Person holding onto a steering wheel driving along a tree lined road

Magna Commitment to Sustainability Award Winner: Advancing Circular Manufacturing

Magna’s transmission plant in Bari, Italy, is taking automotive recycling to the next level by remanufacturing used components instead of scrapping them.

Basically, the idea is to reduce how much energy and material go into making a transmission, an industrial concept sometimes referred to as “circular manufacturing.”

“We’ve learned that almost any component Magna makes has the potential to be reused, except for things such as bolts and wiring,” said Francesco Carlucci, a project leader and the division’s specialist in assembly production processes. “The vision is to develop a remanufacturing program for all customers and for all programs using existing equipment, processes and resources.”

Magna is known for its ecosystem of interconnected products, supplying many of the estimated 20,000 parts in the average vehicle. The project, which earned a Magna 2022 Commitment to Sustainability award in the product category, has the potential to be duplicated throughout the company – and even the automotive industry.

“Almost any component Magna makes has the potential to be reused”

 

Headshot Francesco Carlucci

Advancing the Idea

The plant’s project started with about 5,000 transmissions that were stored by dealerships in Europe. Approximately 40 tons of steel, aluminum and electronic parts have been retrieved annually from the Magna 7DCT300 dual-clutch transmissions, material that most likely would have ended up in junkyards or sitting in warehouses.

The division calculates that 60% of core transmission components can be reused, including the gearset, housings and electronic components.

The Magna division dismantles, inspects and cleans the used transmissions, recovering the greatest number of components. Then they are remanufactured on an existing assembly line at the facility, making them ready for resale. The remanufactured transmissions cost about 40% less than a new aftermarket transmission. In addition, the division saves about 45,500 kilowatt hours in electricity, along with a reduction in CO2 emissions.

“We are able to save energy because we are not machining new transmission parts,” Carlucci explained. “Because the remanufactured transmissions are assembled on the same line as our new transmissions, the process is faster and you get the same level of quality. It’s also less expensive for us because we already have the operation up and running.”

The remanufactured transmissions are easily identified by their yellow labels. They are also tracked in a special database after being reassembled.

Group of people standing outside of the transmission plant in Bari, Italy

Collaboration is Key

The 900 employees at the Bari division make about 500,000 new transmissions per. The division won a Magna 2021 Commitment to Sustainability award for a project that investigated whether the biological solvents used to treat environmental disasters could be used to convert sludge produced by grinding machines into reusable materials. The project is still in development.

Also in the works: a project to install solar panels throughout the facility. That project is slated for completion in September 2023.

“This plant is special because we all work together to find solutions,” Carlucci said. “We believe in teamwork. We’re sensitive to sustainability at work and at home.”

For his part, Carlucci is building a new home in nearby Matera, Italy, complete with solar panels and a home charging station for electric vehicles. He regularly discusses energy conservation with his 14-year-old daughter Manuela.

“I tell her you are taking long showers and spending a lot of our resources on your hair,” he said. “She listens to me. Her teacher tells me that Manuela is becoming more responsible and developing good values for our people and our world.”

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