Whitford Worldwide Reaffirms Long-Term Commitment to Sustainability
Date: 13th November 2018
As the manufacturer of the world’s largest, most complete line of fluoropolymer coatings for industrial and consumer industries, Whitford Worldwide’s products make things function more efficiently via reduced friction, ease of release and corrosion resistance. In effect, Whitford’s is a long history of creating products that enhance sustainability. As humanity keeps moving toward the need to sustain not deplete, Whitford has the product for virtually every direction in which the world is advancing its technologies and changing its business models to increase sustainability.
“We have had a long-established commitment to sustainably growing our business by focusing on making superior products, serving our customers better, driving innovation through ongoing research, creating a motivating workplace, and adhering to the highest standards of ethics and corporate responsibility,” says Anne Willis, Whitford’s chief executive officer. “Our strategy is to drive operational excellence that delivers higher value in support of our customers, as well as all of our stakeholders.”
The most commonly applied definition for sustainability is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” Since there are no perpetual motion machines, sustainability becomes a matter of extending longevity. That is what Whitford coatings do, across a broad spectrum of diverse industries.
Helping to Sustain Ocean-Based Energy Generation
Increased emphasis has been placed on renewable forms of energy, on a global scale. A good deal of that emphasis is concentrated in ocean environments. Water’s relationship with renewable energy, however, has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, tidal flow and wave action can be harnessed to generate energy. On the negative side, seawater is highly corrosive.
“Whitford plays a significant role in ocean-based renewable energy generation,” Willis explains. “Our coatings make the moving parts of energy systems perform more efficiently via friction reduction. Addressing the challenges of the harsh ocean environments, Whitford coatings minimize corrosion for wave, tidal and wind installations. By increasing the longevity of ocean-based energy systems, Whitford coatings play a significant role in their sustainability.”
Whitford coatings are an integral part of the manufacture of wind turbine blades, providing ease of release of the giant blades from their molds. Additionally, Whitford’s coatings on fasteners, rubber seals on hatches, as well as many operating components of wind turbine structures, help drive down their life-operating costs by reducing maintenance over the 25-year lifespan typically demanded. Whitford coatings are even on many components of the boats that service and maintain offshore energy platforms.
Whitford’s Sustaining Presence in Motor Vehicles
Whitford plays a major role in the efficient operation of motor vehicles. The company’s coatings are critical components throughout motor vehicles, from the more-efficient functioning of coated piston skirts in the engine block, to coated pistons in the air-conditioning units. They increase corrosion resistance in fuel filters and braking systems, enhance the safety of seat-belt apparatus, even provide for the smooth movement of power windows in their glide tracks.
As vehicle designs have changed, over many decades, often dramatically, Whitford has been a valued partner to auto manufacturers. “Whether motor vehicles move from gas-driven engines to electric motors, the smooth operation of moving parts throughout the vehicles are still dependent upon our friction-reducing, corrosion-resistant coatings,” Willis explains. “Our custom coatings are also important elements in many types of sealing systems on cars, trucks, trailers and all manner of marine craft.”
A strong commitment to research and development has resulted in Whitford’s thousands of innovative products, over the course of the company’s history.
“Among our competitors in the coating industry, we commit one of the highest percentages of our sales to R&D,” Willis says. “The primary responsibility of our skilled chemists and technicians is to solve customers’ problems, frequently by designing tailor-made products, which positively impact sustainability. After more than 50 years, we have more than 9,000 formulae in our inventory and we are continually adding to that total to address the future and the technological innovations of industry after industry.”
A Commitment to ‘Greening’ in Manufacturing
In terms of the “greening” of Whitford’s manufacturing processes, the company is continually improving those processes and the products that result. Via ongoing research and development, Whitford is committed to reducing hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
“We make environmentally acceptable analogues for our product lines, with hundreds of green formulae available to customers,” Willis explains. “The VOCs of these coatings are less than – in some cases, significantly less than – the limits permitted by the most stringent environmental regulations found in any of the markets in which we sell our products.”
Whitford has adopted the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, the most widely accepted framework, for reporting its policies, performance, plans and goals relating to the most significant sustainability topics.
“As presented in our GRI reporting,” Willis explains, “we have aligned our sustainability strategies and priorities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to underscore our role as a responsible corporate citizen.”
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