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As a global company, our commitment to global environmental sustainability includes partnering with our customers in innovating solutions that address their needs for environmentally responsible products. Increasingly we find our customers asking for solutions that are more eco-efficient and which help them achieve their own responsible development goals. We thrive in this environment of partnering with our customers to deliver innovative solutions to their challenges.

Developing Responsible Solutions through Customer-Back Innovation

The ITW Business Model guides our approach to innovation, which starts with our customers and their pain points. Our customers are often challenged with environmental issues, such as how to reduce energy use or emissions. We have continuous engagement with our customers and partner with them on the design and development of our solutions to ensure we are enhancing the positive impact while solving their pain points.

While every division is different, they all focus on long-term sustainability as appropriate to meet customer needs relative to clean technology (clean-tech), including water conservation, renewable energy use and emissions reduction. Regarding ITW’s clean-tech products, which in turn help our customers reduce the environmental impact of their own products, ITW is proud to provide more than $3.4 billion of products that support overall eco-efficiency. Clean-tech products represent approximately 23 percent of ITW’s overall revenue, an increase of one percent from last year’s CSR report.

A Focus on Product Safety as We Innovate Solutions Responsibly

In line with our strong focus on the safety of our people, ITW’s four-step customer-back innovation process also incorporates product safety. The process steps include:

  • STEP 1: This key step includes identifying the key customer problem and determining the business value of solving it. This is the heart of our customer-back innovation process. It also considers safety impacts related to the customer issue and possible solutions.
  • STEP 2: This step includes exploring differentiated alternatives and selecting the best product/service approach. This step also includes the start of our Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA) process, which considers safety implications, and mitigation strategies for identified risks, of our proposed offerings.
  • STEP 3: In this step, our colleagues and partners engineer the product/service. Completion of the DFMEA identification of possible product safety issues and their mitigation is typically concluded by the end of this step. Appropriate design changes to enhance product safety as identified in the DFMEA are incorporated in the final design.
  • STEP 4: Building the capability to manufacture, support and sell the product/service to our customers. Also included in this step is the consideration of effective control plans to ensure manufactured products are high-quality and safe.

Improved Product Testing with Less Environmental Impact

To reduce the environmental impact of conventional hydraulic testing equipment, Instron, a Test & Measurement and Electronics business, developed ElectroPuls™ Dynamic Test Instruments. This line of products uses a single phase, plug-in electrical source, is cooled by air rather than water and requires no oil. In addition to a quieter, cleaner testing environment, use of these test instruments saves over 40,000 kilowatt hours, 210 gallons of oil, and nearly 400,000 gallons of cooling water per machine, over a typical five-year period. Disposable parts, such as filters and hoses, are also reduced by over 70 percent.