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How can manufacturers reduce waste in their companies?

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Cynthia Madison

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Every year, companies generate billions of tons of industrial waste. Manufacturing waste is generated in just about any plant, which is why it is crucial for organizations to establish practices to minimise the generation of by-products. Types of industrial waste include but are not limited to dirt, scrap metal, trees, trash, oil, and chemicals, and solvents. Waste represents an environmental issue. Nevertheless, it is a tremendous economic loss. How can waste be part of the economy? Simple. It is the result of an economic activity undertaken by a business, having economic implications for productivity, government expenditure, and, last but not least, the environment.

In order to comprehend the problems that this planet is dealing with, it is necessary to acknowledge the fact that waste is exclusively a human invention. There is no such thing as waste in nature. We can only speak about a process characterised by the renewal and revitalization of sources of energy and materials. The waste that is being generated by humans is not helpful in nature. On the contrary, it does a great deal of damage. Firms in the manufacturing industry have no choice but to deal with their waste – in other words, to reduce the amount that they produce. In this article, we are going to discuss how it can be achieved.

Deployment of digital media

Printed media is one of the most prominent forms of advertising and this is all due to the fact that it can reach a wider target audience. It seems that newspapers, newsletters, and magazines are effective when it comes down to grabbing the attention of consumers. It is clearly true that print advertising still works in 2019. Yet, it should not be such an important part of marketing. Considerable amounts of paper are produced each year, meaning that a substantial amount of timber is required to produce commercially cut lumber. Producing fliers and letters contributes to the deforestation problem. It is better to simply send out emails and use a mixture of technology and content. The digital revolution is sustainable and positively impacts our lives.

Handling waste that is generated in the pressroom  

Metal pressing is an activity that involves the placing of sheet metal in a stamping press and the formation of specific shapes. Companies are always on the lookout for new tools and techniques to increase productivity and quality for success. Somehow, they manage to forget about the fact that it is necessary to pay attention to metal stamping waste. A great deal of waste is generated in the pressroom and one cannot afford not to be knowledgeable when it comes down to business operations. Lean manufacturing is what can improve work efficiency. Lean manufacturing is all about minimising by-products and maximising productivity. As far as implementation is concerned, it is imperative to identify value from the consumer angle, map the value stream, create value, and, last but not least, set a pull system.

The good news is that almost all metal pressing companies are already meeting their environmental requirements. They are successful when it comes down to achieving and maintaining compliance. Once the waste is identified, the organisation determines what method is suitable to treat it. Paint, for instance, can be incorporated into industrial fuel. Oil, on the other hand, can be treated via refining and burning. It is up to the metal pressing company to decide what the best course of action is. The results will be instantly visible in company productivity and in the improvement of environmental sustainability.

Handling and controlling inventory

A manufacturing company’s inventory is nothing like that of retailers and wholesalers, in the sense that it includes goods in various stages of production. Raw materials can be found in this category. It is possible to reduce manufacturing waste by handling and controlling the goods in stock. Inventory management is a simple yet effective pollution prevention measure that can be utilized by virtually any company within the manufacturing industry. It is enough to cut down on the amount of excess raw material and eliminate hazardous waste materials. It is a good idea to invest in reusable and remanufactured products, as they significantly reduce waste. Companies are able to demand specifications for equipment the moment that they negotiate vendor contracts. Equally important is to educate employees with regard to the costs of disposing of leftover raw material.   

Reducing water and solvent use

Surprising as it may seem, the manufacturing industry gobbles up thousands of gallons of water per year. Firms that produce metals, paper, and wood products, chemicals, and so on and so forth, are the major users of water. The water that is necessary for the production process is offered by public suppliers or it is self-supplied. In addition to water, companies use an abundance of solvents to clean or dissolve different chemicals. In some cases, it is possible to avoid the use of solvents. When this is not attainable, it is important to be careful when solvents are used. To be more precise, it is required to monitor the use of water and solvents and, undoubtedly, consume less. Attempts to reduce consumption need to be made. Water usage, for its part, can be reduced through the adoption of reverse osmosis, chemical drying agents, and the implementation of a membrane bioreactor.

Automation and technology

Sheet metal fabrication results in high volume products for various industries, such as automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, and construction. During the course of the fabrication process, it is normal to have leftovers. Scrap is unavoidable, but that does not translate into the fact that it is impossible to minimise wastage because it is. Thanks to automation and technology, manufacturers can minimise waste during the fabrication process. When an advanced CNC systems is used, the number of items that can be obtained increases. The machine is so precise that it does not make mistakes, so there is no need to worry about generating by-products. Software too increases the usage of materials. If there happen to be leftovers, then they need to be recycled. There is no other alternative.


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