Despite many claiming that we live in a post-industrial age, the manufacturing sector is still the global economy’s biggest sector, and the one that has the most influence on our trading position with other countries. It’s worth remembering just how big the manufacturing sector is because it’s also the sector that wreaks the most havoc on the environment.
When you’ve got an industry that big wasting so much energy and causing so much pollution, it should really give you pause for thought. And if you’re running a manufacturing business yourself, then you should give serious consideration to the practices in effect at your factory.
You should be thinking about this because of the health of our planet in the future, for sure. But if that’s not enough to convince you, then it’s probably worth pointing out that it’s simply good for business in general. So we’re going to take a look at some of the things you should be looking into when it comes to improving your factory’s impact on the environment.
Getting an energy audit
It’s pretty difficult to resolve problems if you don’t know where those problems are! The best way to find out where the most energy is being wasted in your manufacturing process is to get a professional energy audit. This is a review of your entire process. It will highlight the problem areas in your factory, both in the form of ‘leaks’ that need repairing and practices you need to either start or stop. It’s the best way to get started with a greener factory.
The offshoring problem
The things that take place outside your factory also make a big difference to the effect you’re bringing to the environment. Consider the fact that a huge number of manufacturing companies are offshoring their processes. The factory that is used in the other country may not have very stringent environmental standards. Once the project is finished there, it needs to be transported via airplane or ship. Reshoring these activities can help the environment as well as save you money. Let’s say you’re offshoring injection molding. You can figure out the benefits of reshoring using an injection molding cost calculator.
There should be a strong correlation between the amount of energy you use in your process and the output you actually get. If you’ve got equipment running all day and you know that your process is only producing about 80% of its capacity in that time, then you’ve got a serious problem with efficiency. This is resulting in a lot of waste. You need to ensure your equipment is being maintained regularly. You also need to make sure your staff are properly trained so that they can be as productive as possible.
Is solar power feasible?
We’re still waiting for the verdict on Tesla’s Gigafactory, but the projections suggest that clean-energy factories are going to be feasible. It’s certainly something you should look into for certain parts of your process, but the fact remains that the ‘conversion’ green advocates are waiting for is still way too expensive and time-consuming a process at the moment. Keep your ears to the ground about any updates regarding clean energy factories.