Boskalis wants its supply chain to be increasingly sustainable. To make our procurement processes even more sustainable, we have been working ever more closely with our suppliers in recent years. The collaboration with our supplier Vosta LMG (Vosta) for re-using pickpoints is a fine example.
Boskalis uses cutter suction dredgers for dredging in hard conditions. These vessels have cutter heads with dozens of removable steel pickpoints. Tens of thousands need to be replaced annually. With the cradle-to-cradle thinking in mind, and given the increasing scarcity of raw materials, it started to make sense to think about re-using the material.
To streamline the logistics of returning the worn pickpoints to the original foundries, Boskalis developed special steel “pickpoint bins”: square, extremely robust, steel containers. We designed them so that they can be stacked, are safe to lift and easy to move with forklift trucks. Boskalis now has more than 1,600 certified pickpoint bins in circulation.
“This was the first time we had been asked to engage in recycling in this way”, says Vosta manager Components & Services Georges Teheux. “The hydraulic engineering sector has been talking about the possibilities of cradle-to-cradle production for years, but Boskalis initiated this approach. In the meantime, we have developed a similar system for another major dredging company. It would obviously be fantastic if the entire sector were to switch to this approach using universal bins.”
The worn pickpoints are collected in the bins on the projects, and returned in sea containers to the foundry, where they are melted down. The new pickpoints are returned to the project from the foundry in the same way. Since the start of this cradle-to-cradle program, we have already processed large numbers of worn pickpoints. This joint approach has had a major impact on various links in the chain because it also affects the operating processes at the foundry that produces the pickpoints for Vosta.