Ensuring the quality of our products is of paramount importance to us, which is why we strive to produce as many components in-house as possible. This dedication allows us to maintain strict control over the manufacturing process and guarantee the highest standards for our fender systems.
By prioritizing responsible manufacturing practices, we work towards creating durable fender systems that can withstand the rigorous operational conditions, effectively safeguarding people, vessels, and port infrastructures.
The SFT Group offers various sustainable alternatives for most of the system components, which offer the same high quality but ensure a lower carbon footprint.
Main component for the manufacturing of rubber fenders.
As a natural product, with Southeast Asia being the main producer worldwide, responsible and ethical sourcing is of major importance.
Typically, rubber fenders are made from a blend of polymers, e.g. natural rubber (NR) and synthetic rubber (SR). As a leading provider of high-quality fender systems and marine accessories, we understand the importance of responsible sourcing of natural products and its impact on the environment.
Rubber is a vital raw material used in the production of numerous everyday products and about 40% of worldwide rubber consumption is based on natural rubber. However, the significance of rubber often goes unnoticed. At ShibataFenderTeam, we recognize the importance of rubber and its impact on both our industry and the environment.
Natural rubber (NR) is sourced in form of latex from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) in an area approximately 15° north and south of the Equator, with Southeast Asia being the main producer worldwide. To ensure responsible sourcing, we have established strong partnerships with rubber suppliers in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, making it an ideal location for our main factory. Aligned with our sustainability goals, we actively seek suppliers who adhere to sustainable and ethical rubber sourcing methods.
We hereby ensure that our raw materials are harvested in an environmentally conscious and socially responsible manner. This includes monitoring deforestation risks, preserving biodiversity, and promoting fair labor practices on rubber plantations.
By situating our facility near the source of the primary fender component - rubber, we reduce transportation distances, carbon emissions, and overall environmental impact.
Main component for the manufacturing of fender panels as well as fixings and accessories.
In recent times, one of the major milestones is represented by a newly formulated steel that provides real carbon reduction during its production: a decrease in CO2 footprint of up to 70% compared to conventional steel.
Steel is an iron-carbon alloy to which additional elements are added to obtain specific characteristics: tensile strength, stability, hardness, and resistance to metal fatigue. It is a vital high-tech product, that can be found in many areas of our daily life, a fact that solidifies the steel position as the foremost industrial material.
Remarkable to mention is that the steel recycling rate is globally already over 60%, however, it also ranks among the most energy-intense and greenhouse gas-emitting industries. It is responsible for 8% of total global emissions, therefore the steel industry faces a major challenge.
The concept of a reduced CO2 intense production is of great interest to many processing industries, and ours, the maritime industry.
A carbon-neutral society remains inconceivable without the pivotal role of steel. The industry has diligently pursued this objective through advancements in material science and production methods.
One of the major milestones is represented by an improved production process that provides real CO2 savings during its production: a decrease in CO2 footprint of up to 70% compared to conventional steel.
While steel remains inevitable for fender systems, there a welcoming opportunity to contribute and participate in striving towards a carbon-neutral future by making a conscious decision when opting for the use of advanced materials like the #bluemint® steel which comes with DNV / TÜV Süd certification.
The future growth in this field is certain and comes with bright opportunities, so the time has come to build bridges towards carbon neutrality.
Strengthening our manufacturing facility presence in Rechlin, Germany, the SFT Group has access to what represents one of the first certified CO2 reduced flat steels, made by Thyssenkrupp in Duisburg, Germany: the #bluemint® steel.
As a company headquartered in Germany, a country with a long steel history in the industrial infrastructure, we strive to utilize the finest materials for manufacturing our fender systems.
Carbon black is the predominant reinforcing filler used in rubber compounds and serves to improve durability and strength.
Besides natural rubber, synthetic rubber, process oil and chemical additives, it is one of the important fillers in a rubber compound.
The capabilities of carbon black are dependent not only on its amount in the rubber compound but also on its grade and particle size.
The ratio between natural rubber and synthetic rubber in the rubber blend determines the amount of carbon black that needs to be used to achieve a proper reinforcement. The industry usually uses blends of natural rubber and synthetic rubber to harness the advantageous properties of both. As natural rubber is already well-reinforced by nature, a rubber blend where natural rubber dominates synthetic rubber needs less reinforcement, and therefore less carbon black.
The behavior of tensile strength is an important parameter to get an answer to the question, if the more carbon black is used in a rubber compound, if it gets better and better.
When increasing the amount of carbon black, the tensile strength increases – this is what should be achieved. It however has a breaking point, and after this is reached, tensile strength decreases, as there is not enough rubber left to disperse the carbon black particles – meaning, the compound is overloaded with carbon black.
The amount of carbon black is indeed important, but in moderation and depending on the rubber used, as natural rubber needs less reinforcement than synthetic rubber. In other words, when it comes to the amount of carbon black, more is not always better. Thus, to ensure the desired compound quality, the carbon black concentration has to be chosen carefully at an early stage of the production process, keeping in mind all relevant factors. Proven by a range of extensive tests, recycled carbon black is an alternative for the fender industry, providing the rubber compound with the same durability and strength, while leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
As mentioned, particle size of carbon black plays an important role in a high-quality rubber compound. The characteristic that is used to test that is ‘modulus’: A low modulus means that there is little force required to stretch (elongate) a specimen, which is indicative of a low-quality compound. Low modulus = low quality fender.
It was proven in a great number of studies and tests that the larger the particle sizes get, the more the modulus decreased (a change in particle size from 22nm to 78nm led to a decrease of the modulus of 30%).
For more information about carbon black and its relation to other components of a rubber compound, download our first White Paper ‘Compounding’ which focuses on the raw materials used in rubber production, the physical properties of a fender, and their correlation with the compound’s composition.
Main component for the manufacturing of sliding plates.
Strengthening the circular economy emerges as a paramount task for the plastic sector and steps have been done with post-industrial recycling (PIR) being a key element of a sustainable economy.
UHMW-PE, an abbreviation for Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, stands for an extremely tough thermoplastic polymer with high abrasion, impact and wear resistance. It is widely used across industrial applications demanding durability, low friction, and chemical resistance; in the fender industry, UHMW-PE serves as facing pads for steel panels and can also be found as a stand-alone product, e.g. as bridge protection.
Nevertheless, the use of plastics has surged dramatically in the past 50 years. And, despite the many advantageous benefits of plastic, the adverse consequences are now evident. How can we reconfigure plastics to prevent it from becoming waste or pollution?
A circular economy.
What constitutes a circular economy for plastic?
- One in which materials are designed to be used, not used up. A system designed to ensure no materials are lost, where circulation aims to keep them in the economy at its highest value.
- One where the maximum utilization is achieved from every process, material, and component.
- One that, correctly applied, benefits society, the environment, and the economy.
Strengthening the circular economy emerges as a paramount task for the plastic sector and steps have been taken for post-industrial recycling (PIR) becoming a key element of a sustainable economy.
PIR harnesses excess material generated throughout production - like machining, drilling and trimmings – and converts it into raw material for high-quality recycled products. The use of high-quality recycled materials decreases the demand for fossil resources, reducing the environmental footprint of end products.
This path has been championed by key plastic industry players, with high quality recycled materials, now accessible to all sectors facilitating end user companies to achieve sustainability goals.
We, at the ShibataFenderTeam Group, take pride in offering these high-quality recycled UHMW-PE to our clients, aligning our commitment to utilize the finest materials for manufacturing our fender systems with curving down the environmental impact of our products.