Reinventing the Wheel Innovation and Clustering Platform

Reinventing the Wheel Innovation and Clustering Platform

Reinventing the Wheel Innovation and Clustering Platform

Responsibility is not just a buzzword

We are on an ever-evolving journey that puts environmental and social responsibility at the forefront of how we work. Now, we are launching a new project called the Reinventing the Wheel Innovation Cluster and Platform, which you can learn more about here.

Preserving our global and local environment for future generations is a collective matter. We are therefore inviting other manufacturers, suppliers, buyers, individuals, educational institutions, and innovation partners to join us in making a positive difference.

Together, we can work to make our businesses and communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. We can do this by contributing with constructive solutions to the social and environmental challenges we all face and minimise any negative effects our business has locally and globally.

By engaging with our local community, adopting new technologies and continually learning to do things more efficiently, we are not just reducing our impact on the environment but also creating social and economic value.

The Project

In mid-2023, we launched the project Reinventing the Wheel – Agile Integrated Technological and Green Transition of the STARCO Beli Manastir into a Leading Regional Lean and Green Steel Forming Factory. The project is aimed at making investments in technology and processes that position us as leaders of green and smart innovations. Achieving this goal will have a positive impact not only on the factory and its employees, partners and customers. It also has the potential to positively affect the local and regional industry and their social and natural ecosystems.

With a total investment of approximately 4.5 million Euros, a significant portion comes from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism through EEA and the Norway Grants Program. Additionally, the investments are made possible by a special development loan from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development, HBOR, and special project funds invested by STARCO and our mother company KENDA. The funds from Norway Grants are part of The Business Development and Innovation Programme in Croatia, funded by the Governments of Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein and operated by Innovation Norway for Green Industry Transition in Croatia and 14 other target EU countries.

The project has been designed, developed and implemented in cooperation with Eupolis Group Ltd and International Development Norway. Eupolis Group Ltd is a Croatian consultancy focused on system innovation, development, fundraising and global clustering initiation in the intersection between economic, social and ecological issues. International Development Norway, or IDN, is a spin-out of SINTEF Foundation, the largest contract research institute in Scandinavia, focused on circular and green manufacturing transition support. Together, we are transforming our factory and taking significant steps on our responsible journey.

 

Our Journey

The investments will allow STARCO Beli Manastir to improve the carbon footprint of many of the products produced in our factory through greater energy efficiency, use of renewable energy and reduced steel content in the products. The new investments also give our employees the opportunity to develop and acquire new skills.

Our sutainability journey has begun, although we are still in the early stages. Our first steps toward a responsible and holistic change have been to improve the energy efficiency of our manufacturing plant by fortifying its insulation, integrating solar panels and reducing our waste.

We are currently implementing new technologies across the entire production flow, including robotics and digitally controlled wheel manufacture. These will achieve a reduction of waste in the painting process and improve the working area through better lighting, stronger insulation and improved air quality.

Collaborating for a greener future

We believe that sharing resources and best practices is the way forward. Knowledge sharing and collaboration are therefore also central parts of the project, and we want to facilitate the exchange of experiences and knowledge and encourage clustering (working in or cross sector to achieve benefits between normally unconnected companies, entities and individuals) around sustainability and green innovation themes.

Below, you can get an overview of the knowledge sharing activities and themes we are especially interested in collaborating around. For more information on these initiatives and activities, do not hesitate to contact us via the form at the bottom of this page.

Education

During and after this project, we are planning to host site visits and organize short trainings on our experiences and efforts.

Together with our project partners at Eupolis Group Ltd., we do innovation events including workshops, hackathons and creathons.

These activities aim to not only co-create lean and green transition processes, products and services but also to support disruptive innovation across companies, manufacturers and supply chain stakeholders in Croatia, the EU, the Western Balkans region and globally.

Asset Sharing

Asset sharing is a key strategy for optimizing resources.

For instance, if we have excess capacity in certain processes, like CNC machines, we can offer to produce components for local businesses or subcontract the resources for sharing.

Likewise, if other companies have resources that we need, we can explore sharing arrangements. Additionally, sharing workshop areas, which is already part of our project, will be tested for further replication and scaling.

Personalization Without Excess Consumption

Meeting market demands without excess waste is crucial.

We are focused on collaborating with entrepreneurs, innovators and research institutes on finding ways to personalise our products and services without encouraging unnecessary consumption.

We are also developing new business and value proposition models for various clients. We will be addressing these topics in our co-creative workshops and follow-up projects with interested stakeholders.

Circular Economy

Recovering waste from our manufacturing process is crucial for our green and lean transition.

This involves finding ways for other companies to utilize our waste effectively. For instance, we could grow tomatoes with the excess heat from cooling our wheels by using a heat exchanger to warm up a greenhouse next door. Or we could explore how other companies can repurpose our excess steel, perhaps by cutting shapes into our leftover plasma cut sheets.

Looking ahead, we’re also focusing on developing new business models, such as product-as-a-service and innovative design approaches like cradle-to-cradle design. These efforts aim to reinvent steel and wheel manufacturing and similar industries.

 

Get in touch about collaboration and knowledge sharing!

Contact us

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Learn more

Circular Economy

The circular economy is a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated. Read more here.

The UN's 17 sustainable development goals

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Read more here.

Asset Sharing

Asset Sharing is not new – cooperatives are a key example of how communities have traditionally come together to pool resources and work collaboratively. Read more about it here.