One of the most effective ways to minimise environmental risks, meet legislative requirements and demonstrate good corporate governance is through the implementation of an environmental management system (EMS). An effective EMS, certified to ISO 14001, can help an organisation operate in a more cost-efficient and environmentally responsible manner by managing its interface with and impact on the environment. Marlin's first step was to list all of the areas of activity that had an effect on the environment and rate each one, using a scoring matrix similar to a risk assessment evaluation. Aspects as diverse as emissions caused by soldering components to any potential land contamination were evaluated. This process highlighted the areas of high impact, for which an action plan was then devised.
A major area of concern was recycling of waste to reduce the amount going to landfill. All the waste streams were identified and practical methods of maximising the amount being recycled implemented. Marlin now recycles all cardboard, plastic, paper, wood, metal, wire/cable, oil and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), including printer cartridges, PCs, monitors, batteries, fridges, etc.
The company also targeted other areas of the business, such as performing a power usage survey, highlighting lighting usage and halving the amount of fluorescent tubes used around the offices, ensuring engineers switch off equipment when they have finished and putting timers on equipment that in the past had been left on continuously. Fitting of destratification fans in the workshop ceiling to circulate and equalise the temperature is being considered, not only to reduce heating costs in the winter but also air conditioning in the summer.
A cycle-to-work initiative, the Government's Cyclescheme, was introduced and raised a lot of interest from staff, many taking out a tax-free lease/hire agreement with the company to purchase a new bicycle. The rigorous approach taken by Marlin to environmental impact has benefited both Marlin and its customers through eliminating unnecessary waste, minimising energy usage and ensuring conformance to environmental standards. Many customers now regard certification to ISO 14001 as a pre-requisite for suppliers.
Marlin specialises in the design and manufacture of bespoke automation systems. Its customer base spans industry from pharmaceuticals and healthcare to automotive and electronics. Marlin says many manufacturing companies are selecting it as their partner for development of cost-effective, reliable and fully validated automated systems.