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Running in circles with Lune sanitiser stations

Running in circles with Lune sanitiser stations

2020 will be remembered for many things. But few of them will be positive for many businesses. For Integra Systems, however, the announcement of a major circular design and product manufacturing agreement with Brink Industrial in the Netherlands was nothing short of momentous, and one that will be cherished given it occurred at a time when good news was few and far between.

An integral part of establishing the partnership was an existing licensing agreement involving Integra and a subsidiary of Brink, Lune. This agreement saw Integra manufacturing Brink’s European-designed sanitiser stations for the Australian market.

While Australians and Australian manufacturers have long focused on choosing locally made products ahead of their overseas competitors, Krystal Davis, Technical Product Manager for Integra Transform, says the partnership between Integra and Lune is symptomatic of the latest evolution in manufacturing and design on a global scale – something known as ‘circularity’ or ‘circular design’.

As Krystal explains, circularity is the notion of designing and manufacturing products that are versatile, use environmentally friendly processes and materials, and have the functionality to be incorporated and re-purposed on multiple occasions in the future.

“So, when what starts out as a sanitiser reaches the end of its lifecycle, the parts and the materials might be put into something else,” Krystal elaborates. “It’s designed so materials and different parts can be reused, recycled or refurbished. You're never really completely getting rid of the product and it's not going to landfill; it is being absorbed back into the system of products and manufacturing. It's an environmental approach to design that aims to reduce the waste and the disposable products that we just purchase, buy and then throw away.”

Lune’s sanitiser stations are a prime example of circular design. Utilising a modular design principle – which allows for flat-pack transportation, and easy assembly and disassembly – the units also have the capacity to be added to, or modified, later in their life.

“For example, with one of the larger Lune sanitisers, you can add on a bin and then the sanitiser station itself doesn't become redundant. That's one of the areas of where the circular economy comes into play,” Krystal clarifies. “Also, the sanitiser stations can be refurbished. If different parts get damaged, or there's some issue, a new part can be sent out to replace the old one, with the old part coming back, being recycled and going back into a brand new product. It won't ever go to the landfill at the end of its life; it will be processed back into materials and parts.”

Specifically, where Lune sanitiser stations are concerned, there are a number of advantages in bringing an overseas product into the Australian market. For one thing, it is a tried and tested product that has proven itself extensively throughout a diverse range of markets across Europe. The design itself, adds Krystal, is different to what we would usually see in Australia.

“With the units themselves, they're a little bit more adaptable. There are three different design options, and you can adapt it with certain accessories, like bins, small TVs for advertising purposes and such. Lune has really adapted their products to suit, and be suitable for, different companies. Coming from the circular economy where Europeans are really ahead, that’s one of its bigger points of difference too.”

When it came to pursuing circular design, Krystal says the experience uncovered how closely many of their existing design and manufacturing processes were aligned to the concept of circularity principles. While still intimidating, it was an undertaking worth pursuing.

“We were circular without realising it!” she states. “Once you look at what products you're making and what you're doing, I would assume a lot of people and manufacturing companies in some way, shape or form, are involved in the circular economy anyway – especially with a lot of graduates coming through at the moment, and with sustainability being a big focus across a number of disciplines.”

“Some people might have to really change their processes and what they're doing but it really is focusing on what products are out there, and looking at how you can change your designs or processes to incorporate recycled materials or design a product. Adapting circularity does challenge you but it's definitely worthwhile.”

Integra’s commitment to developing circular economy design and manufacturing played a pivotal role in establishing their partnership with Lune’s parent company, Brink Industrial. Lune was keen to develop a foothold in the Australian market and, consequently, bridge a gap between Australia and Europe. Enter Steve Morriss – founder of Close the Loop and Head of Circular Economy Development at Planet Ark.

“Discussions about a relationship started happening about 12 months ago when Steve Morriss helped facilitate a meeting with Paul [Hughes, Managing Director and CEO of Integra] and Wido Van Den Bosch from Lune and their parent company, Brink Industrial,” explains Krystal. “We realised that we were dealing with a manufacturer who is quite similar to us with its general business ethos and productivity and supply chain, and that we understood how each other works.”

“Back in August, it all started becoming a little bit more official,” she continues. “So Paul, Erika [Hughes, Commercial Director at Integra] and myself sat down with Wido over Zoom and discussed what a partnership would look like, what we both wanted out of it, and it all became official late in 2020.”

“Another point of difference is that we're in two completely different countries, two different economic environments, and different laws and regulations, but Europe is really ahead and really focused on developing circular economies. We are learning how our other products can be made into circular products and getting some invaluable business insights.”

With the partnership now underway, the road ahead is full of possibility for Integra. As well as the sanitiser stations, the Integra team is looking to bring a number of Lune’s other waste bin designs and solutions to the Australian market, while Wido and his team have shown strong interest in implementing Integra’s DigiSMART kiosk solutions into their factory.

“We have great communication channels open, and both parties are happy to openly discuss different points of view on what isn't working, or what's going on over there, or over here or and things like that,” concludes Krystal. “It’s been great for us and we look forward to working with Lune and Brink Engineering in the future.”

For more information about Lune sanitiser stations, contact Krystal – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Blog
K2_WRITTEN_ON January 25 2021
Written by Erika Hughes