Sustainability is a topic that’s been on everyone’s minds lately, and it’s something that Mechanical Engineer Johan Brans deals with when developing products. Johan joined Prodrive Technologies in 2020 and spends most of his time working on product design. However, he has always been intrigued by the actual production process and sees great potential for reducing the environmental impact of our products. Want to know more about how Johan is helping to make our products and company more sustainable? Let’s see what he has to say!
I am currently involved in the development of several technologies, including those for the semiconductor industry and a server that processes data for an electron microscope used in life sciences. During the entire development process from design to production we, as designers, need to consider many different factors, yet we must now start to add sustainability to our list of considerations to ensure a solid foundation for innovative and responsible products that can benefit future generations.
Part of the Green Deal
As designers, we are increasingly playing a more critical role and must consider the wider context of sustainability. On a European level, politicians have agreed on the so-called Green Deal, which aims to reduce the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels, and eventually achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. A key policy initiative is the circular economy action plan which is related to product design and aims to promote the transition to a circular economy by reducing waste, improving resource efficiency, and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. It is important for us to align our development process with these policy initiatives and integrate eco-design requirements, product standards and measures to promote circular business models into our decision-making processes. Additionally, we have noticed that our customers and competitors are also placing a greater emphasis on sustainability, which increasingly makes it a point of attention in retaining our position in a competitive market.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
At Prodrive Technologies we are already taking responsibility by developing energy-efficient, high-quality products with longer lifespans, exploring ways to increase repairability or disassembly and enabling the refurbishing of old products that are returned from the field. To better understand the environmental impact of our products, we recently conducted our first LCA on our white label AC Charger. The assessment evaluates the environmental impact of a product at every phase of its life, from raw material extraction to manufacturing, distribution, use and end-of-life. The results of our LCA revealed that the energy use of the product and the raw materials used are the main drivers of its environmental impact, highlighting the areas where we need to focus our efforts in redesign to reduce its overall impact. While we have only completed one LCA so far, as competence owner of LCA at Prodrive Technologies, I believe this method is crucial for making our products more sustainable. This year, we aim to expand this competence throughout our organization and conduct more assessments to gain a clearer understanding of our impact. Simultaneously, we are developing tools and guidelines for our engineers to promote sustainability in product design.
Green is not a "Primary Color"
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day nor is sustainability a “primary color” that can easily be added to our products overnight. At Prodrive Technologies, we recognize the challenges of raising the sustainability level of our product portfolio, especially because it requires a tailored approach for each product. To measure our product performance, we use the QLTC method which stands for Quality, Logistics, Technology and Costs. Recently, we added Sustainability (QLTCS) as another dimension to assess our products’ sustainability performance. Although QLTCS is already implemented on a project level, we aim to align it across all organizational levels and departments.
At the same time, we are developing clear sustainability objectives and design principles to improve our expertise and inform engineers about how they can contribute to developing more sustainable products in their daily work. However, I also believe that creating sustainable products cannot be done by designers alone and requires team effort from the whole organization. For instance, the sales department can play a crucial role in promoting circular design to customers, while the purchasing department can make more informed decisions at the supplier or component level, such as prioritizing suppliers with strong sustainability propositions and sourcing recycled materials. Although it will take time to get everyone on the same page to fully integrate sustainability into our organization, I continue to be committed to helping achieve this goal.
Making the World Work
Personally, I believe that everyone can somehow make a difference in the world and should have the intention to make it a little bit better than it was before. While sustainability is a complex issue, I believe that by engaging in an open dialogue with each other, we can better understand how making our products more sustainable contributes to a better future. Hopefully, it will inspire people to act and spread the message. Although we still have a long way to go, we can certainly be proud of the progress we’ve already made. Our unique proposition at Prodrive-Technologies gives us the opportunity to create meaningful technologies that are the essential links for a more sustainable tomorrow. Together we can make the world work!
Personally, I believe that everyone can somehow make a difference in the world and should have the intention to make it a little bit better than it was before.
Pros and cons
Flexible working hours
You are a gamechanger by working on a project that is relatively new to the company
Challenging due to the lack of industry data on Life Cycle Assessments
The Prodrive Technologies Mindset
You don’t just go to work, you feel responsible for your project
You decide when, where and how much you want to work
You like to think about manufacturability when designing
You don’t sit and wait, you have a hands-on mentality
What we offer
- Perfect environment for those eager to develop themselves and take full responsibility for a project.
- Many opportunities for personal and professional development, along with the flexibility to explore diverse roles across various projects.
- A young and dynamic culture which stimulates innovative thinking and taking initiatives.
- Personal budget just for you to learn new things. Your growth is our priority.
- Flexibility of a 24/7 work environment with provided lunch, dinner, and access to our company gym.
- Personalized development plan to craft your future.
- You will receive essential tools if these are necessary to perform your job (i.e. iPhone and laptop).
- On-campus sports facilities enable you to incorporate exercise seamlessly into your work routine.
- A performance-driven salary that grows with your accomplishments.
- Unlock the opportunity to become a shareholder and entrepreneur within the company.
- Travel allowance based on the days you are actually at Prodrive Technologies.
- Work-life balance with at least 33 vacation days per year.
- Access a retirement plan.
- Your journey with us starts with a swift review of your application by one of our recruiters.
- In some cases, if we see a potential fit, you will receive an exclusive link to our online aptitude test to assess if you’re up for the challenge.
- We will schedule a personal interview not only to determine if your skills match the job, but also to see if there is a spark between you and Prodrive Technologies.
- To complete the application journey we will send you a suitable offer and once you sign, we can welcome you to the Prodrive Technologies family.