At one time, Solingen was a muddy, rust-colored mess without much green space. Steel factories coated everything in a fine film of brown. Through tighter factory regulations and an influx of more caring companies, Solingen has been brought all the way back from drab desolation to a green city where children can visit the Rhine and swim in clean water.

Water is a key element for most of our production operations such as grinding, drilling and sharpening. Water not only washes away steel bits but also removes glue residues, excess minerals, lubricants and silicones from grinding wheels and belts. To save money (and increase profitability), some steel factories re-use their dirty, abrasive laden, effluent for several cycles. If the water in the grinder is already filled with abrasives and steel shavings, it is difficult to control the exact sharpness of the ground edge. After re-using the muddy water as much as possible, many factories just dump it back into the ecosystem without much thought.

After each use, we collect all our water in pools under the factory, extract and recycle tons of steel grounds from it, and then filter the water back to usable condition on site. This filtered water then gets reused for our production operations. Filtering our water on site not only saves the nearby Rhine river, but also allows us to use only clean water in all of our manufacturing operations. This process also makes our tools much more precise and sharp.

Re-using our water isn’t the only area where we are strict. We use industrial air filtration, exhaust hoods, and efficient air circulation on the factory floor to remove unhealthy air particulates. All of the exhaust we generate goes through filtration before it exits the factory. While manufacturing in a 100% pollution-free environment is pretty much impossible, we do our best to limit our contribution to smog. Grooming tool factories in many other countries such as Pakistan are not so careful.