True to our company’s philosophy the beauty of nature is one of the many wonders of the world. To insure the environment is protected Franz Collection Inc has incorporated the specialized development process to create a green environment. We share with you the steps we take within our manufacturing process of Franz porcelains to insure the protection of the environment for now and the future.
1. Franz's efforts in improving environment by applying lower firing temperatures
Lead-free and high quality glaze
Glaze is one of the important raw materials in the ceramic industry. Lead is usually added into glaze for two major purposes: the first is to lower the vitrifying temperature during firing and enhance the molten glaze flow; the second is to give higher reflection index of the glaze and make it more translucent. Therefore, lead in ceramics is usually added at a latter stage, not directly included in raw materials. The addition of lead contributes to lowering the firing temperature and facilitates the manufacturing process to reach quality requirements. On the hand, Franz insists using lead-free and high quality glaze instead.
Since lead tends to evaporate when firing, this raises some health concerns for employees. The residual lead element in the final product also causes disturbed feeling and may not comply with related regulations for ceramic products in contact with consumers or even food. Therefore, these serious side effects convince us to select an alternative solution, a lead-free glaze. Moreover, an under glaze process is to apply transparent glaze to cover color pigments and the porcelain body underneath. It is also an expensive process because once the product is glazed it is almost impossible to alter any coloration, but it is difficult to foresee any coloring effect before sending the product into the kiln for firing. Glaze becomes vitreous and acts as a layer of protection and segregation to underneath color paints. However, all these measurements result in a more complicated process and higher firing temperatures.
2.To save energy and reduce emission by lowering the firing temperature
During the course of pursuing Franz's missions, we follow a conscientious principle, no matter in the selection of raw materials, engineering processes as well as production, in order to create works for generations, not generating something as a burden to our environment. Lowering the firing temperature is one of our important measurements to contribute to environmental improvement. Normally by lowering the firing temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, one can reduce at least 20% CO2 emission, sometimes even up to 50% for some kilns. Though the hardness of the final porcelain may slightly suffer from a lower firing temperature, it is superior to most metals. This should be viewed in a positive aspect and encouraged. In addition, we use electric kilns and natural gas as fuel to replace other high emission energy sources. The constituents of glaze have to be adjusted accordingly for the same purpose. Excessive heat is thermally recycled to regulate room temperatures in office and factory interiors during winter season.
3. Reduced emission in figures
Taking the actual example in the Franz's factory in Jingdezhen, by lowering firing temperatures of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the factory could manage to reduce an average of 353,146 cubic feet of natural gas per month. If one compares this with some European porcelain with the firing temperature of 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit, Franz's factory can save more than 812,237 cubic feet of natural gas monthly. According to the official data from IPCC 2006 (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), each cubic foot of natural gas generates 4.6 pounds of CO2 by the conversion of its calorific value. Therefore, we can reduce 48 tons of CO2 each month, i.e. 576 tons per year.
If one takes eucalyptus tree, which is known for its capability of absorbing (or ingesting) CO2, into consideration, a eucalyptus tree measuring 20 inches in diameter and 50 feet tall can absorb 82 pounds of carbon dioxide. That means the annual reduction of carbon dioxide by lowering firing temperatures in our factory is equivalent to the absorption amount of 15,590 eucalyptus trees.
Mature trees at intervals of 16 feet in forests would correspond to 400 trees per hectare (1 hectare = 107,640 square feet), with about 662 pounds of carbon in each tree. Since generally 42% of the mass of a tree is carbon, this corresponds to each tree weighting 1,574 pounds. Since our annual reduction of CO2 is 577 tons, which can be converted into 157 tons of carbon, this is equal to the carbon content of 523 trees. This means our measurements and efforts in environmental improvement directly contribute to the preservation of 523 trees, about 1.3 hectares (1 hectare = 107,640 square feet) of forest.
Beginning this year, the company is undergoing a large-scale tree-planting plan in the neighboring hills of Jingdezhen, including more than ten thousands pieces of taxaceae, loropetalum, Chinese olive and hundreds of red maples. All endeavors are intended not only to offset the CO2 emission from our local production, but also to create a green environment for now and the future. This also echoes with the corporate philosophy to "create our own value by creating others' first". The motto also influences our formulation of our company's various business strategies.