Responsibility from Horn – when words are followed by deeds
Sustainability is a central component of Paul Horn GmbH`s corporate philosophy. Quality assurance, environmental protection, energy efficiency and safety have always been the focus with regard to products and production.
On the product side, sustainability is particularly evident, for example with the replaceable head and replaceable insert systems. In the case of grooving tools, the range includes inserts with up to six cutting edges that can be used for longer before they need to be replaced. Special and combination tools save process steps and thus also energy, while new substrates and coatings ensure longer tool life, which in turn saves material and energy. In the field of additive manufacturing, 3D-printed cooling attachments are used. Optimised structures ensure stability as well as material savings.
As a manufacturer of precision tools, Horn has a very special responsibility. Fulfilling stringent customer requirements as well as high demands internally in respect of all services and products is a prerequisite for success and thus also for securing the existence of the company. In order to meet these demands, HORN operates a modern quality management system. It includes market-oriented planning as well as the fulfilment of customer quality requirements using all economically justifiable means in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001 and VDA 6.4.
Sustainability in everyday life
Markus Horn: "For us, sustainability is the most natural thing and is an integral part of our everyday life. You encounter this philosophy in all areas at our company. When you go into the production area, it is illuminated by energy-saving LED lights and the coolant is cleaned by filtration systems developed in-house. In this way, the cutting fluid can remain in use for up to ten years. Photovoltaic systems are of course installed on the roofs of the production buildings in Tübingen. In both plants, the production areas are on two levels. The focus is on economical use of the available space. Due to the heavy weight of the machines and equipment, it was not obvious that the use of two levels was feasible."
The headquarters of Paul Horn GmbH in Tübingen. Source: Horn/Sauermann
"Every company is part of society and, in order to secure its future, needs not only turnover and profit, but also the acceptance of the public and society. Irrespective of this, it has always been our attitude, especially as a family business, to live sustainability in all areas," says Markus Horn. Environmental protection is an important corporate goal and an indispensable part of corporate policy. The management system, which was validated in 1997 according to the EC Eco-Audit Regulation 1836/93, was adapted to the requirements of ISO 14001 in 1999 and has been certified since July 2000.
The energy management system applies to all facilities and activities. Those responsible continuously optimise procedures and develop measures to improve energy efficiency.
Sustainability also means ensuring that operations are as resource-efficient as possible, focusing on the expansion of renewable energy sources and the optimisation of existing sources, as well as promoting on-site power generation. For example, modern lighting systems, a combined heat and power unit and photovoltaic systems are already in use and more are planned. All employees are regularly informed about the economical use of energy. The energy management system has been certified according to DIN EN ISO 50001 since 2013.
Insight into modern production at Horn. Source: Horn/Sauermann
The human being in focus
The issue of sustainability must also be considered in relation to the workforce. Long tenures with the company are a hallmark of HORN. It is important to take people with us, to provide them with further qualifications and to prepare them for new challenges and technologies. Within the framework of the HORN Academy, the qualification of employees can be adapted to the requirements within the industry. In addition, the promotion of independence and personal responsibility in the thoughts and actions of all trainees is another important factor in achieving the goals they have set themselves.
The HORN Academy is designated a "Träger nach dem Recht der Arbeitsförderung" (institution according to the law of employment promotion) in accordance with § 178 SGB III. The accredited certification company for the labour market and educational services, CERTQUA, has granted this approval. It is the basic prerequisite for the implementation of retraining measures offered by the HORN Academy. Furthermore, the occupational health and safety of employees also represents an important factor from an economic point of view, which helps to improve the competitiveness of the company. HORN sees it as its task and challenge to question existing methodologies and to develop forward-looking solutions through continuous improvement of occupational health and safety. Issues related to products as well as processes merge here. The focus is on taking into account legal requirements for the occupational health and safety of employees.
The management system at Horn ensures that all organisational, commercial and technical activities that have an impact on quality, the environment, energy efficiency and employee safety are planned, controlled and monitored. In addition, the management system ensures that contractually agreed requirements and the relevant regulations are met. The system is based on the requirements of DIN EN ISO 9001, DIN EN ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and ISO 45001 in their current versions and applies to all phases of product creation. By taking into account the results of internal system audits and periodic reporting on quality, energy efficiency, environmental protection and safety, the management assesses the effectiveness of the management system.
„As a manufacturer of precision tools, Horn has a very special responsibility. Sustainable action, both by a company and by a private individual, is becoming increasingly important and should be a matter of course. Unfortunately, this is often not the case in practice."
Markus Horn, Managing Director, Paul Horn GmbH
Interview with Andreas Loock, head of quality assurance at Paul Horn GmbH
Andreas Loock is head of quality assurance at Horn. Source: Horn/Sauermann
Sustainability has an important place in mechanical engineering – currently more than ever. What are your different perspectives on this topic?
As an environmental and management officer at Paul Horn GmbH, my first focus is on compliance with legal regulations. In addition, securing a long-term cooperation with business partners and employees comes into play. Furthermore, local and regional value creation have priority over everything in this context. Sustainability also includes fairness and ethically correct behaviour, the reduction or avoidance of environmental pollution and energy consumption, as well as the expansion of alternative energy generation and the use of non-fossil energy sources.
Are there any legal frameworks that are relevant currently or in the future?
There are quite a few: the Supply Chain Duty of Care Act, the EU Whistleblowing Directive/Whistleblower Protection Act, the Packaging Act and various international standards. These include, for example, measures to combat bribery and corruption as well as the prevention of antitrust violations, the REACH regulation, conflict minerals, CO2 footprint and the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, to name just a few.
What role do certifications play?
We consider certifications to be important. This enables us to ensure compliance with internationally recognised standards. These include, for example, quality, environmental and energy management systems. The consequence of this is increased customer confidence in our company, especially since the verification of compliance with standards is carried out by third parties.
What expectations do customers have?
Our customers expect sustainable business practices from us. This includes, for example, saving resources and using sustainable materials for products and packaging. In addition, energy and cost efficiency play an important role.
What are the next steps at Horn?
Next, we will further reduce our product carbon footprint. However, those who have lived sustainably in all areas for decades, as we have, find less potential for optimisation today. For example, we are refining our heat recovery systems and air conditioning, expanding the existing solar panels and reviewing new materials for sales packaging.
For more information about Horn, please visit: horn-group.com