Sustainable Manufacturing (SM) Processes
Processes generally used to implement SM is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). It is a process to fully examine the environmental impact of different activities performed by industry including the production of goods and services. LCA can be applied for any activity that is either at national level or global level in order to identify environmental burdens resulting from the activities of a society, region or industrial sector. LCA can provide insight for the engineer to study any given product and can identify the methods to reduce the environmental impact of a specific product or process.
Sustainable Manufacturing In Practice
GFES requires that all its manufacturing include the following four activities:
- Energy use reduction
- Responsible water use
- Emissions reduction
- Responsible carbon foot print reduction
- Waste generation reduction
Sustainable manufacturing integrates sustainable activities at all levels of manufacturing – product, process and system. GFES not only considers the 3R’s: to reduce, reuse and recycle, but considers the expanded 9R form as well: reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, redesign, remanufacturing, repurpose, refurbish, and refuse.
GFES’s Manufacturing processes and systems consider sustainability at every level, so that there will be comprehensive adherence to sustainability principles. All the processes used are energy efficient while maintaining requisite quality. All the interconnected systems also share the same philosophy. Reduce energy intensity and emissions in all operations and the supply chain. Zero-emission (i.e. closed-loop) manufacturing views the manufacturing system as an industrial ecosystem, and requires the reuse of wastes or by-products within the manufacturing system. Manufacturing systems employed have the flexibility for material substitution, and accommodate variations in material flows to assist in enhancing sustainability while maintaining competitiveness. To reduce the environmental impacts of manufacturing processes, it is often necessary to optimize the environmental performance of the existing processes as well as develop new green processes.
In industry, manufacturing processes are generally designed for high performance and low cost with little or no attention paid to environmental or sustainability issues. Optimization of manufacturing processes are done only in reference to minimizing the machining time or cost with no environmental consideration.