Perles power tools have already implemented main principles of the EU circular economy policy

Press release / 12 March 2020

Quality, safety, efficiency and environmental performance are key priorities of Perles power tools. We, at Perles are deeply committed towards achieving ever-more sustainable and innovative production systems.

We continuously striving to develop and adopt technological solutions to have the lowest possible negative impact on the environment and to preserve our natural resources. Perles is compliant with European legislation on safety, ergonomics and the environment, and work hard towards integrating circularity principles in their production.

Perles supports the overarching objectives of the EU circular economy policy and had already implemented these as part of our daily processes. Within this paper we aim to showcase our shared practices for making our products more sustainable addressing:

• Design of durable and reliable products

• Application of material efficiency and hazardous substances substitution

• Limiting noise and exhaust emissions

• Reparability and extending product lifetime

• Integrating recyclability and safe waste management aspects at the design stage

• Limiting packaging and its impacts

• New business models

1. Perles design durable and reliable products

Power tools are designed to be durable with long life expectancies. Furthermore, manufacturers strive to have interchangeable parts, compatible with old products. This allows for the upgrading of products and cost reductions for manufacturers and consumers.

Furthermore, the consumables of the power tools industry, such as drill bits, are designed so that they may be interoperable with other products of the same product category from different brands in the industry.

1.1 Perles apply material efficiency and substitute hazardous substances

Perles fully support the EU’s chemicals policy and its overall objective to protect the health of European citizens, wildlife and the environment, including the proactive substitution of hazardous substances when alternatives are available.

Moreover, Perles power tools are already subject to various legislative controls, notably the REACH Regulation (1907/2006/EC) and the RoHS (2011/65/EU). We would welcome increased synergies between the different legislations in order to improve the consistency of measures and objectives.

2. Perles offers reparability solutions to extend our product lifetime

Products are easily repairable using spare parts supplied by the manufacturer for a number of years after the placing the product on the market. Depending on the machine, some repairs can be done directly by the consumer following the requirements and instructions contained in the manufacturer’s manual, whereas professional workers or dealers must perform repairs that are more complex in order to ensure the safety of consumers. Furthermore, articles are easy to disassemble in order to facilitate the repair, most articles make use of fasteners and not glued housings.

The availability of spare parts is of the outmost importance for the power tools industries as it is for other sectors such as the engineering, automotive and aerospace industries. For example, the power tools industries produce spare parts to ensure proper repair, re-use and upgrade of the products placed on the European market. This covers the public procurement, professional and consumer equipment areas.

Furthermore, most equipment is designed to have a long lifetime. All these measures combined contribute to extend product service life.

Professional equipment managed through commercial services is maintained via periodic inspections to assess the need for repairs, changing spare parts, and overall maintenance of the equipment.

3. Perles integrate recyclability and safe waste management aspects at the design stage

Consumers can ensure that once their product becomes waste it will be properly treated by depositing it in their nearest recycling station, or by bringing it to the retailer when purchasing a new product.

Perles products can be easily disassembled, and there are ongoing efforts to ensure that recyclable materials such as plastics are properly marked for recycling. Many manufacturers have embossed letters or numbers in injection moulded parts to identify the materials built into equipment in order to simplify recycling. Although this is not always possible for particularly small components. However, for some products where disassembly is difficult, Perles have cooperate with waste handlers to obtain their feedback on best-methods to remove or detach some product components such as batteries. However, we caution against including product design requirements in end of life legislation.

4. The packaging and its impacts are bared to the minimum

Perles is strongly committed to keeping plastic packaging to a bare minimum. This goal is maintained for example by avoiding the use of non-recyclable polystyrene foams. The main packaging is generally controlled by robust specifications dictated by the manufacturer – normally using recyclable or biodegradable materials such as cardboard, wooden boxes and reusable packaging systems.

Furthermore, Perles develop the design for the product and packaging in parallel as a measure to obtain the optimal balance between product design and packaging and transportation needs. In addition to that, Perles in some cases design first the packaging before the product, as a means of minimising resource consumption, the size of packaging required, and increasing the number of products that can be transported. Perles offers durable transport cases designed to protect the product during its entire life time, resulting in reduced packaging waste and economic savings for companies.

5. New business models will be implemented in Perles power tools

Digitalisation offers various new opportunities for Perles. Interconnectivity with different applications and software upgrades allow different equipment to be periodically updated and enhancing performance.

Software upgrades allow consumers to benefit from the latest state-of-the art functionalities without having to purchase an entire new product to enjoy the same services and functionalities.

New services are arising through the sharing economy, such as rental services for products which have low annual uses. For example, Perles currently testing business models inspired by the sharing economy by which customers can check the availability of equipment through a mobile phone app and pick-it up in target locations for short periods. The purpose is to enable smarter and more efficient services for consumers while minimising resource consumption.

Although Product-Service Systems (aftersales services, leasing, pay per service unit, etc.) are still rare today, they might play a more prominent role in the future in the transition to a circular economy of our sectors.

6. Technology trends in the power tool market

Power tools industry experiencing a relatively new trend on the European market: the development of cordless electric equipment. The share of battery products has increased significantly over the last decade.

However, a complete switch to electrically powered cordless products only is currently not technically possible. This is not the case today and, despite significant progress, will not be the case in the very near future.

It should be noted that batteries are not completely suited for all types of applications, hampering thus the full transition to batteries. Batteries require a stationary power source for recharging and are highly sensitive to extreme climate and temperature conditions.

In addition, not all power tool machines will be battery-powered due to cost considerations. Battery powered machines are usually two to three times more expensive than the equivalent corded. Recovering the initial investment might prove almost impossible over the life span of some specific types of products, notably rarely used tools and short lifetime equipment. Batteries offer significant benefits for users: a battery-driven equipment is easier to start up, recharge and service. Due to these benefits for consumers, market demand has increased. In addition, batteries do not produce local exhaust emissions.

In conclusion, all currently competing technologies – electric corded and battery - offer both advantages and disadvantages that need to be assessed according to the specific needs of the users.

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