The term ‘cradle-to-grave’ refers to a firm's perspective on the environmental impact created by their products or activities, from the beginning of a project or equipment’s life cycle to its end or disposal. There is an ISO 14001 standard for this concept, which mainly focuses on output streams of a process, specifically waste streams and their impact on the environment. Essentially, the standard is a form of ownership of, or responsibility taken for, the life cycle’s environmental impacts.
A good example to illustrate the meaning of ‘cradle-to-grave’ is the life cycle of a mine. Now, when a new mine is being planned, the full life cycle of the project must be considered.
From the first dig of ground, through the operational life, to the final rehabilitation of the pit, every phase and activity is monitored. This is done with the aim of returning the area to its original state (or as close as possible). Think sustainability.
The Multotec cyclone division manages the cradle-to-grave cycle in three distinct ways:
The first way is the sale, manufacture, installation, operation, optimisation and eventual decommissioning of a cyclone product. The full cycle requires several different processes with specific outcomes. Multotec has a motto, where they "do not walk away from a problem". The thinking behind this motto holds cradle-to-grave approach, indicating that Multotec is in it for ‘the long haul’. This methodology shines through in Multotec’s vision: “To be the preferred process equipment partner for our customers based on carefully chosen technologies in selected markets where risk-based return is acceptable.”
The second way specifically focuses on Multotec’s cast iron cyclone product. While it runs through the same cycle as stated above, there is a difference at the end. Such cast iron cyclones can be reused by the foundry that had originally casted them. This lifecycle now leans more towards the cradle-to-cradle notion. In fact, due to the difference in cost of virgin chromite raw material and the recycled material, this option is preferred by the foundries. It must be noted, though, that only a certain percentage of the newly casted product can be made up of recycled material.
The third and final way that Multotec’s cyclone division is involved in the cradle-to-grave notion takes its lead from the concept of reincarnation in the form of cyclone refurbishments. The main area of focus is dense medium applications, predominantly in coal, where a used cyclone that is approaching its end of life is refurbished. This is normally achieved at a fraction of the price of a new cyclone, by replacing the ceramic tile lining inside the steel shell (keeping the steel shells in circulation).
Having unpacked Multotec cyclones’ ‘cradle-to-grave’, it is quite clear how the cyclone division takes ownership of, and responsibility for, the environmental impacts of Multotec’s cyclones.