Sustainability in business life

Zinc does not belong to the scrap

Zinc is an important raw material that is limited on earth. It protects the body steel of cars against rust. If the discarded vehicles end up on the scrap, it is time to return the steel and zinc back into the raw materials cycle. It has also been possible to remove the zinc from the steel. However, only with considerable energy expenditure and unsatisfactory result. Research is working on a process to remove zinc from the steel using sulfuric acid. With this method, high-quality steel is left, which can go back into the car production. The Technical University of Clausthal draws in its pilot plant, the sulfuric acid from a zinc manufacturer. Enriched with the zinc, she goes back to the company. It filters the raw material from the acid and sends it back to Clausthal. The cycle starts all over again. Research now knows that the process is worthwhile. Germany’s largest automaker is so pleased with the invention that it thinks about the construction of its own plant.

Networked working world

Labor and production processes are now less localized and increasingly global. Labor costs and the supply of labor play a decisive role. In order to remain competitive, many companies are making greater efforts to automate work processes. For this purpose, technical, economic and socio-scientific research is becoming ever closer. This is the only way to prepare the working world, especially for services, for the demands of a globalized world of tomorrow.

Computer schützt vor Haltungsschäden

Everything speaks of the beautiful, new world of work in chic offices. Only long periods of exercise are perceived by many as physically demanding. However, heavy physical work still exists today, for example in shipbuilding and rescue services. Several research institutions, companies such as the Meyer shipyard and the Johanniter rescue service work together on a very special suit: a suit that protects its wearer from, for example The suit looks like a normal work suit and can be worn as well. However, it is full of sensors that record every movement of the wearer on a computer on the belt. The device is no larger than a pack of cigarettes. The doctor, physiotherapist and user derive suggestions from the data on how the wearer can carry out certain work without excessive strain on the muscles and bone apparatus. Then the suit helps even in the implementation of these findings: The computer now announces, for example, by an audible warning if his wearer performs an incriminating movement too long or remains in a wrong attitude. Companies can draw conclusions about how the work can be planned and designed to be less hazardous to health. Thus, the operation benefits from fewer sick leave, the occupier of better health protection.

Working in the worldwide information room

For young people, smartphones, the Internet and social networks are a natural part of their private lives today. Even in everyday working life, these media will be omnipresent to them. A worldwide information space with networked colleagues on all continents becomes the norm. Social science research deals with the opportunities and risks of the globally networked world. She interviews employees about their working conditions. Together, the researchers work with them, their bosses and employee representatives to develop concepts for future work. The benefits of being able to work anytime, anywhere need to be aligned with the need to be always available and controllable. The worldwide assignment of orders must be in line with processes in German companies. Computer work, above all, often pollutes the psyche. Taking this into account and adapting it to everyday work is the task for research.