Archive for January, 2013
When it comes to managing supply chains, manufacturing businesses are doing anything but quelling demands. In fact, many are imposing increasingly strict requirements and heavily scrutinizing suppliers to ensure that all levels of satisfaction are met.
As we reported last month, manufacturers are taking sustainability of supply chains and resources into account when they consider the overall impact of their products and the company at large. But new research shows success in sustainability has a direct correlation to success in business. Leaders recognize that sustainability is about more than protecting the planet — it’s about managing real business risks. Moreover, automation and data management processes are emerging as a key tool to help achieve more sustainable supply chains. Read the rest of this entry »
The idea of capturing carbon dioxide to prevent greenhouse gas emissions is not new; as more and more scientists have tried to figure out ways to reduce the effect of coal-fired plants spewing toxins into the environment, researchers have tried many different methods.
And even if carbon dioxide could be captured, is there a way to produce revenue by selling it?
When it comes to chemicals and toxins, American industry is governed by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relic from the Ford Administration. The TSCA has been able to mandate safety testing for only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals manufacturers use today, and has banned or restricted only five of those chemicals: polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), asbestos, radon, lead and chlorofluorocarbons.
Needless to say, the TSCA has been on everyone’s mind recently, but no one’s more than consumer groups, parents groups and even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which has reported that regular biomonitoring is finding hundreds of industrial chemicals of dubious safety in the bloodstream of most Americans, including newborn babies. Scientists call this “the body burden,” and it’s on the rise. Read the rest of this entry »
As I discussed in last week’s article about aircraft manufacturing, sustainability efforts in this sector are driven by the need for greater fuel efficiency: “Going green” means designing aircraft that use less fuel, reducing emissions and carbon footprint. However, environmental considerations also enter into decisions around what to do with older aircraft. Should they be retired or refurbished, and how can that be done in an eco-friendly way? Read the rest of this entry »
Many businesses are finding that sustainability is worth more than just some good PR with the green crowd. Done properly, sustainable practices can be genuinely profitable — in the good old-fashioned bottom line sense.
Recently ICIS.com, a market intelligence journal for the chemical and energy industries, published the findings of research done among ICIS Chemical Business readers, “carried out in association with U.S. bio-based technology developer Genomatica,” updating a 2009 version of the same research to track changes in attitudes towards sustainability over three years.
The survey found that in pretty much all categories across the board, sustainability “has become more deeply entrenched than ever,” and is even considered a good way to reduce costs. Read the rest of this entry »
Lithium ion batteries are used in a variety of applications, from consumer electronics, medical and industrial power storage, and autos. The sudden and rapid push for hybrid cars and electric vehicles caused a similar surge in research and development of more powerful and efficient lithium ion batteries.
Unfortunately, this rush also led to a fragmented and inflated industry. Numerous innovations are happening throughout the supply chain, but the industry is too disjointed to see opportunities for collaboration and growth. That’s where NextEnergy comes in. The Detroit, Mich.-based non-profit group set out at the end of 2011 to get a better understanding of the size, scope, and other dynamics of the lithium ion supply chain. Read the rest of this entry »
“Biomass” is a manufacturing and industrial term that has become thrown around quite a bit in recent years, as more and more companies and industries try to find ways to take their waste products and recycle and re-use them.
Landfills are filling up fast, and the incredible amount of carbon footprint industrial waste leaves is a concern to manufacturers and customers alike.
But what exactly is biomass, and how is it going to change manufacturing procedures in the future, leading to more “biorefineries?” I talked to some experts in the field, and looked at some new projects being funded by the Department of Energy, to get a handle on this emerging trend. Read the rest of this entry »
The economy is on everyone’s mind. What to do about it, however, probably depends on which way you lean politically. While the Chamber of Commerce, a conservative lobbyist group for American businesses, recently released a plan of action for the economy that includes a no-holds barred approach to developing the domestic fossil fuel industry, the solutions are very different in environmental circles.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, is proposing its own solutions. Its new Clean Energy Economic Development Series highlights the successful road map for three states that have implemented it: Ohio, Iowa and Colorado. These road maps are a mix of policy and economic development actions designed to stimulate demand for clean energy products and services; seed innovation in clean energy; and recruit and support new companies and the jobs they bring. Read the rest of this entry »
The “greenness” of a manufactured product is determined by multiple factors, including its material composition and the environmental impacts of the manufacturing process, as well as the lifecycle impacts of the product itself. Aircraft, however, are distinct. A plane is a very large, very expensive object that lasts for decades and, most importantly, consumes a tremendous amount of fuel during that lifetime. This means that, in aircraft manufacture, sustainability efforts inevitably focus on the fuel efficiency of the plane. The drive to reduce emissions, coupled with increasing prices for crude oil, means manufacturers have strong incentives to develop fuel-efficient aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »
R&D efforts in the power transmission and control technology sectors are focused sharply on boosting energy efficiency, sustainability, and resource conservation. This will be reflected in the latest products and solutions on show at the MDA (Motion, Drive & Automation) fair at Hannover Messe.
From April 8 to 12, 2013, the MDA fair will showcase all the latest products and innovations from the world’s top suppliers of electric and mechanical power transmission systems and pneumatic and hydraulic technologies. MDA is staged every two years as part of Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial technology show. With more than 1,100 exhibitors, MDA is regarded as one of the heavyweights of industrial trade shows and an absolute must for all leading manufacturers in the sector. Read the rest of this entry »