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Extrusal and its framework in the circular economy

28 jul 2021Back
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In an interview, João Madail, commercial and marketing director, presents the Extrusal Group and its trajectory and contribution to sustainability and circular economy.

João Madail - Dir. Marketing e Comercial ExtrusalTELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE COMPANY AND THE TRAJECTORY OF IT IN THE MARKET.

It was 1972 when Carlos Lourenço Bóia founded Extrusal in the city of Aveiro. The company, which began operating in 1974, emerged from the perceived need for aluminum window frames (a product already common in Europe) when building its own home. Extrusal specializes in extrusion and surface treatment of aluminum profiles, as well as machining aluminum parts for the industrial sector, and in the development of aluminum systems for the architectural area.

Along with the evolution of the market, Extrusal has always been able to adjust its strategy to respond effectively to the needs of the market. The quality, innovation of its solutions (developed internally or with customers), excellent service and continuous environmental concern are some of the differentiating elements of its products on the market. Product quality and environmental preservation were key points in the entire production process from an early age. As early as 1982, Extrusal had a WWTP in its facilities for treating wastewater with a lower environmental impact.

In terms of quality certification, Extrusal registered the first one in 1995, Qualicoat , concerning anodization. Two years later, 1997, Extrusal was the first national company, and one of the only ones in Europe, to be certified simultaneously in the process of manufacturing dies, extrusion, anodizing and thermo lacquering by the ISO 9002 standard (since 2002 by the NP EN ISO 9001 ). The Environmental Certification was obtained in 2002 and has been renewed today. Currently, Extrusal has the certificate of conformity of the NP EN ISO 9001 standard for the development of Products and Technical Advice, Manufacture of Extrusion Aluminum Profiles, Manufacture of Dies and Machining of Profiles and Parts in Aluminum, Anodizing and Lacquering and Decoration of Profiles, parts and accessories in aluminum. In addition to the NP EN ISO 9001 and NP EN ISO 14001 standards, Extrusal is also accredited by the Qualanod , Qualicoat and Seaside standards .

Regarding the destination of production, Extrusal has experienced major changes over its 49 years of history. In addition to the business areas (Industry vs Architecture) having varied over the years, the fate of production itself has been different. In 2000, direct exports represented only 5% of the business volume, nowadays the foreign market represents around 30% of the business volume, with 30% related to the Architecture sector. It should be noted that Extrusal has logistics centers in Cape Verde, Mozambique and Angola to respond more promptly to local customers.


HOW DO YOU CHARACTERIZE THE COMPANY'S PRODUCTION AND WHAT PRODUCT SEGMENTS DO IT COVER? WANT TO HIGHLIGHT SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR?

Extrusal develops and sells its own systems for Architecture and solutions for Industry, with emphasis on the automotive sector. The development of solutions for Architecture always starts from a previous and exhaustive analysis of the market: what exists, what must be improved and perfected and what does not exist and must be implemented. This analysis involves a team of professionals from various areas (marketing, engineering, environment and commercial) which include, among other things, architectural and construction trends, legislation in force, climate change, environmental impacts, energy efficiency, -being of users and the comfort of the dwellings.

From our product catalog, all our sliding or sliding window and door solutions are subjected to tests and trials for greater thermal, acoustic and AEV performance (air permeability, water tightness and wind resistance). We were one of the pioneers in joining the Class+ labeling system promoted by Adene , and we are proud that all our thermal break window and balcony solutions achieve the A+ rating, the maximum result in terms of efficiency.
Extrusal also presents solutions for architecture that promote the sustainability of housing through its shading and coating systems, the F.016 and F.018 slats.


GIVEN THE GROWING IMPORTANCE ATTRIBUTED TO THE IMPACT OF CONSTRUCTION ON THE ENVIRONMENT, THERE IS AN INCREASING CONCERN ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT OF PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY. IS THIS ALSO A CONCERN OF YOU?

Yes, in fact this is a concern that was born in 1972 and is still very much present today. First of all, it should be noted that our raw material, Aluminum, is infinitely recyclable without losing any properties, which in itself is a great advantage. The environmental footprint of our solutions is smaller compared to other materials, namely PVC.

On the other hand, we are increasingly concerned with incorporating more and more recycled material in the composition of our raw materials.
Furthermore, and contrary to some opinions, for some years now, architectural solutions developed in aluminum have reached the maximum levels of ratings that assess the energy efficiency of systems. Aluminum is, therefore, a material of excellence for being the most economical (short and long term), more durable and resistant, more versatile, less oxidizing and more recyclable. In this way, with regard to the circular economy, the systems developed in aluminum allow a set of actions (maintenance, repair and reuse) for greater sustainability of the planet.


To ensure the high performance of our solutions and contribute to the sustainability of buildings, at the end of 2020 we launched the “Extrusal Certifica” service. This service is a way to ensure the reliability and performance of our systems through correct manufacturing and application on site. With the launch of the Extrusal Certifica service, we aim to reach different audiences. On the one hand, locksmiths, facade designers and installers to whom we offer advice at the factory or on site, training on Extrusal systems in the factory (prototyping and testing section), technical support and conformity analysis of the installed products.


