Green Business Awards 2010: Clean manufacturing

Winner - AGD Systems

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

AGD Systems is a company which makes traffic systems for a wide range of applications which include detection of vehicles at junctions and automated barriers, detection of pedestrians and speed enforcement.

It is a privately owned family business which exports around the world and the company's success is underpinned by a strong belief in innovation. That serves a role which is twofold: to create future value and remain competitive and to optimise the use of resources within the business. AGD achieves this largely through the efforts of its employees, who are highly engaged in thinking about how things could be done better: some 90% have taken part in a working group in the past two years.

A number of the company's products are designed with environmental benefits uppermost. In 2005, AGD won the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise for developing the first LED-based, low power, pedestrian nearside signal. Its AGD335 radar, used for vehicle sign activation, relies upon solar power as the sole energy source. And the pre-production design of a new range of green, amber and red traffic signal heads - intended for temporary sites where there is no mains supply - gives them the lowest power consumption on the market.

But, perhaps more significantly, green thinking is at the heart of the way that the company operates. Every aspect of the company's operations is informed by an environmentally driven improvement agenda.

One of the key initiatives has focused on reducing waste and utility bills. A working group representing all parts of the business encouraged suggestions from employees using techniques such as show and tells.

Some of the ideas that have been implemented include increasing thermostat temperature in the server room to reduce air-conditioning, installation of video-conferencing to reduce business travel, recycling of many materials and reuse of packaging where possible. Staff have been trained in the use of heating, air-conditioning and even optimal tyre pressure.

Another key initiative was to make life cycle considerations, including electricity consumption, use of materials and component sourcing, an intrinsic part of the product design process.

The results have been impressive. Over 18 months, AGD reduced waste going to landfill by 60%, its on-site electricity consumption by 19%, fossil fuels use by 43% and water usage by 50%, all resulting in a carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 10%, or 19 tonnes. Furthermore, the company forecasts that sales of one product alone, the AGD226, will reduce CO2 production by 375 tonnes, thanks to its low-power design.


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