Effective Use of Resources
To cope with resource shortages caused by increasing populations, the circular economy is a concept that aims to generate profits using end-of-life resources and discarded materials involving drastic changes to socio-economics at the level of design and business models to enable a linear system of circulation at various levels from production to disposal.
Daikin is reinforcing its global repair system, product designs that are easily recyclable, product and packaging material resource conservation, as well as the recycling and reduction of waste emitted during production processes, in order to use resources more efficiently.
Daikin Industries, Ltd. strives to use resources as effectively as possible by carrying out the 3Rs—reducing, reusing, and recycling—along with repairing under its 3R & Repair initiative.
This initiative plays a key role in our product design and development. Based on product assessment, we design and develop products that are smaller and lighter, have fewer numbers of parts and screws, and that use materials and construction that make them easy to maintain, separate, and recycle.
|Reduce||Make products smaller and lighter, Use recycled materials
Use of existing product bodies and pipes
|Reuse||Use parts from end-of-life products|
|Recycle||Development||Design products that are easy to separate and recycle
|After use||Recycle end-of-life products|
|Repair||Development||Design products that are easy to maintain|
|After sales||Have a repair support system that contributes to long-lasting products|
Product design stresses 3R & Repair based on product assessment. Since 1997, we have designed products so that their construction makes them easy to disassemble.
Making products smaller and lighter means they will use fewer resources. When making air conditioners, for each product we set weight reduction targets for both the entire product and its components. However, it is technically difficult to achieve this without sacrificing energy efficiency. If making it smaller and lighter means that it consumes more energy, then the product's environmental performance throughout the entire lifecycle has not yet been improved.
When Daikin Industries, Ltd. develops new products, we establish weight reduction targets for each product on the condition that the annual performance factor (APF) does not decrease.
We offer the retrofit system, a maintenance service that improves air conditioner performance by replacing only the control panel, which serves as the brains of an air conditioner, and the compressor, or the heart of an air conditioner, with new components, for multi-split type air conditioners for commercial buildings in use. By replacing parts with new ones, not only is energy efficiency improved, but replacing only the parts that need it serves to reduce the weight of replacement parts by about one-third compared to replacing the entire air conditioner with a new one.
Continued from the previous fiscal year, in fiscal 2020, we expanded the models of air conditioners eligible for the retrofit system. Going forward, we will continue to increase the number of eligible models and strive to conserve the use of resources in products and parts.
Daikin strives to reduce the usage of packaging for air conditioners from the perspectives of thinner designs, and reduction of components and cardboard area.
In fiscal 2020, we set a reduction target of 4% compared to fiscal 2016. The distribution and development departments together collaborated with overseas production bases and switched the transport position of individual BS units required for the installation of multi-split type air conditioners for commercial buildings to vertical. This reduced the amount of packaging materials used by 26% to reach the annual target as well as improved the load efficiency of containers during transport.
An example of working with outside partners is collaboration with distribution businesses and cardboard suppliers in reducing of thickness in the packaging cardboard for the outdoor unit of residential air conditioner Urusara X series. Particularly, since the upper packaging material for the product is heavy and requires a vacuum lift when loading was improved to better withstand lifting, the use of a thinner cardboard became possible.
In overseas bases, the pallet loading efficiency was increased by 33% and the amount of packaging materials used was also decreased by downsizing the bottom tray used in the commercial outdoor unit made in Thailand. At the same time, the cargo handling efficiency was also improved.
We worked collaboratively with Oji Container Co., Ltd. in fiscal 2020 to design and develop an all cardboard packaging for the panels used in the commercial grade non-watering humidifier unit, Ururu Unit. With a simple structure in which cushioning materials that require no attachment are placed at the four corners of the telescope-shaped outer box, the front, back, left, right, top, and bottom of the product can be effectively cushioned and protected. This packaging won an Industrial Packaging Award at the 2020 Japan Packaging Contest.
We revamped the packaging design of active filters available as an option to multi-split type air conditioners for commercial buildings in fiscal 2019, greatly reducing the amount of packaging used. We developed a simple design where the bottom of the product's circuit board is supported with cardboard placed underneath it, and the circuit board's frame is fixed in placing using an intermediate layer. This successfully protects the exposed electrical components on top of the circuit board from touching packaging. This packaging won the top prize in the industrial packaging category at the Japan Packaging Contest 2019 organized by the Japan Packaging Institute and the World Star Award at the 2020 WorldStar Packaging Awards organized by the World Packaging Organisation (WPO).
Internal structure of the revamped packaging
We have used wooden frames to enclose parts when exporting air conditioner repair parts to certain regions around the world where returnable packaging could not be used. In fiscal 2019, we successfully developed a fully cardboard packaging solution that maintains the same strength as this wooden frame.
By reducing the use of wood in packaging, we can now utilize wood resources more effectively. Furthermore, reducing the size and weight of packaging also improves transport efficiency and mitigates environmental impacts during transport. This solution received the Japan Star Award (Director-General, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Award) at the Japan Packaging Contest 2019 organized by the Japan Packaging Institute.
At Daikin, we try to use resources efficiently. We take parts that have already been replaced and that contain multiple components, such as printed circuit boards, and we repair any malfunctions or replace the worn-out components. These parts (the printed circuit board, for example) are then tested for quality by ensuring that they are functioning properly and, with the customer's permission, are used as replacement parts when performing repair on a product.
Making products that last longer means that fewer resources are used. To this end, Daikin is strengthening its repair system by establishing service outlets around the world to address customer repair requests and questions and enquiries regarding products.
In Japan, the Daikin Contact Center is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year to take inquiries and receive requests for repairs. We strive for even greater customer satisfaction by improving the technical expertise and etiquette of our service engineers through an engineer certification system. To make repair requests more accessible, the telephone Contact Center staff follows a support system that promptly asks for necessary information on the phone and provides adequate directions, and we offer more ways of reaching us other than by telephone, such as through the Internet.
We are also working to strengthen our service network in each country. By introducing service management systems, we are making workflow more efficient and providing more high-quality and transparent service in every phase of customer interaction including through our service engineers and our partner companies.
Japan's Home Appliance Recycling Law obligates manufacturers to recycle at least 80% of the material from their own residential air conditioners as well as recover and then reuse or destroy refrigerants.
In fiscal 2020, we recovered about 460,000 products totaling 18,527 tons. The recycling ratio was 91% and the amount of fluorocarbons recovered was 590,000 tons-CO2.
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