecting a supplier. Ulbrich prefers local or regional suppliers as they understand and uphold social and environmental standards and treat all workers with fairness, decency, and respect.
To learn more about Ulbrich of Austria’s sustainability efforts, download the full report.