In this podcast, EE World spoke with Ralf Klädtke to learn how TE Connectivity trains its engineers to look for sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.
Sustainability. Many companies embrace it to do more than reduce energy costs. They see sustainability as a way to reduce waste, save water, and reduce carbon emissions along the supply chain. Surely, some companies will talk sustainability because it sounds good while others take it seriously.
In the podcast, Ralf Klädtke, CTO, Transportation Solutions at TE Connectivity explains how the company looks at sustainability starting with design. Indeed, the company now trains its design engineers to investigate new materials and manufacturing processes that move the company towards carbon neutrality.
For example, TE Connectivity replaced some electroplating — using 3D printing to deposit metals on its connectors. While connectors typically employ copper as a base, it’s often coated with other metals such as gold, tin zinc, and zinc nickel.
Klädtke spoke of sustainability across the entire supply chain. For example, reducing the weight of products by designing with lighter resins decreases a vehicle’s weight, but also transportation costs and carbon emissions.
Sustainability, however, comes at a price. Sustainable parts can be more expensive than those made with traditional materials and processes. That’s typical; new technologies usually cost more until economies of scale kick in. Price-sensitive industries such as consumer and automotive may resist higher prices but, as Klädtke noted, the automotive industry is focused on sustainability.