On the other hand, there are architects, builders and end consumers who can request technical support to monitor the fabrication, installation and on-site inspection. A compliance report is always issued and in case of non-compliance, corrective measures are proposed. After the assent of the compliance report, Extrusal awards the “Extrusal Certifica” seal, which guarantees that the final product is applied in accordance with the quality standards and methods tested and recommended by Extrusal. This service presents itself as an added value for those looking for quality at all levels, including the energy performance of the solutions acquired.

However, in our view, our concern should not be limited to our production process and the sustainable solutions we develop. We believe that we are also responsible for instilling in our internal community, partners and customers the importance of the circular economy. As an example, we started 2021 with the campaign “Less plastic, More aluminum” whose message was exactly that. The use and reuse of infinitely recyclable materials were the focus of the message. All employees of the Extrusal Group were offered reusable bottles to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic cups. After 6 months, we noticed a drastic decrease in consumption and a fantastic behavioral change. We can also mention that some customers and local entities applauded and implemented similar measures.


Also this year, Extrusal, in partnership with the Order of Engineers and Architects of Cape Verde, carried out a training action in the country with prescribers where, in addition to the presentation of its systems, topics such as energy efficiency, environment and sustainable construction, in a country that is beginning to show growing concerns in these areas. Contributing to help change the mindset of the population is essential for the consumption of sustainable goods.


WITH A SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AT COMPETITIVE PRICES THAT MEET NEEDS, PROMOTING THE REDUCTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND THE CONSUMPTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, ECO-EFFICIENCY IS ACHIEVED AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY. DO YOU HAVE ANY STRATEGY IN THIS SENSE?

Yes, of course Extrusal has it. The fact that it is accredited by NP EN ISO 14001 means that it has to take a proactive stance in this area. Each year, the goals and objectives defined follow increasingly strict criteria. Extrusal is demanding with itself to respond, thus, in an increasingly assertive way to environmental issues.

 

The Group's strategy is always aimed at offering products and systems with the least possible environmental footprint. There is a concern for the use of renewable energies, reduction and greater efficiency in the consumption of water resources, reduction of waste production, regular analysis of emissions from ETARI and chimneys, optimization and maintenance of equipment layouts for rational energy consumption, consumption of recycled materials, as is the case with paper and cardboard. There is a concern to opt for those who respect good forestry practice to meet the needs of society as a whole.


We can already say that our concern will always be to present solutions based on technological innovation for greater sustainability of the product as well as the production process. We are certain that the implementation of measures aimed at reducing the environmental footprint and investing in the circular economy will promote the sustainable development of companies, as is the case with us. The time has not yet come to disclose our strategy in detail, but we will in due course.

 

THE GOVERNMENT'S STRATEGIC AGENDA FOR 2030 INCLUDES CLIMATE TRANSITION AND RESOURCE SUSTAINABILITY. WILL THIS BE AN INCENTIVE FOR AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR REHABILITATION?

 

Yes, it will certainly encourage an increase in demand for rehabilitation. However, the growing demand for rehabilitation and the ground it has gained in recent years is already evident. The State has been a very important driving force. The reduction of the tax burden and the incentives given from the perspective of housing rehabilitation and making buildings sustainable have been very important factors. The incentives given to replace windows with efficient solutions are an example of this. In addition, “rehabilitation” has been a very popular topic among various entities, the press and universities in particular, boosting its great demand among consumers and construction professionals.


The National Energy and Climate Plan 2030 (PNEC 2030) sets national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, targets for energy consumption from renewable sources and energy efficiency, as well as actions and measures to be taken for decarbonization society and energy transition. We believe that it is possible to achieve the desired results, but that there is still a lot of work ahead. There is a whole behavioral paradigm that has to be reviewed by each of us, consumers and companies. From production to consumption, from life in society where our relationship with production, consumption, energy use is included, to the way in which housing, work and leisure spaces are conceptualized to the way we move, everything has to be analyzed. and sometimes reformulated.


In our view, the State is the agent with the greatest influence to achieve the goals it has set itself. In the first instance, it is responsible for training, informing, supporting institutions, creating incentives and developing infrastructure for the objectives to be achieved. By adopting these measures, the Government will end up being a very important driver for the sector of rehabilitation of spaces. Naturally, these measures must be assimilated and internalized by all entities and institutions, public and private, until reaching the consumer. The awareness of the importance of sustainability, where we include a more sustainable building, will always be the first step to follow.

It should be noted that the younger generations are characterized by behavioral and consumption patterns that are highly oriented towards sustainability and environmental preservation, which in itself is a great advantage for the achievement of the defined goals, in which the demand for the rehabilitation of spaces. Given this scenario, in our view, these measures will be a strong driving force for the rehabilitation of spaces, where, at the same time, the consumer, increasingly aware of sustainability issues, will always opt for the circular economy, which includes the growing demand for rehabilitation of the building.

 

AS TO FUTURE PROJECTS, WHAT PRODUCTS OR SOLUTIONS ARE YOU DEVELOPING?

 

Nowadays, it makes no sense to develop solutions that are not efficient and sustainable. The change in the consumption paradigm that we have witnessed in recent years is clear proof that the path to success involves developing solutions based on sustainability and the circular economy.

Thus, the next solutions included in our catalog will meet the energy efficiency of homes, using methods and technologies whose environmental footprint will be as small as possible. We intend to exceed the expectations of our customers, but in due course we will disclose what we have at the moment.

 

Source: Dossier “Eco-efficiency”, from issue nº 196 of the magazine “Construction Materials” – APCMC

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