Italian roasting manufacturer Brambati is implementing Ecodesign into its manufacturing processes to reduce its environmental footprint from the inside out.
In the international coffee industry, sustainability has become a major focus across all levels of the supply chain. The push for a greener future has manifested in many forms, including an increase in demand for reusable or recycled cups, businesses choosing to adopt solar power, and the development of more biodegradable products.
For coffee roasting businesses, due to the nature of the heavy machinery involved, finding methods to reduce energy use and emissions can be challenging.
As such, Italian coffee roasting equipment manufacturer Brambati is taking an introspective approach to improving its machinery and manufacturing processes called Ecodesign – a movement founded on the notion that all people and businesses should contribute to a sustainable future.
“Ecodesign is about product improvement and innovation that is made with the intention of caring for the environment. We decided to analyse existing, established projects that we had with the intent to apply modern solutions to them,” says Fabrizio Brambati, President of Brambati Spa.
“We found that we could create more environmentally sound solutions to some of the older processes and machines we were using, even though they were already working satisfactorily. The result of taking this approach has made our machinery more sustainable, while also reducing production costs.”
Brambati was born shortly after World War II and began manufacturing coffee roasting equipment about 40 years ago. Over time, the company expanded to begin manufacturing equipment used in the pasta, confectionary, plastic, and chemical industries.
According to Fabrizio, as a company with deep roots in the manufacturing industry, it is important to continually review its processes.
“The greater initial effort the company goes to, both economic and temporal, the greater the reward. The more we invest into Ecodesign, the lower the energy consumption, emissions, costs of operation, and number of spare parts that go to waste,” he says.
“This all adds up to less environmental impact and the pleasantly surprising fact that doing things sustainably is actually economically beneficial.”
Among the key examples of Ecodesign and its ability to reduce waste is the manufacturing of levers known as “swinging arms”, 23-kilogram pieces of metal used in Brambati’s grinding equipment.
The swinging arms were made in lots of 18 from 670-kilogram metal sheets. During the production process, 256 kilograms, or 38 per cent of each metal sheet, would go to waste.
After adopting the Ecodesign approach, Brambati made a slight modification to the swinging arm’s design, increasing production capacity to 20 swinging arms per metal sheet. This reduced 46 kilograms of wasted metal each time.
“Technology has evolved over time and so has our awareness about the way emissions and waste impact the environment. It’s important we harness this evolution of technology and use it to help us become more efficient and less wasteful,” Fabrizio says.
Brambati is implementing its Ecodesign mentality into its small mechanical parts too. This includes anti-vibrators, also known commonly as cylindrical mounts or bobbin mounts. These are small vulcanised pieces of rubber and steel used in machines to suppress vibration, shock, and noise.
“In traditional anti-vibrators, the steel and rubber are fused together. It can be very difficult and expensive to separate one from the other to recycle,” Fabrizio says.
“We have reviewed our anti-vibrators with Ecodesign to use rubber sheets that detach easily from the steel. This means once the anti-vibrators are at the end of their life, recycling becomes far easier and cheaper.”
In addition to reviewing its internal processes through the lens of Ecodesign, Brambati has invested into its research and development to offer environmentally beneficial options for its roasters.
“We have objectively evaluated our manufacturing methods and roaster designs to explore possible alternatives that offer the best ecological solutions,” Fabrizio says.
Its catalogue of roasters spans from specialty coffee style roasters that process 20 kilograms of beans per hour to commercial high-capacity machines that can process up to 3000 kilograms per hour.
Its most popular styles of roaster are the KAR and BR series, both of which can now be purchased as an ECO model. This means the roaster is supplied with a high-efficiency after-burner, which reduces emissions and odours created during the roasting process.
“We tried to implement a more sustainable option into our current range of roasters, so we developed the ECO model. The roasters operate at the same level of performance, but emissions and energy consumption are reduced,” Fabrizio says.
Brambati’s KAR series are more traditional style roasters, while the BR series are fully automated and give customers more control over the roast.
“The BR model roasters are very sophisticated. The machines use state-of-the-art technology. The user has a lot of tools, both during the roasting and later in the post-analysis phase, to understand which parameters to intervene and adjust to achieve the desired quality of the final product,” Fabrizio says.
“This fine-tuning can be performed in real-time during the roasting process or later, during the post-roasting analysis phase. Only a fully integrated system allows this level of flexibility.”
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), coffee roasting generates carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds like methane.
To minimise the impact its roasters have on the environment, Brambati has developed an eco-friendly model for its customers with the option to install a catalytic converter to their roaster.
A catalytic converter is an exhaust-control device that became popular in the American automotive industry in 1975, after the EPA imposed stricter regulations on car emissions.
Catalytic converters have become popular in manufacturing and other industries, with Brambati harnessing the technology to reduce the fumes released from its roaster’s exhaust during the roasting process.
Brambati’s commitment to sustainability earned the company a Silver Certificate in October 2019 from EcoVadis, an independent company which evaluates sustainability and the corporate responsibility in global supply chains.
“Brambati is focusing on Ecodesign and will continue to do so because we believe that sustainability and respect for the environment is a path that needs to be taken immediately,” Fabrizio says.
“We should all be aware of how real and important these issues are. This is why personally, as users and consumers, and professionally, as a manufacturer of machinery and plants, we at Brambati are reducing our environmental footprint internally and through our products.”
This article appears in the April 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.
For more information, visit www.brambati.it