Environmental Approach

As climate change due to global warming progresses, the reduction of greenhouse gases such as CO2 is an issue of global proportions. As part of our effort to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities, the Tsubaki Group is implementing concrete initiatives through our voluntary environmental action plan.
Much of the energy used in our manufacturing activities is concentrated in the heat treatment process used to make steel for manufacturing chain parts. Focusing on this point, in addition to introducing an energy efficient heat treatment furnace and improving energy efficiency, we are implementing a number of measures to reduce CO2 such as changing fuel sources from fuel oil to city gas, applying thermal insulation coating to our main factories, using renewable energies like solar power, and employing LED lighting.

Reducing CO2 emissions

The Tsubaki Group's CO2 emissions and intensity (CO2 emissions / net sales) for FYE 2017 are as follows. Increased production resulted in a 0.7% increase in CO2 emissions, while depreciation of the yen resulted in a 2.2-point decrease in intensity.

CO2 emissions

CO2 reduction initiatives at our plants

Saitama Plant — Addition of insulating jackets to heat-treatment furnace

Addition of insulating jackets to heat-treatment furnace

In the manufacturing of chains, the Tsubaki Group's major product, the factor that determines the strength of the final product is the heat treatment process for parts. Our energy use is concentrated on this process. At our Saitama Plant we are making efforts to lift overall energy efficiency by increasing the efficiency of the heat treatment process through measures such as installing insulating jackets on the heat treatment furnace. At the same time, we are also working to reduce electricity use through measures such as applying thermal-insulation coating to the plant walls and installing photovoltaic panels.

Reducing CO2 Emissions

Installation of large-scale solar power generation system in parking lot

The Nagaokakyo Plant has taken a range of different measures to reduce CO2 emissions in accordance with Kyoto Prefecture regulation on greenhouse gas emission prevention measures and Japan’s Act on the Rational Use of Energy. Since the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015, the plant has been taking measures to reduce the wasting of power in relation to production machinery. These measures include visualizing power usage by attaching voltmeters to production machinery, ensuring that power is always turned off after the completion of work, and shortening warm-up operations.
The plant reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 20 tons in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016. However, we expect to reduce CO2 emissions even further by applying the above measures to more equipment.

Improving the Drying Method in the Barrel Finishing Process

Reduction of CO2 emissions and contribution to community through use of bamboo sunshades

Tsubakimoto Custom Chain Co. changed its component drying method in the heat treatment process from thermal drying to centrifugal separation drying and reduced the power usage of this process a significant 99.3% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.
Previously, the belt conveyor system that we used to dry components wasted energy and caused bottlenecks. Regardless of whether or not components were being dried, the power was on permanently. In addition, thermal drying processes take time to complete.
In recent years, the company has been processing components in smaller lots. Consequently, the waiting time that thermal drying entails had become a bigger problem. Aiming to adapt to the smaller lots of components being processed and increase the efficiency of capacity utilization by eliminating the bottlenecks arising from drying processes, we changed from thermal drying based on a belt conveyor system to centrifugal separation drying that uses rotating drums.
As a result, it has become possible to only operate equipment when there are components to process, thereby reducing power consumption dramatically. An added benefit has been the elimination of instances when the wrong type of components are included in the process.

Thailand — Annual reduction of 190 tons of CO2 by planting mangrove trees

Annual reduction of 72 tons of CO2 by planting mangrove trees

Since 2007, Tsubakimoto Automotive (Thailand) has been continually involved in mangrove planting activities. While mangrove forests nurture a rich ecosystem and diverse biodiversity, and absorb large amounts of CO2, in recent years, they have been cut down to facilitate development and are at risk of extinction. Through our activities, approximately 16,200 mangrove trees have been planted over the past 8 years, leading to the absorption of approximately 190 tons of CO2 every year.

Actively Changing Over to LED Lighting

Annual reduction of 72 tons of CO2 by planting mangrove trees

In accordance with the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emission prevention measures and Japan’s Act on the Rational Use of Energy, the Kyotanabe Plant is curbing CO2 emissions and lowering its power use during peak demand periods by reducing the power that the plant uses for lighting, air-conditioning, and manufacturing.
We are introducing light-emitting diode (LED) ceiling lighting, which is steadily reducing the power needed for lighting. In the main factory, replacing 500 metal halide lamps with 200 LED lights has reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 180 tons per year. Moreover, the new lights are brighter, which contributes to safety.
The Kyotanabe Plant will replace the lighting in all factory buildings with LED lights by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. Also, the plant is steadily replacing office buildings’ fluorescent lights with LED lights.

CO2 Reduction Plans and Results

CO2 reductions at the Saitama Plant

The Saitama Plant, which produces automotive timing products and system conveyor products, has the largest CO2 emissions of the group and a pressing need to find countermeasures. For this reason, the plant has been encouraged to systematically reduce its environmental impact.

Plans for reducing CO2 emissions (FYE 2017)
  1. 1. Maintain yearly CO2 emissions below the level of FYE 2016 while striving for final compliance with the Second Planning Period of the Saitama Prefecture Ordinance (reference emissions of 13% or less).
  2. 2.Verify again measures for final compliance with Second Planning Period of the Saitama Prefecture Ordinance (2015–2019), and develop an action plan.
  3. 3. Implement continual improvements to transportation including packaging. 

Reductions in CO2 Emissions

FYE 2016 FYE 2017 Increase/
CO2 emissions (tons of CO2/year) 22,800 23,328 2.3%
CO2 emission intensity (tons of CO2/year) 0.60 0.62 4.5%
CO2 reductions at the Kyotanabe Plant

The Kyotanabe Plant works to reduce its environmental impact by pursuing environmental objectives and a variety of improvement activities involving all employees in keeping with our environmental policy. Furthermore, we bring the importance of environmental conservation to the attention of our affiliates and business partners and ask for their cooperation with our efforts in this area.

Plans for reducing CO2 emissions (FYE2017)
  1. 1. Continue reduction of CO2 emissions by 15% of FYE 2006 levels
    • Continue improving productivity through production innovations at Kyotanabe.
    • Promote energy savings by upgrading equipment and restructuring processes.
    • Establish an updated plan of air conditioning heat source equipment that reduces CO2 emissions.

Reductions in CO2 Emissions

FYE 2016 FYE 2017 Increase/
CO2 emissions (tons of CO2/year) 17,808 17,501 -1.7%
CO2 emission intensity (tons of CO2/1,000,000 yen/year) 1.022 1.013 -0.9%