The Sustainable Shop Floor

Energy from renewable sources? Natural resource conservation? Reduction in pollution and waste? Energy efficient components? Many talk a good game when it comes to sustainability in manufacturing, but there’s more work that needs to be done.

When I first started writing in the manufacturing/engineering fields, there would only be a handful of green manufacturing articles per year. As if publishers were required to write something around Earth Day and then move on to more compelling smoke and ash stories.

Years later, I’m seeing a much larger push for sustainability across the board. Components are being designed with energy efficient features, heat treating has cleaned up exponentially, and many manufacturing organizations are asking how they can achieve greener, cleaner shop floors.

Baby steps are just as important as taking the lean, clean, and green leap into the future.

Cortec Improves Manufacturing with Eco Wrap

Eco Wrap from Cortec.

Something as simple as packaging material can restore environmental quality in manufacturing.

Cortec’s patent pending Eco Wrap commercially compostable stretch film is an excellent substitute for traditional polyethylene stretch wrap. Eco Wrap can be used on most standard automated stretch wrap equipment to palletize goods for storage, inventory, or shipment. The only adjustment typically needed is to increase tension due to Eco Wrap’s extreme elasticity.

This means less material without sacrificing strength, a reduction in conventional plastic waste and an overall improvement in sustainable manufacturing.

Cortec, in fact, is forging a path that industries can follow toward “greener,” more responsible packaging methods. Made with certified compostable resin plus a tackifier additive, Eco Wrap is designed to meet the ASTM D6400 standard for commercial composting so that after use, companies can send their discarded Eco Wrap to the nearest industrial composting facility to be turned into soil amendment. In addition to serving as a responsible waste management practice, this may help users avoid tariffs, fines, and tip fees in areas where polyethylene is prohibited or restricted. Eco Wrap is shelf and curb stable and will retain its integrity until disposed of properly.

Cortec continues to pursue an aggressive R&D program toward developing “greener” packaging solutions like Eco Wrap, which is one in a long line of commercially compostable films created by Cortec. The company is excited to go beyond basic compostable bags for yard waste and organics recycling to make commercially compostable grade films that can be substituted for traditional plastics in everyday industry. This expanding portfolio also includes shrink film—plus a variety of corrosion inhibiting films, bags, and stretch wrap for protective metals packaging.

 ABB Helps Make the Energy Efficiency Transition

SynRM motor offers the performance advantages of permanent magnet technology without using rare earth magnets.

We’ve discussed ABB’s green initiatives in PTE before, but a reminder never hurts when you’re sizing and selecting a bearing, motor or gear drive. It’s beneficial to consider the application as well as the long term advantages of green components.

ABB’s highly efficient SynRM motor offers the performance advantages of permanent magnet technology without using rare earth magnets. Unlike in an induction motor, the SynRM has no induced current in its rotor and thus no related energy losses. Case studies in industrial installations have demonstrated energy savings of up to 25 percent, depending on the application. Additional benefits of this motor technology include lower bearing and winding temperatures for enhanced reliability and long life. The design also creates less motor noise for a better working environment.

Electric motors are classified in terms of energy efficiency with an International Efficiency (IE) rating from 1 to 5. ABB’s SynRM motors meet the IE5 ultra-premium energy efficiency class defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission. These motors offer up to 50 percent lower energy losses and significantly lower energy consumption when compared with commonly used IE2 induction motors. SynRM motors are controlled by variable speed drives, which provide the precise amount of energy required to perform the task, further maximizing energy savings. Learn more here:

Buehler Introduces Environmental Initiatives

Sustainable products from Buehler.

Buehler’s commitment to sustainability not only includes clean energy and environmental responsibility but also improving products to minimize impact on the environment, reduce waste and minimize health hazards for users. The company has named this initiative “Better for You, Better for the Environment.” Buehler launched this program in April, offering products and solutions that minimize impact to the environment, reduce waste, save on utilities, and minimize health hazards for users.

“Buehler is offering metallographic products and solutions that minimize impact to the environment and provide their quality control lab technicians with safer products. We are also proud as a company to take on clean energy, recycling and resource conservation,” said Sarah Beranek, Buehler’s commercial director.

Buehler has an assortment of new metallurgical supplies and accessories that are aimed at reducing waste, extending lifetime, maximizing usage before disposal/recycling, and are safer for quality control or inspection lab technicians. Buehler’s AbrasiMet series of cutters, popular in the automotive and other metal industries reduce water consumption with an improved circulation tank and they minimize energy consumption with super-efficient motors.

Many Buehler metallographic consumables last longer and save on repeat purchases. The company’s OmniMet Imaging and DiaMet Hardness Testing software programs allow for electronic data storage and save on printing. Buehler also continues its commitment by improving and reformulating products to minimize health and safety risks. An overall concern for the safety of employees and customers fosters a proactive safety culture throughout the Buehler organization. Learn more here:

Gates Releases Sustainability Report

Gates continues to roll out a variety of sustainability goals.

Gates 2020 Sustainability Report features a comprehensive set of initiatives and programs organized around Gates’ four pillars of sustainability – Governance, Technology, the Environment and Stewardship (GTES).

“I am quite proud and energized by the progress we’ve made on our GTES sustainability initiatives. 2020 was a unique year that further highlighted the importance of this effort,” said Ivo Jurek, chief executive officer of Gates. “We operated through this past year with a clear set of guiding principles to keep our employees and communities safe, serve our customers well, operate with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, protect our environment, give back to our communities, and treat all of our team members with dignity, equality and respect.”

The acronym GTES, which has been intentionally designed to keep sustainability top-of-mind with all Gates employees, mirrors the company’s NYSE ticker and stands for:

•Governance (G): Includes the company’s board structure and operating cadence, regulatory compliance and ethical sourcing initiatives.
•Technology (T): Highlights the eco-driven innovation initiatives that rely on materials science, product design and process innovation to reduce the environmental impact of our products through their entire lifecycle.
•Environment (E): Speaks to Gates’ ongoing, multi-faceted and global commitment to conducting business with respect and consideration for the planet, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy and water, recycling and minimizing waste.
•Stewardship (S): Encompasses employee health and safety, diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as community engagement.

Each of these areas of focus took on increased importance during the challenges presented by 2020 and, despite the environment, Gates accelerated its progress toward many of its sustainability goals.




Categories: Revolutions

About Author

Matthew Jaster

Matthew Jaster, Senior Editor, has a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and has 15+ years of writing and editing experience in automotive, manufacturing, engineering, law and arts and entertainment.

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